Whether planned or not, your pregnant dog will need care and some basic changes in her routine to prepare her for the big day.
You may be a firm believer in spaying and neutering your pets, but sometimes nature sneaks up and does her deed sooner than expected leaving you with - surprise! - a pregnant dog. Or you are a responsible dog owner that wants to extend your dog's lineage, and planned for this pregnancy.
Sending your dog to her room won't do anything to hide the fact that in 58 to 70 days you will welcome newborn puppies into your home. Your role now is to help your female dog have a healthy pregnancy.
Here are some tips to guide you through it:
The vet is your ally:
Dogs have been giving birth by themselves for ages, but a little help from science will help along the way. A visit to the local vet is required to make sure your pregnant dog is healthy enough to go through the pregnancy and will make sure she has no conditions or that can be transmitted to the puppies that may result in birth defects.
These doctor visits will probably include proper prenatal care, shots, a heartworm blood test, and x-ray testing for hip dysplasia before mating so your girl is ready for the main event and a good breeding candidate.
Changes in her diet:
During the first six weeks her eating habits should remain the same. By the seventh week the puppies start growing in the womb, and will require more nutrients. This, in turn, will increase her appetite.
Instead of feeding her twice a day it's better to leave high-quality dog food and water available at all times so she can eat whenever she feels hungry. Avoid adding any vitamins or supplements to her diet unless the vet prescribes nutritional requirements.
The excessive eating and frequent meals will cease as the due date gets closer. Weight gain during dog pregnancy is a good thing.
Your pregnant dog will need to stay strong and keep her muscle tone throughout the pregnancy. Don't stop her daily walks, though these should get shorter and less riskier than her usual ones.
Stay away from the dog park or areas where you know there are a lot of pets around to avoid her getting hurt or contracting any infections.
Preparing for the big day:
You have enough time before the main event to find the perfect spot, otherwise you know she will choose her ideal place: probably your bed. Why is that? Because it's warm, cozy, private, a safe place.
So look for an area that fills all those requirements and start training your dog to love it; enticing her with treats helps. Place a whelping box big enough for her to lay comfortably and fill it with warm blankets; the sides should be high enough so the puppies can't escape but easy for mom to get in and out.
The puppies need warmth constantly - ideal temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit - so consider bringing a lamp and placing it near the box with the lights dimmed. You also need plenty of blankets and towels to keep the area clean.
She's a mommy:
The process should go smoothly but keep the vet's number handy just in case any complications, like a cesarian section, arise. Once the new litter of puppies is born, your dog's attitude towards you may change-- your sweet, cuddly girl can become a defensive mother dog that wants to be left alone.
Follow her lead. This will change in a few months. In the meantime, enjoy that irresistible puppy smell and stock up on puppy food!
Congratulations, you are now a grand-pup-parent!
Have you had to take care of a pregnant dog? Tell us your tips in the comments below!
READ MORE: Did You Know You Can Ride Pregnant Mares?
WATCH NOW: Top 10 States with Highest Pet Obesity