Caring for a pregnant dog means you’ll need to start paying very close attention to her diet and activities and you’ll have only about two months to get her in the best condition possible in order to support a litter of puppies.
You won’t need to increase the quantity of food you feed her until the last few weeks before she gives birth. A lot of vets recommend that you switch a pregnant dog’s food to a puppy formula to help boost the nutrients she will need to provide for her growing puppies. You can also feed her a quality dog food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and grains. This will provide her needs as well as a puppy formula can.
It’s important that you don’t give her a calcium supplement for dogs. Humans are different, and pregnant women need to add folic acid and calcium to their vitamin supplements, but calcium supplements have a detrimental effect on dogs. A pregnant dog releases calcium naturally, so if you give her a calcium supplement you will affect the hormone that naturally releases calcium. This can cause a dangerous imbalance in her system after the puppies are born and begin nursing.
Around the third week of pregnancy she will begin to experience morning sickness and may not eat as much food during the week. Her appetite will usually return about a week later but if it lasts more than a couple weeks, contact your veterinarian.
You can take your dog for daily walks but be sure you don’t tire her out. When she’s about three weeks from delivering her puppies you should stop all exercise. Isolate her from other dogs at this time, including any other dogs in your home, and keep her isolated until the puppies are at least 3 weeks old.
Early in her pregnancy, and throughout it, you will need to check to be sure she does not contract parasites. Parasites can easily be passed from the mother to her puppies, and puppies are unable to handle the loss of blood caused by parasites. Anemia becomes a real danger for the puppies if they become infected with parasites.
Caring for a pregnant dog doesn’t require a great effort on your part. When she’s ready to deliver her puppies she usually can do it without your help. When her temperature drops below 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit you’ll know it’s close to delivery time. When she begins to have contractions she may seem restless and pace around the area you’ve set up for her to deliver. Even though a female dog is fully capable of delivering the pups on her own, you should monitor her throughout her delivery.
Once the puppies are born be sure to keep her whelping area clean at all times and free of puppy poop. She may not be very hungry for a few days and this is normal. Just be sure she has clean water at all times and some food if she gets hungry.
In a few weeks it’s time to enjoy those beautiful little creatures she’s given you!
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