Healthy Dog Pregnancy | Daily News

Healthy Dog Pregnancy

The entire pregnancy period is approximately nine weeks, or 63 days, although it can range from 58 to 68 days, depending on your dog. The dog should be in her adult body weight and passed at least one cycle of “period” signs when she got mated to bear the pregnancy. The matured age of a bitch is 8 months. Pregnancy can be confirmed at a veterinary clinic 25 days after mating by an ultra sound scanning.

Symptoms of pregnancy

There are a few ways to tell if your dog is pregnant.

Early Signs

In the first few weeks, you may not notice a change. Your dog will seem like her normal self, although she may gain some weight, morning sickness affects some dogs, seem tired, and she may eat less than usual.

Later Signs

By the end her belly will get bigger, she has ravenous appetite, her nipples will begin to get darker and larger, breasts will enlarge, and a little milky fluid may trickle out.

During the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, you may see and feel the growing puppies moving inside your dog’s belly.

How to care for your pregnant dog

To ensure the most healthy gestation period possible, it’s important that your dog is under a veterinarian’s care throughout her pregnancy. They should be maintained on an appropriate dog food. It is recommends regular deworming and parasite prevention, but it’s important to use products approved for use during pregnancy and lactation.

Contact your veterinarian if you observe potential emergencies during pregnancy; extreme lethargy (listlessness), complete loss of appetite (unless within 24 hours of giving birth), bloody foul smelling, yellowish or green vaginal discharge, fever, extreme abdominal pain

Preparing your dog and her whelping box for birth

Choose a quiet, calm area where your dog can give birth, and prepare a whelping box where she can comfortably sit. Plan to introduce your dog to the whelping box and birthing room during the last three weeks of gestation. This confinement will limit her exposure to other animals and infectious diseases. The box should be large enough for her to move away from the pups (and) easy for her to get in and out but small enough to keep the pups confined. Bedding should be provided and changed daily, while other animals are kept from entering the maternity area.

Things you’ll need for the birth

You can be prepared for this big event by having; lubricants to lubricate vaginal canal if assisting with manual manipulation in the case of a stuck puppy (done at owner’s or veterinary), warm, small towels to dry neonates off, as they lose body temperature very quickly when wet and cannot regulate their own body temperatures, heat sources because neonates can’t regulate their own temperature (Ex. heated blanket, lamps, water bottles/gloves with warm water), puppy box with heat support, small scissors with suture for umbilical cords, tincture of iodine etc.

Determining when labor is about to take place

Week nine is the long-awaited end of the dog pregnancy period. The rectal temperature of your dog will drop a full one or two degrees six to 18 hours prior to birth, signaling it’s time to get ready for the big event. Normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). It is usually recommended monitoring twice daily, beginning the last two weeks of gestation, to establish a baseline.

The pet owners’ responsibilities during birth

Your dog will be doing all the hard work, but owners can help by keeping a close eye on what’s going on and offering support, if needed. The best ways most owners can help during the birthing process is to know when to be calm and patient and to know when to intervene. “For example, if the puppy is born and the mom is not very quick to remove the fetal membranes, the owner can assist in breaking the membrane, remove fluid from the mouth and nose, drying vigorously with the small warm towels, and tying off the umbilical cord, then returning to mom.” Alternatively, if everything appears to be going well, it’s best to step back and let her do her thing.

Warning signs to look out for during and after birth

Hopefully the birthing process will go smoothly for everyone and it will be complete within a matter of hours. But complications can happen, here are some common warning signs owners should look out for; drop in body temperature, and then the temperature rises again without any puppies being born, green discharge before the birth of the first puppy, visible contractions for more than a half hour without the birth of a puppy, more than two to four hours between puppies after one puppy has already been born, increased amount of bloody discharge that doesn’t stop

After whelping care for puppies and bitch

It is recommended to monitor the following: daily weight check of pups, daily mammary gland check of mom and temperature check of mom for three days after whelping.

(The writer is a Veterinary Surgeon, and holds B.V.Sc; M.Sc Poultry Science; Master of Public Administration and Management)


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