For pregnant dogs

For each puppy that your dog delivers, there could be one less home available for a shelter dog. Most experts advise against vaccinating pregnant dogs, so vaccines should be given ahead of time. Do not give any over-the-counter medications, treatments, or supplements to your dog without asking your veterinarian whether they are safe during pregnancy.
If your dog is on long-term medications for a chronic disease, talk to your veterinarian immediately to determine if you should continue or stop the medications. Feed a normal amount of high-quality commercial dog food for the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. Increase the amount that you feed your dog by another 25% for the end of her pregnancy, during the 8th and 9th week. Choose an appropriate time of day for the weather in your neighborhood (ie, early morning during the summer or mid-afternoon in the winter). If your dog jogged regularly before getting pregnant, she can continue to do so for the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy.
Keep your dog away from other dogs during the last 3 weeks of pregnancy and for the first 3 weeks after she gives birth. The whelping box needs to be large enough to allow your dog to fully stretch out and still leave room for all of the puppies. Smaller breeds of dogs typically have smaller litter sizes, while larger breeds typically have more puppies. This version of How to Care for a Pregnant Dog was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on July 11, 2015.
Many dog owners who are interested in breeding their dog are particularly interested in how long dogs are pregnant. During the first few weeks of pregnancy you may notice a few signs such as weight gain, occasional vomiting and becoming exhausted quickly.

If you are a first time breeder or your dog has experienced a difficult pregnancy you will want to arrange for your dog to give birth in an animal hospital. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding the diet routine for your pregnant dog. Thorough care throughout gestation, which can be from 55 to 72 days, as well as proper preparation for delivery are key.
There is a dog overpopulation problem in the United States, meaning that there are more dogs than there are homes for them. Your veterinarian can help you verify the pregnancy, determine the due date, discuss any medication changes, and even estimate the number of expected puppies. Fenbendazole is typically considered safe for pregnant dogs and can treat worms that can be passed from a dog to her puppies.
Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations if your dog is pregnant and is overdue on vaccines. This means that you should avoid taking her to the dog park or on routes in your neighborhood that are heavily populated with dogs.
Your dog may become aggressive towards other dogs if she feels that they are threatening her puppies.
Large breed dogs have an average of 8-12 puppies in one litter, while toy breeds may only have 1-4 puppies. It is recommended to not breed a dog until around 2 years of age so she can finish growing and be evaluated for developmental problems.
Changes such as behavioral changes and nipple growth are also noticeable signs of pregnancy in your dog. Creating the whelping box and finding the perfect place for it well in advance before your dog gives birth is recommended. Some dogs have health issues that may need to be addressed and only a veterinarian can make that happen.

Puppies typically stay with their mother for 8 weeks after birth, longer if you have trouble finding them a home. If you are expecting 6 puppies but only 4 are born, you will know to take your dog in for emergency medical care. For instance, veterinarians typically recommend that you keep your dog on their monthly heartworm preventatives, but talk to your veterinarian to be certain. It is best to be prepared for an emergency, just in case your dog is giving birth in the evening and she has serious complications.
For example, if your dog ate 2 cups of food twice daily before she was pregnant, she will need 6 cups of food per day by the end of her pregnancy. It is especially important in dog breeds known to be predisposed to hip dysplasia that the hips be x-rayed and evaluated prior to breeding the dog.  The hips can be certified and graded using two different methods to assess for hip dysplasia.
However during the last 5 weeks it is recommended to feed several small meals each day and an increased amount of food may be necessary to meet the energy demands for the mother. If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs you will want to contact the veterinarian for confirmation of the pregnancy. However, in general a pregnant dog that is healthy will continue the same caloric intake she had before she was pregnant. This is usually due to a serious health issue that may arise during your dog’s pregnancy or there may be an issue with the puppies that require early birthing. Make sure the whelping box has low sides and it provides plenty of room for your dog to stretch out as well as house plenty of puppies. A whelping box that is big enough for the mother to sleep in comfortably and leave room for puppies should be provided for the mother to nest in prior to delivery.

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