If you’re a pet owner, particularly a female, then you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms that tell you about the animal being pregnant. In this article we discuss how to detect canine pregnancy and what to do when your pet dog’s pregnancy is confirmed.
Here is some background information that you’ll find useful. A dog’s heat cycle can be of up to 20 days.
The gestation cycle can be broken into four stages –
The female dog experiences vaginal bleeding and swelling for duration of 7-10 days; this stage is known as pro-estrus and is the first stage. It attracts the attention of male dogs but the female does not appear to be too keen at this point in time.
During the second phase termed estrus, the female allows the males to mate and this is when pregnancy can occur.
The third and fourth stages are diestrus and anestrus, respectively. During these stages the female dog is completely unreceptive to any overtures by the male. Together these two stages can last for 50 to 60 days. A dog can have up to two litters in a year.
Here’s how to tell if your dog is pregnant. Here are some of the signs that your female dog may be pregnant.
• The dog may experience “morning sickness”; nausea and vomiting. This stage lasts for the first 2-3 weeks of a pregnancy. It may experience mood swings.
• The animal may experience a loss of appetite and lose a little weight; this phenomenon too lasts for 2-3 weeks.
• There may be a lack of activity and general lethargy about the dog’s demeanor.
• Your pet dog’s nipples will appear big, as the delivery date approaches, the animal’s breasts will start producing milk.
• Also by the end of the 60-day gestation period, the dog will either begin to seek more attention or keep distance from you; it depends upon her intrinsic disposition. But as a generalization, pregnant dogs do seek affection from their pet parents.
It is important to note that the surest way to confirm a pregnancy is to take your dog to a vet. This is because each of the above symptoms can also indicate a totally different condition. For example, sustained nausea and vomiting may also be a symptom of an illness.
Three weeks after conceiving, the dog’s blood shows presence of the compound Relaxin; so a blood test is one of the ways a vet can detect pregnancy.
25 days into the pregnancy, the vet can hear the puppies’ heartbeat via stethoscope. And after 45 days, the puppies will show up in X-rays.
Do not give supplements to the dog without consulting a vet. Monitor her temperature for a week before due date; the normal temperature range for dogs is 100 – 102.5 Fahrenheit. If you detect a drop in temperature, it may indicate that the dog is set to go into labor.
Give the mother and her puppies secluded space in the house. You can give them a whelping box which has sides high enough so as to not allow puppies to climb out. Cover the box floor with padding and see that it stays clean.
Feed the mother a nutritious diet and keep an eye on her health; the health of the puppies is totally dependent on how healthy and invigorated the mother stays.