If your dog has become pregnant, it is essential to understand how its body works, so that you can provide it with that extra bit of care that she needs while she is preparing for her motherhood. It can be a nerve-racking time for both of you. However, being well prepared can make the process smoother. Find out how long dogs stay pregnant and how to help them in their maternity.
How Long Does a Dog Stay Pregnant?
The gestation period of a bitch usually lasts between 58 and 68 days. Generally, vet can tell whether or not a female dog is pregnant around 1 month after breeding by taking blood tests, administering an ultrasound to her and feeling her abdomen.
What happens to the embryos?
The embryos start developing after 32 days, and the face and the eyelids begin to form during this period. You can find small puppy toes forming by the 35th day, and the coat and the bones starting to form around the 45th day. By the 50th day, the skeletons form well enough for a vet to count the number of pups with the help of an X-ray.
By the 60th day, most female dogs begin to look for a nesting place. As her owner, you should make a place ready for her for the delivery of her babies. The spot has to be safe, clean and comfortable. Like humans, most dogs want their delivery area to stay private.
What happens during the pregnancy stages of a dog?
You will not possibly notice a lot during the first month of pregnancy. Some initial signs can include reduced appetite, reduced activity level and behavioral changes. She will increasingly like to be left alone. You will also note some physical changes, such as bigger nipples.
However, once the pregnancy progresses, her stomach will begin to grow just like that of a pregnant human female. Once the delivery date comes closer, you will possibly find her producing some milk. Most bitches also display some particular changes in behavior, which is especially evident during the two last weeks prior to delivery.
Nesting is a common behavioral change. She might begin to shred the carpet or any object that can shredded, such as paper, to make space for childbirth. She can also get irritable and restless, and might even develop some incontinence issues.
How to Help Your Dog during Pregnancy?
You should add some high protein foods to her diet, such as eggs, liver, beef and chicken, during the first half of her maternity. In the last few weeks, you should feed her twice the amount that she usually consumes.
Take her out regularly for slow walks and soft play sessions, to give her some much-needed exercise during her pregnancy.
It is also important to create a self-contained area, or a whelping box, to train your dog to be comfortable in a secluded spot. You may use her traveling case in some cases, and also have a blanket close by to offer her some privacy both before and after pregnancy.