The gift of life is one of the greatest blessings you will ever get to experience, and if this blessing just happens to come in the form of puppies then you are surely in for a treat! Puppies are absolutely adorable and there is no denying how cute they can be, but the days leading up to them is going to be a tough battle. And it is up to you to make sure that your mother dog handles a safe delivery to a healthy litter of puppies.
However, Dog pregnancy can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time handling a situation such as this, you can’t deny the immense amount of pressure on you right now. So, to help you out we’ve planned out a full calendar guide for you to study and understand what to do at every stage of Dog pregnancy. First of all, let us find out what signs and symptoms a pregnant dog would experience.
Signs and Symptoms of Dog Pregnancy
Your dog’s tummy won’t just magically start growing and be carrying puppies out of nowhere. In fact, she will start showing signs and symptoms that will tell you that she’s pregnant and is expecting puppies when the time comes. The following signs and symptoms are what you’ll be expecting to find if your dog is pregnant:
1. Weight Gain
Her weight will start to increase gradually as her puppies develop inside of her and begin to grow. You will also start to notice her tummy to swell quite a bit, which is a sure sign of dog pregnancy.
2. Increase in Appetite
Puppies need proper nutrition to grow and the only way they can get their food is through their mommy’s eating. So, if your dog’s appetite increases and she begins to ask for more food, it is completely normal and is a sign that she’s providing food for her puppies as well.
3. Bigger Nipple Size
When you dog is pregnant her nipples will become bigger and prominent because they will serve as the first source of nutrition for the puppies. They develop this way in order to be ready for the puppies to easily suckle on and you might even see them produce a clear fluid.
4. Slight Vomiting
Similar to what we call as “morning sickness” your dog might throw up a little during the first stage of pregnancy. This is completely normal and is just a sign that her body is changing and adapting to the circumstance she is in.
However, we highly recommend that you have your dog assessed and undergo a diagnostic test to be 100% sure if she’s pregnant or not. While these signs and symptoms do show for dog pregnancy, they can also be preliminary signs and symptoms to other illnesses and diseases. So, to keep your dog safe and not have your hopes crushed waiting on a whim, get the help of a veterinarian to verify if your dog is pregnant. Now, onto the calendar guide to help you at every step of the way!
Stages of Dog Pregnancy Week by Week
Week One: The Mating Call
To begin the long journey toward puppies, it all begins with the fertilisation of the female dog, and for that to happen she will need a mate. The process of mating may take multiple tries, more so if your dog is inexperienced. However, the act of mating will come naturally to your dog and her mate, and when that happens it can take up to 15-30 minutes.
To increase the odds of fertilisation, it is best advisable to help your dog find a mate when she is in heat so as to follow the natural mating call of her body. Another important note is the success rate, one try may no instantly guarantee success and allowing the dogs to meet two to three times with a one-two day interval will greatly increase the chances of dog pregnancy. Make sure to feed your dog normally just as usual but be on the lookout for any signs of “morning sickness” that could indicate a successful fertilisation.
Week Two: Initial Development
On the second week, everything will appear normal however the cells inside your dog are already developing into puppies and begin their descent into the uterus for implantation. Your task during the second week is to do things as usual, make sure to feed, hydrate, and exercise your dog the way you do normally to keep her healthy. This practice will keep her at the most optimal state of health and wellness to support dog pregnancy.
Week Three: New Home for Embryos
On week three, the travelling embryos will have reached the uterus and began implantation where they will continue to grow to become a big and healthy puppy in the coming future. By then, you may still be able to do things normally and not expect anything overwhelming to happen. However, we advise you to begin monitoring and taking down notes of your dog’s weight and appetite for record’s sake and knowing if her actions line up with dog pregnancy.
Notes will help you control and influence your dog’s gradual weight increase and nutritional needs to feed both her soon-to-be-born puppies and for herself as well. Which will come in very handy, not just for your convenience but also to help the veterinarian better understand your dog with the information you’ve provided.
Week Four: Time for a Check Up
By the fourth week, you will have reached halfway through the journey of dog pregnancy which also calls for the important first check-up to see how well the puppies are developing and your dog is holding up. During these days, your veterinarian will easily be able to detect the presence of puppies at this stage and easily diagnose your dog’s health conditions pertaining to her pregnancy. So, it’s best you head on over there as soon as you hit the fourth week to better understand your dog.
Likewise, bring the monitoring records you’ve taken down to help give the veterinarian a better understanding of the lifestyle your dog lives. They will also be able to tell if you’re feeding them right and if she will be needing any extra supplements to help keep her healthy.
In terms of exercise, we advise you to tone it down and refrain from doing any strenuous and stressful activities with your dog because of how vulnerable the puppies are at week four. Being the earliest stages of foetal development, they are very prone to defects and damages so take caution!
Week Five: I’m a Foetus Now
On week five, the second stage of development begins, and the puppies’ organs will begin to form and take shape, they will also be recognized as a foetus now. During this time, the foetus will grow much faster and become a lot heavier in the process, needing more food to keep them healthy and support their development. And if you’ve been gradually increasing and influencing your dog’s food and dietary needs then you will have no worry during this point of time.
We still advise you to avoid and refrain from any strenuous and stressful exercise with your dog as to prevent any risk or danger be brought upon them during this stage.
Week Six: Final Stage
By week six, your dog will have a significantly bigger abdomen compared to the start and this is because the foetus has just entered the final stage of development. The foetus will begin to form and start looking much more like a dog, the skeleton starts to solidify, and the claws will follow soon after. You will also have noticed a substantial increase in her weight by this time as the puppies inside of her are also growing fast.
However, contrary to your dog’s weight and increased need of nutrition she may experience a loss of appetite due to the discomfort caused by this stage of pregnancy. In order to meet her dietary needs, you may opt to give her smaller meals spread throughout the day instead of big meals to help her reach standards. Multivitamins supplements are also advised, but only do so if your veterinarian believes it to be necessary.
Week Seven: Second Check Up
When week seven arrives, it’s time for you to pay another visit to the veterinarian to have your dog checked for any parasites, diseases, or illnesses that my hamper the birth of the puppies. When you’re in the clear to take your dog home and wait for the day, you should also start making your own preparations for her birthing place and puppies’ first home. Ensure that the place is comfortable, quiet, and warm enough for her to use and have her sleep there for the next days, so she understands where she needs to go.
Week Eight: Be Ready
On week eight, you will have to finish any last-minute adjustments you will like to add to your dog’s birthing place to make it more comfortable for the mother and her soon litter of puppies. Your choices include adding a potential whelping box for her to fit in and not move around too much during birth, adding heat pads for extra warmth, and decorating to make it feel and look more appealing.
Week Nine: Puppies Right Around the Corner
By week nine you should be expecting your dog to go into labour anytime soon, so make sure that she stays comfortable in her birthing place. Your job during this process will be to monitor your dog and keep her calm through all of it by gracing her with your presence and telling her that everything will be okay. Most of the time, your dog will easily be able to handle it on her own taking from minutes to even hours but do make sure to intervene if your dog is experiencing any difficulties.
There will be quite a mess so be ready to clean up afterwards, when the labour is complete and your new mother dog welcomes her puppies to the world!
Dog pregnancy is no laughing matter and requires your utmost attention and care to ensure the birth of healthy and happy puppies. By following this calendar guide for dog pregnancy, you will surely have an easier time than going in blind, so we suggest you have this ready at all times!