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New breeders often feel a little anxious when their dog is pregnant. They want everything to go well, and watch carefully for any sign of a problem. Fortunately most dogs have uneventful pregnancies, and there is no cause for concern.
In the first week or two, it’s not easy to tell that your dog is pregnant. She may appear completely normal, or she may go off her food a little and become more affectionate than usual.
Your vet will be able to tell you whether or not your girl is definitely pregnant from as early as 26 days after mating. A blood test will check for the hormone relaxin which is only found in pregnant dogs. Another method of confirming pregnancy at this stage is with an abdominal ultrasound.
Pregnancy in dogs lasts from 63 to 65 days. As her pups grow inside her, she will appreciate smaller meals, because there’s not as much room for a full stomach. This means that she will need feeding more frequently during the day. She should be given a good quality balanced diet during her pregnancy. Never give her calcium supplements while she is pregnant, as this increases the risk of eclampsia, a potentially fatal calcium deficiency which occurs when she is producing milk to feed her puppies.
Your dog will enjoy gentle exercise throughout her pregnancy. As she approaches her due date, she will find it more uncomfortable to move around, and may prefer to rest at home.
Most bitches start to make themselves a nest in the few days before they whelp. At this time, you can give your dog a comfortable whelping box where she can have her babies. You can accurately predict when she will give birth by taking her rectal temperature. Her normal temperature will be 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. When it drops to 97-99 degrees, she will go into labor within 24 hours.
In Summary – It’s important that you inform yourself about normal pregnancy in dogs, so that you can identify abnormalities and have them treated straight away. This will also allow you to relax and enjoy this exciting time in your dog’s life.
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