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Caution: Eclampsia is common in pregnant dams nearing the whelping time and after the whelp. Eclampsia is a deficiency of blood calcium (hypocalcaemia) that develops in the weeks after giving birth, although it may develop prior to birth (as in this case) or during lactation.
It can also be caused by giving a calcium supplementation during the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, inappropriate calcium to phosphorous ratio in the diet while pregnant, low body weight to litter size ratio and poor nutrition during pregnancy. The parathyroid gland must be triggered to release calcium from the bones into the body when the mother dog's milk comes in. On a nursing or pregnant dam additional signs are also poor maternal behavior, restlessness, nervousness, panting, whining, vomiting, diarrhea, facial itchiness, muscle tremors, where the entire body goes stiff, convulsions, dam lies down with paws rigidly extended (usually seen 8-12 hours after the first onset of symptoms). Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs.
Feed your dog a high-quality dog food that has passed the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) feeding tests. If your dog has trouble delivering her puppies, emergency veterinary treatment will be necessary. 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. Do not feed large-breed dog or large-breed puppy foods, even if you have a large-breed dog.
Increase the amount that you feed your dog by another 25% for the end of her pregnancy, during the 8th and 9th week. Because the puppies will be pushing on her stomach, she may not be able to eat this much food in one meal. 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. If your dog does need help, contact your local vet as soon as possible, don't try doing anything yourself unless you're sure what you are doing. This version of How to Care for a Pregnant Dog was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on July 11, 2015.
Giving calcium rich foods or a puppy food (which contains calcium) in the last 10 days also increases the dams risk of getting gestational uterine inertia. Unbeknown to the owners they were apparently feeding a vegetable based protein dog food which was recommended by the pet store. This included heat, turning them every hour, IV sub-Q fluids under the skin, Nutri-Cal, tube feeding, antibiotics, pottying and weighing them before and after every 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. We had to weigh every puppy before and after the feeding and then top them off with replacer milk to make sure they got enough. There is a dog overpopulation problem in the United States, meaning that there are more dogs than there are homes for them. This way, you will know if all the puppies have been delivered successfully when your dog gives birth. Some medications can be dangerous to the unborn puppies and can cause birth defects and even death. 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.
You may think that additional calcium is required, and some inaccurate websites even recommend it, but do not give your dog any additional calcium.
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. You will need to access the site frequently to assist your dog, but it should be tucked away from distractions and other pets. Large breed dogs have an average of 8-12 puppies in one litter, while toy breeds may only have 1-4 puppies.


You need to stop feeding puppy food, cheese, sardines, cottage cheese and any other calcium rich foods for the last 10 days of pregnancy to make the parathyroid gland wake up and learn to do it's job. You have to keep them warmer than you think and they can get dehydrated and constipated with too much heat.
However raising an orphan litter of premature puppies is the ultimate challenge and takes 2 people to save them. Before your dog delivers her pups, she needs a nice, clean, and quiet atmosphere, a proper diet and exercise routine, and proper veterinary care. Have your veterinarian examine your dog before you breed her to minimize the risk of passing a genetic disease to the puppies.
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.
The puppies got unforseen issues, like dry skin from the lack of a mommy dog licking care. He’s most proud of his work on How to Reduce Glare when Driving at Night, which has been featured and translated into 5 different languages. They can now eliminate without stimulation, but the dam should still continue to clean up after them. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies.
She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding.




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