How To Care For A Pregnant Bitch At Home
*Pregnancy time: 62 to 65 days
Signs of pregnancy in the bitch:
Discharge from the vulva starting about one month after mating.
After about five weeks of pregnancy, the bitch’s weight will start to increase. She is likely to gain 15-25% of her original body weight (depending on the number of puppies) during the remainder of the term.
During the second half of pregnancy, the bitch’s appetite will increase.
From day 40 onwards, the bitch’s teats may become more prominent and the mammary glands will enlarge as they fill with milk.
Changes in behaviour, morning sickness
The diet should be monitored carefully and always take veterinary advice about the best nutrition during the stages of pregnancy. Five to six weeks into her pregnancy, she will need 30-50% more food than normal to provide sufficient nutrients to her puppies. Give her small and frequent meals to help her eat the amount of food she requires; the growing pups inside her will take up much more room and this will lead to her becoming full more quickly. If you use a good quality, high protein food, supplements will not be necessary.
A little bit of exercise, a small walk is necessary but don’t make her overtired. Exercise should get started after the first month of pregnancy.
Many canine medications are safe to use during pregnancy, however, veterinary advice should always be sought to ensure the specific medication you have in mind will cause no harm to the pups. If you give your bitch regular preventative medication for heartworm you can continue this throughout the pregnancy.
No vaccination during pregnancy. Vaccination will be done before pregnancy only
Fenbendazole is best for pregnant bitches; it is effective against roundworm, hookworm, lungworm and tapeworm. Pyrantel/praziquantel combinations may also be suitable. It is very important to de-worm your bitch to ensure worm infestation is not passed on to the puppies. Always seek veterinary advice to ensure the correct product is being administered to your bitch and that it is being given at the correct dose and frequency.
Preparing for the birth:
During the last 3 weeks of pregnancy, it is a good idea to isolate her from other dogs to ensure she does not contract the herpes virus which can trigger a miscarriage. She may dislike being left alone and will probably become more affectionate if a little irritable. As the delivery date approaches she will start to look for a safe place to give birth. Prepare a whelping box for your bitch two to three weeks before she is due will give her time to become accustomed to it enough that she will choose to give birth in it.