Healthy pregnancy to healthy pups

The pregnancy journey
The female dog reaches puberty between 6 to 24 months of age, with average onset of the first estrus occurring at 10 to 12 months of age. It has been seen that small breeds experience pubertal estrus earlier than large breeds. The stages of the estrous cycle of the female dog are –





Proestrus is the bleeding phase in the female dogs which occurs for the duration of 10 – 15 days after which estrus phase comes and the female can be introduced to the male dog for the conception. The best rule to follow when breeding dogs is to be certain that they are physically mature. This means that both the female dog and the male dog should be 18 to 24 months of age, by the time female dog should be in her second or third heat period.

The gestation period in case of canines is almost 63 days. Pregnancy diagnosis can be done by palpation of the female dog’s abdomen for the presence of evenly spaced swellings can be conducted between 20 and 30 days after the last mating. However, improper procedure or excessive prodding can cause a miscarriage. After 28 days of pregnancy you can also opt for the ultra-sonographic and radiologic examination for the confirmation of the pregnancy. After confirming that the female dog is pregnant, make sure you become familiar with the basics of prenatal care, parturition and emergency procedures. The act of parturition in case of canines is termed as whelping.

Extra love and nutrition

A pregnant female dog requires additional food to support the growth of pups inside her and to produce the milk that pups will need after birth. Gradual increase in the amount of food should be done so that by the whelping time, she is eating about 1.5 times her maintenance diet, you can also switch to the commercial dog food which are available in the market specifically for the pregnancy and lactation.

(Dr Aeknath Virendra, Dr Charu Sharma and Dr Apoorva Mishra).

Prep to whelp

-About a week before the estimated date of whelping, the female dog should be introduced to the whelping area and the whelping box. The area should be dry, warm, draft-free, secluded, and quiet.

-The whelping or nesting box can be constructed of a variety of materials but should be designed to accommodate the female dog to fully stretch out on her side and have room to spare for the pups.

-The bedding of the box should include fresh, flat newspaper laid at the bottom for fluid absorption, and heavy towels, mattress pads, or pieces of carpeting laid on top of the newspaper for good traction.

-If necessary, a source of supplemental heat should be placed in the whelping box for the puppies, especially after the first few weeks of birth. Supplemental heat can be furnished by using heat bulbs either suspended or mounted above the floor of the whelping box.

-Since the female dog’s appetite returns within 24 hours after whelping, she should be fed highly palatable food, moistened with water.

-At about 20 to 30 days after whelping, the female dog needs 3 to 4 times more food than she normally does. Although the eyelids of the puppies are closed at birth, they can still locate the mother dog in order to feed. This is of extreme importance since the puppies must consume colostrum (mother’s first milk) within the first 12 to 24 hours after birth. Colostrum contains high levels of antibodies that are absorbed intact into the bloodstream and provide protection against infectious diseases.;

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