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Pregnancy of the dog: complete guide

Pregnancy of the dog: complete guide

Pregnancy of the dog: complete guide

Like women, female dogs require veterinary care during pregnancy, from conception to delivery and beyond.
This guide will accompany you on this special journey, providing information on:

Preparing the nest for whelping:
- Choose a quiet, warm place away from noise and drafts.
- Create a soft, comfortable nest with blankets and pillows.
- Make sure mom has access to fresh water and food.

Pregnant Dog Feeding:
- Provide high-quality, pregnancy- and lactation-specific nutrition.
- Gradually increase the amount of food as the pregnancy progresses.
- Consult your veterinarian to determine the right amount of food to give.
The birthing process:
- Birthing takes an average of 63 days, but can range from 58 to 71 days.
- Signs of impending parturition include restlessness, nest digging, loss of appetite, and decreased body temperature.
- If you notice these signs, contact your veterinarian.
- During whelping, it is important to remain calm and reassure the mother.
- In case of complications, your veterinarian can step in to assist with the birth.

Postpartum care:
- Help mom care for the puppies, making sure they feed regularly.
- Monitor puppies' weight and contact your veterinarian if a puppy does not gain weight.
- Keep the nest clean and dry.
- Take puppies to the veterinarian for a checkup and vaccinations.

Signs of pregnancy in the dog:
- In the first few weeks, changes may be subtle: fatigue, vomiting, reduced appetite.
- As pregnancy progresses, weight gain, more prominent mammary glands and nesting behaviors will be noted.
- It is important to note that these hormonal changes can also occur in non-pregnant bitches.

How to confirm pregnancy:
- Abdominal ultrasound (day 25-28)
- Abdominal radiographs (day 45)
- Blood tests (less reliable)
- Veterinary abdominal palpation (not always reliable and risky for fetuses)
Remember: it is critical to see your veterinarian regularly during pregnancy to monitor the health of mother and puppies and ensure a peaceful delivery and healthy litter.

It often happens that female dogs, even if not pregnant, experience typical pregnancy symptoms after an estrous cycle. This phenomenon, known as pseudopregnancy or phantom pregnancy, is caused by hormonal imbalances that mimic the changes that occur during real gestation.

Symptoms of pseudopregnancy:
- Mammary enlargement and milk production
- Nidification (preparation for parturition)
- Weight gain
- Lethargy and changes in appetite
- Maternal behaviors toward objects or other animals

Pseudopregnancy duration:
Pseudopregnancy generally lasts 1 to 2 months, after which symptoms resolve spontaneously. In some cases, symptoms may persist longer, requiring veterinary intervention.

Treatment of pseudopregnancy:
In most cases, no medical treatment is needed. Symptoms tend to disappear on their own within a few weeks. However, if symptoms are severe or persistent, your veterinarian may recommend:
- Drugs to inhibit milk production
- Sterilization to prevent future phantom pregnancies

How to prevent pseudopregnancy:
- Sterilization: Sterilization is the most effective method to prevent pseudopregnancy and other conditions related to the reproductive system.
- Balanced diet: A healthy, balanced diet can help regulate hormones and reduce the risk of pseudopregnancy.
- Regular exercise: Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight and can reduce stress, which can contribute to pseudopregnancy.

When to consult your veterinarian:
It is important to consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of pseudopregnancy, especially if:
- Symptoms are severe or persistent
- Dog shows signs of discomfort
- You are concerned about your dog's health
In conclusion, pseudogravid is a common phenomenon in dogs, generally benign and self-limiting. However, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out other medical conditions and to get advice on treatment and prevention.

Health considerations for pregnant dogs: parasites and vaccinations

It is essential to have a fresh stool sample from your dog examined by your veterinarian during pregnancy. This is because intestinal parasites can be transmitted to puppies both in utero (in the womb) and during lactation.
Do not use over-the-counter antiparasitic medications for your dog while pregnant or lactating. Some of these products could be dangerous for both mother and puppies. If the stool sample detects a parasitic infection, your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate medication.

In general, pregnant bitches should not be vaccinated. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your dog has completed all vaccines and parasite prophylaxis (fleas, ticks, filaria) before becoming pregnant.
However, in some exceptional circumstances, vaccination during pregnancy may be necessary. Puppies are born without a developed immune system and rely on colostrum (the mother's first milk) to receive protective antibodies in the first 24 hours of life. To ensure the best protection for the puppies, it is important that the mother has high levels of antibodies to pass on to them.
If the mother is not up to date on the main vaccines (distemper and parvovirus), the veterinarian may decide to vaccinate her during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
It is critical to discuss your dog's vaccine status with your veterinarian during the pre-pregnancy checkup to determine the safest and most effective vaccine plan.

Other pregnant dog health tips:
- Feeding: Provide your bitch with a high-quality diet specifically for pregnancy and lactation. Gradually increase the amount of food as the pregnancy progresses.
- Exercise: Keep the bitch active with regular moderate exercise, such as leash walks.
- Veterinary Checks: Take the bitch to the vet for regular prenatal checkups to monitor her health and puppy development.
- Preparing the nest: Set up a cozy, safe nest in a quiet, warm place where mom can give birth and raise the puppies.
- Postnatal care: Help mom care for the puppies, making sure they feed regularly and monitoring their weight.
By following these guidelines and consulting your veterinarian regularly, you can help your bitch have a healthy and happy pregnancy and give birth to a strong and healthy litter.

Preparing for Dog Birth
Pregnancy and birth of a bitch is an exciting and joyful event, but also a time that requires preparation and attention.
In this comprehensive guide, you'll find out everything you need to know to help your furry bitch cope with this time to the fullest, whether it's a natural birth or a scheduled cesarean.

Natural Birth
Many dogs give birth without complications. However, it is important to be prepared for any eventuality. Here are some things to do in the weeks leading up to the expected delivery date:
- Create a quiet, comfortable nest area. This area should be warm, clean and safe, and your dog should have unrestricted access to get in and out.
- Isolate the mom from other dogs. This will help prevent the spread of infections, especially canine herpesvirus, which can be deadly to puppies.
- Monitor mom's body temperature. A pregnant dog's temperature will drop about 1 degree Celsius within 24 hours of delivery. Start measuring it a few days before the due date.
- Prepare a whelping kit. This kit should include sterilizers, scissors, surgical thread, disposable gloves and a thermometer.
- Familiarize yourself with the signs of childbirth. These include restlessness, nest digging, loss of appetite, and loss of vaginal fluid.
- Have the veterinarian's phone number handy. In case of complications, it is important to contact the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cesarean section delivery
Some dog breeds, such as English and French Bulldogs, often fail to deliver naturally due to body conformation. In these cases, a scheduled C-section is usually necessary. If your dog falls into this category, your veterinarian will discuss with you the plan for delivery and postoperative care.
Depending on the type of delivery, it is important to remember that every dog and every litter is different. Follow your veterinarian's instructions and be prepared to adapt to the individual needs of your bitch and her puppies.

What to do after whelping
After whelping, it is important to take care of both mom and puppies. Here are some things to do:
- Make sure mom has enough food and water.
- Monitor the puppies to make sure they are feeding regularly and gaining weight.
- Keep the nest clean and dry.
- Take the puppies to the veterinarian for a checkup and vaccinations.
- Socialize the puppies with other people and animals.
The first few weeks after whelping are a crucial time for mom and puppies. With the right care and attention, you can help them stay healthy and happy during this special time.

What to do after the birth of a puppy

Congratulations! You've welcomed a new litter of furry puppies into the world!
After giving birth, it's important to act promptly and carefully to make sure mom and puppies are doing well. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do after the birth of a puppy:

Right after birth:
1. Remove the fetal membrane: If the mother has not already done so, help the puppies shed the membrane that was enveloping them. Be sure to gently break the sac and gently wipe the fluid from the pup's nostrils and mouth.
2. Stimulate breathing: If necessary, rub the pup with a soft towel to stimulate breathing. You can also try gently blowing on the nose and mouth.
3. Check the umbilical cord: If the umbilical cord has not yet been cut, tie it with a sterile thread about 2.5 cm from the puppy's abdomen and cut it with sterile scissors. Disinfect the cut part with an antiseptic solution.
4. Dry and clean the puppies: Dry the puppies thoroughly with a soft, warm towel. Be sure to remove any amniotic fluid left on their bodies.
5. Help mom care for the puppies: Make sure each puppy finds its teat and starts feeding. If a puppy is weak or has difficulty feeding, you may need to help it manually.
6. Monitor temperature: Puppies are born with poor thermoregulation skills. Ensure that the room temperature is warm and constant (about 29-32°C) to prevent the puppies from getting cold.

In the next few hours:
1. Watch the puppies for signs of sickness: Pay attention to any signs of lethargy, difficulty breathing, insistent crying or refusal to feed. If you notice anything abnormal, contact your veterinarian immediately.
2. Check puppies' weight: Puppies should gain weight daily. Weigh them daily to monitor their growth and make sure they are feeding enough.
3. Keep the nest clean and dry: Change the litter box regularly to keep the nest clean and dry. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria and infection.
4. Supply fresh water and food to mom: Mom will need a lot of energy to feed the puppies. Make sure she always has fresh water and high-quality food available.
5. Contact the veterinarian: It is important to make an appointment with the veterinarian for a postnatal checkup for mom and puppies. The veterinarian will assess their health status and give the puppies their first vaccines.

In the following days:
- Continue to monitor the puppies and mom for any signs of discomfort.
- Socialize the puppies with other people and animals. This will help them become confident and sociable adult dogs.
- Start basic puppy training. Teach them simple commands such as "sit," "stay," and "come here."
- Enjoy this special time with your new litter! The first few months of a puppy's life are a time of great joy and fun.