Dog Pregnancy Stages

Dog Pregnancy Stages

Pregnancy is the most crucial stage in a dog's life. It is a great experience for the owner to witness the birth of dogs in his house. This article details out the dog pregnancy stages, to help you deal with your dog's pregnancy.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2018
Pregnancy is always an exciting and a beautiful experience for living beings. The happiness or joy to see their own little ones, is very unique. Dog pregnancy, puts a lot of responsibility on the owner. It includes health care and safety of both mother and her litter. The canine gestation must be well handled and the dog must be provided with sufficient care.

A dog's pregnancy lasts up to 9 weeks (63 days). However, she might deliver the puppies between 58 to 68 days. As the puppies are growing in the uterus of the mother, she requires proper health care to assure a healthy delivery of the litter. For this, the master of the dog must study the anatomy and pregnancy of the dog breed. Ignorance of the master during this phase, can prove harmful to the dog and also for her future puppies. Like any other expectant mother, a female dog during the pregnancy requires plenty of care, love and affection.

Pregnancy Stages in Dogs

Gestation Period
Dogs come in heat twice a year and it may last up to 3 weeks. This is the time the dogs get vulnerable and would want to mate. There are no tests available to diagnose the pregnancy in dogs. Hence, a dog is likely to show signs of pregnancy after 25-36 days of mating. X-rays can be used to detect the pregnancy too. A dog diagnosed of pregnancy goes through 9 weeks of gestation, which includes physical, behavioral and dietary changes.

Whelping
The first approach towards preparing the delivery of the puppies is making a whelping box for the mother. The owner must select a place where he/she wants their dog to give birth to her pups. Create a small whelping box to keep the pups close to the mother. Make sure that the box is away from the daily household activities. The mother must have some time alone with her puppies for a few days after her delivery. This helps the mother and the puppies to bond well with each other. Use newspapers, as they can be regularly changed and also act as good absorbent. After the dog reaches the 58th day of gestation, keep checking her rectal temperature to predict the birth timing.

Labor
Stages of dog labor can be explained as follows.

Stage 1
As the dog's body prepares to enter the labor phase, it is the sign that she will soon be delivering her puppies. The opening of the uterus expands to be able to push out the puppies through the vagina. During this phase, the dog is likely to become restless, refuse to eat or drink and moves around in circles. She will try to look for an isolated spot in the house, to avoid getting disturbed at this stage. Some dogs might even vomit, as the body gets prepared for the birth of the pups. The opening of the vulva swells and excretes white yellowish liquid. During the process of labor, the dog will choose to urinate or defecate outside the house. The mother will also suffer from uterine contractions which tend to last from 6 to 18 hours. However, towards the end of this stage, the mother's cervix will have dilated, creating enough space for the puppies to pass through it.

Stage 2
The uterine contractions increase and placental water breaks, which is excreted through the vagina of the mother. The second stage is painful as the dog has to take too much efforts to push out puppies. The mother tends to suffer from contractions after every 2 to 3 minutes. Every pup is delivered in a placenta, which the mother licks off, after the pup is out. She also bites off the umbilical chord attached to the pup and cleans the pup herself. Each pup is delivered after every half hour. However, if the mother puts more strain then she might deliver the puppies quickly. It is better to let the mother do all the cleaning of her pups as it helps her know her newborn and her licking can help the pup breathe. In case the mother is too tired and unable to clean her pup, the owner must do the deed for her.

It takes an interval of four hours for the mother to deliver all her pups. However, if it exceeds four hours, it is better to take her to a veterinarian. If you see a pup coming out of the vagina, you can give a gentle downward push to help the mother with her birth.

Stage 3
During this stage of labor, the uterus of the dog completely contracts and all the remaining placenta, blood and other fluids are excreted out of her body.

After 32 days, the dog's appetite will increase again. The mother is the only source of food for the puppies. Therefore, she must be well fed to produce sufficient milk for her young ones. Moderate exercise and good diet for the mother is sufficient to keep her healthy.

After Pregnancy Care and Body Changes
24 hours after the delivery, the mother and her young ones must be examined by the vet. A healthy diet must be planned for the mother and she must drink clean and fresh water. Watching the new pups and mother could be quite a treat. However, they must be left alone as much as possible as its important for them to bond. Due to the physical changes in the body of the mother, she will pass blood clots and other vaginal discharge for a few days. This should last for 7 days. The breasts and nipples must be cleaned with warm water. When the puppies begin to develop teeth, they might bite the nipples which can cause sores. Therefore, keep a check on the breasts and nipples daily. Groom your dog frequently to keep her from any other ailments.

Temperament and behavior of each dog is influenced by its breed. Therefore, the owner must study the breed and its anatomy well, to understand the gestation stages. Sufficient knowledge about dog pregnancy can help you assist your dog in a great way.
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