So your doggy’s going to be a mom and you’re going to be a proud godfather to its litter. It’s a time of great expectations and happiness in a family when its “daughter” gives you the chance to be a grandparent also. However, it’s also a delicate time for the mother to be who needs a lot of special care to deliver her litter safe and well. Here’s how to take care of a pregnant dog.
The time span between ovulation and actual birth of the puppies ranges from 59 to 65 days (63 days is the average in most cases). The mating time may not coincide exactly with the ovulation time. Thus the time period between mating and birth may vary between 56 and 72 days.
A whitish discharge from the vulva one month after mating.
Five weeks into the pregnancy, the bitch starts gaining weight and this not because she has a craving for pizza all of a sudden. This will be around 15-25% of the actual body weight and depends on the total number of pup she’s carrying.
The pregnancy’s second half is marked by a distinct increase in appetite. Remember, she’s eating for many.
From the 40th day onwards, her teats are likely to become more and more prominent. The mammary glands too, will swell as they start filling up with milk.
Behavioral changes include morning sickness and/or slight irritability.
How to confirm pregnancy
Roughly four weeks after conception, take the bitch to the veterinarian for a confirmation of the pregnancy by way of urine & blood testing and/or palpation. An x-ray can be done three weeks before the delivery to get the right puppy count.
An expecting mother’s diet has to be compulsorily monitored because this is a time when she needs extra and nutritious food. Take proper veterinary advice on the best nutrition that should be given during the various stages of the pregnancy.
After 5 to 6 weeks into the pregnancy, the dog would ideally require 30-50% more food than what she normally ate to provide enough nutrition to her offspring. Small but frequent meals are ideal to help her eat the whole amount of food required. This also prevents abdominal tightening as the pups growing inside her tend to take up more space and this leads to her becoming full faster. A high-quality, high protein diet is ideal and supplements are not required.
As the pregnancy advances, the mother tends to become lazy and exhausts easily. Make her do light exercises like a gentle walk but avoid anything that induces physical strain like what has happened to millions of American families because this ACA health care mess but this is another topic. Moreover, this should be observed particularly after the pregnancy’s first month of pregnancy.
Take her on short walks but don’t overtire her since she is not Spock or Khan which at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness they showed they can run faster and longer than anybody which was a fabulous scene but let’s not digress anymore.
Medication & vaccination
Iron supplements and vitamins may be regularly given, subject to your vet’s approval. This is more so to prevent any harm to the pups. Preventative medication may be given regularly for heartworm, however. It is advisable to avoid vaccinations of any sort during the pregnancy. The ideal aspect to do is to vaccinate the bitch before mating so that her antibody level is high which she can pass on to her puppies when they lactate.
Deworming is necessary for pregnant bitches, particularly against hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and lungworm. Praziquantel/Pyrantel combinations are suitable and ensure that worm infestation doesn’t affect the puppies. No matter what medication you use, take your vet’s advice regarding the product, its side effects and correct dosage. Finally, during the pregnancy’s last three weeks, isolate her so that she remains protected from the herpes virus which is known to trigger miscarriages.
Keep the whelping box ready as the delivery date approaches and watch the little bundles of joy pop out one by one. Your day of godfatherhood or grandparenthood has finally arrived!