How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant & Dog Pregnancy

Dog Pregnancy

Is your dog expecting a litter of puppies? If so, you might want to prepare yourself to ease this experience for your pooch and her puppies. Dogs usually stay pregnant for approximately nine weeks. Generally, your dog’s pregnancy symptoms will be virtually unnoticeable until they reach three weeks of gestation. Some of the early signs include appetite loss and nausea, which is the equivalent to morning sickness for humans. Around five weeks, her waist and rib cage will appear wider, and her nipples will be much darker in color.
The absolute best way to confirm your dog’s pregnancy is with an ultrasound, which can be performed around day 21. When she reaches 45 days, a radiograph can be taken to determine how many puppies she is carrying. Once you have confirmed their pregnancy, this is what you should expect when your dog is expecting.

The Pregnant Dog: Your dog will be undergoing a lot of physical and mental changes during pregnancy. As previously mentioned, the first two-thirds of their pregnancy will feature little to no change in their activity level, appearance and appetite. It isn’t until three to four weeks of pregnancy that they begin to gain weight and mammary glands begin to develop. This is the time where puppies are rapidly developing, and clear vaginal discharge can be seen and will likely continue until birth.

Diet: The diet that you feed future mom is crucial to her health as well as the developing puppies. They require an extremely high-quality diet, but no major changes should be made during the first five weeks of gestation. At four weeks of pregnancy, you should begin increasing the amount of food that she consumes on a daily basis by at least 25 percent. This is the time where puppies begin to demand more nutrition, and satisfying the demand will ensure that all of them stay healthy and strong.

Contrary to popular belief, you should not incorporate any vitamins or supplements into their diet, especially calcium. Feeding them extra amounts of calcium increases their risk of eclampsia, also known as milk fever, which is a dangerous health issue that is often fatal. Furthermore, many supplements have the potential to cause a variety of birth defects. Try to keep your pooch away from them during pregnancy unless recommended by veterinarian.

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How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant

Featured photo of an adorable puppy by Simson Petrol via Flickr.com

Exercise: A pregnant female dog needs daily activity to keep the muscles exercised, especially her uterine muscles. Short daily walks are the best option; do not overexert her as it will stress out the puppies. Exercise is important because it prepares her for the physical aspect of birth, and will prevent her from becoming obese from additional food intake. During the last three weeks of pregnancy, no more walking is needed.

Prepping for puppies: When the time comes, you will need to set up a private, warm and clean whelping box where your dog can deliver and rear all of her puppies. Large cardboard boxes and children’s playpens are excellent options, but if not sufficient in size, use hard plastic panels or wood to block off a section of your home that is far from drafts. Determine the height of the walls by the breed of the dog that will be giving birth. They should be short enough so the mother can easily enter and exit the area but tall enough to prevent the newborn puppies from escaping. Fill it with plenty of blankets or towels to ensure that she remains comfortable and warm. Her whelping box should be set up several weeks before she is expected to give birth. This gives your canine enough time to nest and get comfortable within the area. Keep her food and water close by for convenience.

Pre-birth: 6 to 24 hours before going into labor, you may notice excessive panting, vomiting, restlessness and a decrease in the dog’s appetite. If she does not eat for more than a day without delivering, contact your veterinarian immediately. It is important to keep your home quiet during the moment before birth and to keep her inside away from other dogs as added protection from disease and stress. Her normal temperature will be 100 to 102 degrees, but will drop to 99 degrees 12 to 24 hours before labor.

Labor: You don’t need a veterinarian for your dog to deliver her puppies; most of the time, she will know exactly what to do. Once the mom begins to give birth to her puppies, hard labor should not last longer than an hour. If it does last longer than this, then it might be good to contact your vet over the phone and follow their directions. Once they are done whelping it is best to take her as well as the puppies in for any exam to rule out any problems and to make sure that everyone is healthy. Do so either on the same day or the day after that, but don’t wait longer than 48 hours.

Calls for hero dogs to join forces on International Dog Day

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This Tuesday 26th August is International Dog Day and to celebrate, Dogs Unite, a Guide Dogs initiative, is calling on all dogs to become heroes for the day, by taking part in a sponsored dog walk to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs.

By signing up to their own ‘My Dogs Unite’ sponsored walk, K9 crusaders will be sent special superdog capes, to help turn the ordinary dog walk into an extraordinary one – changing the lives of those living with sight loss by raising vital funds for guide dogs and as they walk.

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My Dogs Unite walks can take place either on International Dog Day or at any time this summer, and those signing up can also nominate their friends to do the same. Dogs and their owners taking part will be helping Guide Dogs to support more people who are visually impaired to lead confident, independent and active lives.

To help mark International Dog Day, Dogs Unite has also been asking the nation to name their ultimate doggy heroes. Researchers found that legendary Lassie topped the charts of the poll (40%), followed by World Trade Centre hero, Trakr (16%), with Buddy, the very first guide dog, in third place (14%).

The top 5 famous dog heroes are:

1. Lassie – The well-loved TV character Dog made famous for always saving the day

2. Trakr – The dog made famous when, together with police officer James Symington, he helped dig through 30 feet of unstable debris at the World Trade Center “ground zero” site and located the last human survivor of the attack

3. Buddy – Thought to be the first ever guide dog, Buddy was trained after WW1 to help blind veterans

4. Vidar – The army dog due to be put down due to PTSD but was rescued by the Soldier whose life she saved in Afghanistan

5. Gelert – The legendary dog wrongly thought to have killed a baby – whose life he in fact had saved by protecting the baby from an attacking wolf

To give your dog the chance to be a hero, register at: www.guidedogs.org.uk/dogs-unite

Top tips: going on holiday with your dog

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Dogs are part of the family and love time away with humans on a summer holiday. Planning ahead is essential, so we’ve put together some top tips to help you make sure you all have a great time…

Taking pets abroad If you are going abroad check the pet passport requirements carefully and make sure your dog has any necessary vaccinations.

If you’re heading to Europe, travel by Eurotunnel is safest, as your pets stays with you all the time, whereas on cross channel ferries your dog will have to stay in the car without you, and without any supervision.

There are several diseases in Europe that aren’t found in the UK, often spread by ticks and biting insects.

Effective tick control is essential for travelling dogs, and in some areas you will need to protect against diseases carried by biting insects such as heartworm and leishmaniasis.

Ask your vet about specific treatment before travelling abroad.
Don’t forget to check if your pet insurance is valid overseas.
If your pet is on medication take a plentiful supply. Be vigilant for hazards like roads and rivers and careful with pets around unfamiliar dogs.

Make sure your dog’s tag has your mobile on it so they can be returned to you quickly if they get lost. It goes without saying that your dog should be microchipped and your contact details should be up to date (see below for more on ID).
It’s worth checking out local legislation before you travel too, as different countries have different laws on dogs.

In Italy, for example, dog owners are required to carry a muzzle and should put it on their pet when asked. In this case, it’s a good idea to get your dog muzzle trained before you head off so they are used to it if they have to put it on.

Some countries have breed-specific legislation and the list of which breeds and types of dogs are banned may differ from the UK. Laws banning some types of dog might not be the same in all part of a country, so check you know what the rules are in the part you are visiting.

Wherever you’re going, home or abroad – your pet will appreciate some familiar things such as their own bed and favourite toys, so don’t forget to pack these.

Staycation Check the hotel, cottage or campsite you want to visit allows dogs at the time of booking. Some holiday accommodation may charge a small fee for a dog, but this is usually cheaper than leaving them in boarding kennels at home.

Most pet friendly accommodation will have details of the nearest vet for emergencies, but it’s worth checking before you travel just in case.
Make a note of your insurance details to take with you should the worst happen.

Travelling in the car Make sure your dog is secured by a harness or barrier and that there is plenty of ventilation. You can keep the temperature inside the car as cool as possible by using sun screens on the windows to protect from direct sunlight, and by avoiding the midday heat.

To keep your dog cool you can use a misting spray, but avoid his face.
Make sure your dog has plenty of access to clean water.
Never leave your dog alone in the car – even with the windows open. Dogs can’t sweat in the same way we do and can suffer from heatstroke within minutes.

Identification Make sure your dog is microchipped and your contact details on the chip are up to date. This means if your dog does go missing, he can be returned to you when his microchip is scanned.
It is a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar with a tag displaying the owner’s name and address.
It’s a good idea to have a separate tag made with the name and location of the accommodation you are staying at so a finder knows how to contact you if your dog gets lost while on holiday.