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Care of Pregnant Pets

Pregnant dogs need special care to ensure they are in tip top shape before the big day. A pregnant dogs body is going through many changes as the puppies are growing inside her therefore her needs are going to increase.

Before breeding your dog think about why you are breeding. There are only two reasons to breed a dog, number one is to better the breed, number two is for the love of the breed. If your dog is not up to breed standards then please do not breed her. Loving your dog is not a good enough reason; she should be the best specimen of her breed so she can pass those traits on to the puppies. Making money is not a good enough reason. Many dogs are euthanized every day, encourage people to adopt a dog from their local animal shelter instead of buying a puppy from a breeder.

Symptoms or signs of Pregnancy -

Three weeks after mating the female dog may have an upset stomach and not want to eat for about a week to 10 days. One way to tell if your dog is pregnant is to check her vulva; the swelling would not have gone down after her heat and looks enlarged. Thirty days after being bred a blood test can be done by a veterinarian to confirm pregnancy. Pregnant dog’s nipples will develop around week 5 and she will begin to look broader. At 21 days an ultrasound can be done to confirm pregnancy and at 45 days radiographs can be taken and puppies counted.

How long is a dog Pregnant -

The gestation period for dogs is 60 - 63 days. Start counting from the first time you bred her.

Diet -

During the first 30 days of pregnancy she can eat her normal diet, as long as it is a high quality food. During the last month of pregnancy start switching her over to a high quality puppy food, make the diet change over a weeks’ time. Do not give vitamin supplements; a high quality food has plenty of nutrients. Also, be aware that some vitamin supplements may cause birth defects so check with your veterinarian before choosing to supplement.


Take her on daily walks. It is important that she does not become overweight during this time and the walks will keep her in shape for delivery. Letting the dog run in the backyard is not equal to a walk, a walk is mental and physical exercise. During the last 3 weeks of gestation do not take her out and do not expose her to other dogs as added protection against disease.

Vaccinations -

Do not vaccinate a pregnant dog. Some vaccines will cause abortion. Vaccinations should be given prior to breeding so that the protection can be passed to the puppies by the mother’s milk.

Whelping Box -

About two weeks prior to the expected delivery start to prepare a whelping box. The box should be deep enough to contain the puppies at 4 - 6 weeks of age. Cover the box with newspapers, sheets, towels, etc. Don't use anything you are attached to, whelping puppies is a dirty business. Have enough clean towels so that during the birthing process each new puppy will have its own clean towel.

Body Temperature -

One week prior to whelping start taking the mothers temperature rectally. A normal dog temperature will be 100.5 - 102.5; about 24 hours before whelping her temperature will drop a few degrees. This will give you time to prepare

Additional Information -

Never leave a pregnant dog who is about to whelp. Many dogs need help birthing puppies and in some situations a caesarean is necessary to save the life of mom and puppies..