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Puppy Prognosis: How to Help your Dog during Pregnancy

 by zack on 21 Jun 2013 |
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Dogs are a lot like people. It’s fascinating to see how much an owner and a pet can have in common. Personalities, dislikes, even physical features can start to blend together. So it’s no surprise that just like people, when a dog is pregnant, it might need a bit more assistance than usual.  Here are some helpful hints about how to help your dog when she’s whelping and during the immediate aftermath.

Pre-Birth:

It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a bitch’s pregnancy. Look out for these telltale signs:
  • Changes in appetite- She’s eating for 7 or 8 now!
  • Behavioral aberrations- Your pregnant dog might get sluggish and lethargic, they can also become much more affectionate—or alternatively, more solitary. The dog will also become very agitated directly before birthing begins.
  • Physical abnormalities- Early in the process you should see swollen nipples, later on the abdomen will swell, and you’ll even be able to feel puppies kicking!

In the onset of the gestation, which lasts about 63 days, you should make it a point to go ahead and set up a nesting area for your dog. Some place dark, isolated, and enclosed would be ideal. Often the dog will take care of this herself when the time comes, but you can facilitate the process with some comfortable (and disposable) blankets, as well as some short barriers that the mother will easily be able to traverse, but that will serve as an enclosure for the puppies.

It’s important to adjust the expectant mother’s diet, and keep her as clean as possible. It’s also smart to cut her social interactions with other dogs when she’s coming close to term.

During Birth:

If you feel so inclined, you can bring the pregnant dog to the vet for the birth. However, dogs are slightly more durable than humans in this regard, and can pretty much handle the whole thing unassisted. There will be three stages of puppy birth:
  1. Contractions
  2. Puppies
  3. Placenta
Contractions signal the beginning for your pregnant dog, next they’ll birth the pups along with the placental covering that they’re wrapped with. Just be ready for potential complications like an abundance of bloody or green discharge. This can signal danger to both the mother and the pups. So be ready to call the vet for further instructions.

After Birth:

Next is the fun part. You get to adore the brand new litter. Here’s a step by step process of what to do:
  1. Make sure you initially give the new mother some space. She’ll be protective of her newborns.
  2. See that all the pups are getting enough milk, especially during their first 12-16 hours.
  3. Squeal with joy.
  4. Take lots of pictures to post on your social network of choice.
  5. Be the envy of all your friends.
That covers all of the major stuff. Check back next week when we’ll discuss in more depth some of the potential complications that a pregnant dog can face. 
 

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