What do I need to do if my dog is pregnant?
It may seem like a lot to think about when your dog is expecting puppies but this handy guide can really help! Our vets and nurses are always really happy to help so please call us or come to the clinic to chat about your dogs pregnancy. Here is a list of points that you need to consider.
Diet and Nutrition
From day 42 of pregnancy the puppies start to develop very quickly and the mum will need to start eating puppy food as it has more energy and protein for her. Give her 3-4 smaller meals a day as her puppies can press on her stomach and make it hard for her to eat a big meal!
Before your dog gets pregnant it its really important to make sure she is up to date on her annual vaccines. When the puppies are born they get protection from their mum from her milk, which will only happen if she is fully protected. Puppies can get herpes virus from their mums so it is important to get her vaccinated while she is pregnant to stop them from getting infected at birth.
When bitches are pregnant they need to be given a wormer called Fenbendazole every day from day 40 of pregnancy until 2 days after the puppies are born. This is to stop the puppies getting worms from their mum when they are born.
Dogs still need exercise during pregnancy but it is important to not over-exercise them. After day 30 of pregnancy they should be taken on short walks to make sure they don’t get too tired.
Preparing for Whelping (giving birth)
Make a whelping box for your dog and put it in a quiet area of the house where you can place a nest big enough for mum and puppies. A large box lined with puppy pads (for accidents!) and filled with clean blankets and towels is perfect.
Make sure the room is nice and cosy- newborn puppies need to be in a warm room. Labour often starts with the mum becoming restless and panting. Contractions will start and a clear fluid should come from the vulva followed by the first puppy. Labour can last from a few minutes to several hours. It is normal for it to take 20-60 minutes between puppies being born.
They need to be wormed when they are 2 weeks old for the first time. Record their weights with kitchen scales and let us know their weight so we can calculate how much wormer each puppy needs. Puppies are ready for weaning between 6 and 8 weeks old. They need their first vaccine when they are 8 weeks old and the vet will check them over to make sure they are healthy.
When to call the vet
- If you ever have any questions- we are always happy to help!
- If there has been more than 1 hour between puppies
- If the mum is straining but no puppies are being passed
- If there are fewer puppies than expected as one may be stuck in the birth canal