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Labrador Pregnancy

Labrador Pregnancy

There are many Labrador owners, who look forward to breed their dogs for various purposes. It could be for producing better quality breed or just having more Labrador puppies. Learn more about pregnancy in Labrador species to have a better and a healthy litter of your dog.
Amruta Gaikwad
Like we humans, even dogs require that special care during the time of their pregnancy. Being the proud owner of a Labrador dog, it is the duty of the master to provide all the comforts to his dog. Pregnancy, always needs to be handled with care, or it could prove dangerous for the health of your Labrador. As age and health conditions are important for the pregnancy in humans, the same should be considered in order to breed Labradors. Hence, the process of breeding or getting the Labrador pregnant should be gradual. Age, health and training are the three important components to prepare the dog for breeding.

Dogs have to be mentally and physically healthy to be bred. A male dog might mature early to start breeding, however, female dogs take time to achieve regular heat to carry and nurture the litter. As the owner plans the breeding process for the lab, it is essential to get both the male and female dogs examined by the vet. Taking the advise of the vet helps in knowing the appropriate care required to be taken, during the dog's pregnancy. Every living being is prone to certain health issues and same is the case for these labs. It is essential to check for any hereditary ailments, to prevent the litter from being its victims. Hence, both the male and female labs must be well observed and essential tests must be taken to secure the health of the future puppies. There are certain Labradors, that cannot be bred as their genes do not permit this action. Therefore, before the commencement of breeding, check the pedigree of the dog. Once the dog clears all these criteria, it is ready to get into the phase of breeding.

The owner of the Labrador must be aware of pregnancy facts and must adapt to certain Labrador retriever care for it. Dogs cannot express, which makes it important for the humans to understand the health conditions of their dogs. As you are the proud owner of your dog, it is essential to study about the anatomy of the breed in order to understand the body and detect the signs of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Signs in Labradors

A female Labrador goes through estrus, popularly known as heat, after every 6 months. This period lasts up to 3 weeks and it is also the time of special attention and care as the dog might get aggressive or moody. Rolling, licking, scratching, increase in appetite are the signs that one should look out for when the Labrador comes in heat. The changes in the body of the dog bring in a lot of changes in their behavior and health. Female dogs begin to bleed and on the 9th day of their bleeding, they are introduced to a male dog. When both the dogs show interest, they are ready to mate. Once the process of mating is successful, it is time to look for the signs of pregnancy in your Labrador.

Low Appetite
The body undergoes a tremendous change during the time of pregnancy. As the body grows bigger the dog will have to provide enough nutrients to its unborn puppies. However, female dogs do undergo certain nausea as there is certain hormonal imbalance. One such sign is low appetite. The Labrador will refuse to eat, or the food intake will be extremely low till she achieves a hormonal balance. This does not stay for a long time, but a pregnant dog must eat well to avoid any health ailments. Thought it's not an unusual symptom, utmost care must be taken and nutritious diet must be planned for the dog.

Less Movement
There is not only hormonal imbalance but the weight of the body too increases at the time of pregnancy. It is the time, when the dog will be less active and would prefer to rest more. She will undergo several internal changes and being a little inactive is the sign of adjusting to these changes. Provide all the comfort to your dog and allow the dog to rest as much as she wants to. She will regain all her energy and appetite in a few months, once she passes the initial stages of pregnancy.

Change in the Size of Nipples
A female dog will have to supply milk to her litter. The mammary glands underneath the nipples will begin the process of producing milk by 35th or 45th day, resulting into swelling of nipples. Growth of nipples is the last stage of gestation period. The process of milk production begins at a much early stage, however, some dogs might produce sufficient milk just 1 or 2 days before delivery.

Behavior Changes
A female dog does not only undergo both physical and emotional changes, the dog may face a difficult time during her last few weeks of pregnancy. The dog, at this time, prefers to stay alone, become restless and attempts nest building in the last 2 weeks. She might even turn irritating and therefore, contact must be avoided as far as possible.

Increase in Abdominal Size
A normal gestation period ranges from 60 to 65 days. During the last stages of gestation period, the abdomen of the dog begins to grow. The size and the number of the puppies may vary, which determines the size of the abdomen. The puppies are growing and move, for which, they require enough space in the abdomen of the mother. Hence, the belly begins to swell to make room for the unborn pups.

As the dog approaches towards her due date, begin preparing a whelping box for her and the litter. It's a place where you can prevent the pups from crawling away and the mother can spend enough time with her young ones to nurture them. Use papers, blankets or towels, as they can be replaced and cleaned. Keep in check the body temperature of your dog, in order to know the time of delivery. The normal temperature varies from 100.5 to 102 which drops by 2 degrees, 24 hours before the delivery.

Delivery Stages

Stage 1: The mother becomes restless and nervous. She would begin isolating herself and even refuse eating food. The stage might last from 6 to 24 hours, where the dog must pass urine.

Stage 2: Mother undergoes contractions as the pups make their way out. The vulva of the mother excretes greenish fluid bag with a pup in it. The normal position of the pup is nose and then stomach. Once the pup is delivered, mother separates the pup from the fluid and cleanses the pup. In case the sac is broken during this delivery, it needs to be removed immediately. Separating the pup from the sac can be performed by the owner of the dog to help the mother from doing the task.

Stage 3: After the delivery of each pup, the mother will continue to suffer from contractions till the process of delivering all the pups is over. At times, she might deliver two pups together or just one followed by 10-30 minutes rest till she delivers the next pup. The resting period might last from minutes to hours followed by mild contractions.

Pregnancy of a dog requires plenty of care and attention. The time of delivering the pups is not only a difficult time for the mother, but even the owner has to be careful in handling the newborns. The puppies are delicate and immediately need their mother. There are times, when certain pups might turn out to be weak at the time of delivery and not live for a long time. Therefore, Labrador breeding and pregnancy involves a lot of study and skills to help take care of both the mother and her newborns.
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