I thought that as we are soon to have a new litter of puppies that I would write a little about pregnancy and whelping in dogs.
Pregnancy and Whelping
Gestation in dogs lasts approximately 63 days. Normal signs of pregnancy include changes in the nipples, increase in appetite and therefore an increase in weight. A veterinarian can officially confirm a pregnancy around 28 days. A vet can also help determine the approximate due date, with the help of information such as blood test, approximate ovulation date and breeding dates.
For about the first three weeks of the pregnancy food intake should remain about the same and then should be gradually increase as she gains weight. By the time she whelps she may be eating up to 50% more than her pre-pregnancy diet. Another thing that can be done to help is to offer her more small meals throughout the day to avoid any discomfort.
Once you know your dog is pregnant it is time to prepare the whelping box and birthing supplies. There are many types of whelping boxes. After talking with the owner of the stud dog that is helping us with everything we have decided on a small wading pool, she uses a child’s wading pool because it is easy to clean and has tall enough sides to keep the puppies in but allow mom to get out easily (at least with a larger dog such as a golden retriever).
There are many supplies that are needed to be collected before whelping time. I don’t want to get into every little item that would be needed. But among them are newspapers, towels, scissors, heating pad and many more.
Next on the agenda will be watching for signs of labor. The first thing that is to be done when you are a few days away from the expected due date is to start taking her temperature. A dogs usual temperature is 100 to 102.5 degrees. About 24 hours before the first signs of labor appear you will find her temperature starts to drop below 99 and continues to drop (now you take it every hour or two) you have about 12-24 hours from the start of the drop. When it bottoms out to 98 or 97.9, then you have about 2-12 hours.
Now it is time for whelping, most dogs easily deliver with no outside help, but it does not hurt to keep an eye on the process to avoid problems. A few things to keep an eye out for are extreme pain, more than 45 minutes of strong contractions without delivery of a pup or more than two hours between delivery of a new pup.
We are hoping for a very easy delivery and a full litter of healthy pups. We will update the site as soon as we know she is in labor and after the delivery of every pup.