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If we have picked up a bitch in an evident state of pregnancy, in addition to asking ourselves about the basic care that she will require during this period, it is common for us to have doubts about how long does a dog's pregnancy last. In this AnimalWised article we are going to explain all these issues so that, as caregivers, we contribute to a happy pregnancy, delivery and postpartum for our dog and her family. We will also explain how veterinary follow-up should be in this period.
The how long the gestation of a dog lasts it is the same for all breeds, so it is important to note that it does not matter if it is a golden retriever, a chihuahua, a yorkshire or a mixed-breed dog. Having said that, ¡read on to discover all the related information!You may also be interested in: How long is a cat's pregnancy? Index
- Symptoms of a pregnant bitch
- How long is the pregnancy of a bitch?
- How to know how pregnant my dog is?
- Basic care of a pregnant dog
- Delivery of a bitch: symptoms
- Birth control in dogs
Symptoms of a pregnant bitch
In this section we will describe how is the pregnancy of a bitch. If a mating has occurred during the heat, it is likely that there has been fertilization. From that moment, changes take place in the body of the bitch in order to ensure the implantation and development of the embryos. Except for a slight weight gain, All these changes will not be noticeable to us until the gestation is more advanced. Some bitches present sickness by the third week of gestation, they will vomit occasionally and lose their appetite for a few days.
After the first month of pregnancy of a bitch, nipples darken and they will increase in size, the same as the abdomen, which will be more or less evident depending on the constitution of the dog. May also appear secretion in the breasts, which will be enlarged. When the due date approaches, we will be able to notice that the bitch is looking for a place to nest, stops eating and is restless.
My bitch has milk but she has no belly, ¿is pregnant?
There are cases in which female dogs expel a discharge through the breasts similar to breast milk but do not show other symptoms of pregnancy. In general, it is associated with a psychological pregnancy. In the long run, suffering many psychological pregnancies can have very negative consequences, so it is important to consider the option of sterilization.
How long is the pregnancy of a bitch?
Pregnancy in bitches lasts for approximately two months, with an average of 63 days and a variation between 56 and 66. Therefore, it is not possible to give an exact number of days, but it will be around 60 when we must be aware of the delivery. Some bitches will give birth earlier, especially those that carry numerous litters, and others will be delayed without implying the existence of any pathology. In any case, after a few days of the date given by the veterinarian as probable for the delivery, we must contact him, especially if we observe any strange behavior in the bitch or the elimination of any vulvar secretion.
How to know how pregnant my dog is?
To know how much a bitch is pregnant, it is necessary to visit the vet to perform an ultrasound and, after the examination, establish an approximate date of gestation. As we have seen when reviewing the symptoms of a pregnant dog, not all of them show signs of pregnancy at the beginning, so it is not always easy to guess at what point in the pregnancy she is. Other tests that the specialist will perform to determine the duration of the pregnancy of the bitch depending on the moment of gestation in which it is found is the abdominal palpation itself and an ultrasound test or X-ray.
However, as a guide, we can say that towards the middle of the pregnancy, that is, about the month of gestation, the dog will begin to show symptoms such as a slight increase in the abdomen. As the days go by and the belly is bulging, we will be able to notice the movements of the fetuses by palpation.
The breasts do not usually enlarge until the delivery is about to arrive, so this symptom will show at the end of pregnancy. In this way, if the bitch shows an enlarged abdomen but the breasts not yet, you can deduce that her pregnancy is between weeks 4 and 8 appropriately..
Pregnancy test for dogs
In the market there are pregnancy tests for dogs very similar to tests for humans, since they use urine to show a result. However, if what you are looking for are home tests to know if your dog is pregnant, you should know that the only ones that exist are the observation of the symptoms. Therefore, the most appropriate is visit the vet at the slightest suspicion to perform an ultrasound.
Now that you know how long a dog's pregnancy lasts and how to determine when she is pregnant, it is crucial to review the basic care that we must offer her in order to guarantee the best pregnancy and ensure that the future mother is in good condition..
Basic care of a pregnant dog
Once there is doubt about how long a dog's pregnancy lasts, for the pregnancy in dogs to be successful it is important that we take into account some basic recommendations regarding the care of a pregnant dog, such as the following:
- Must change diet and replace it with one for puppies and pregnant females, since in this phase the bitches increase their nutritional requirements.
- If the bitch is not dewormed It is recommended that we administer a product for both internal and external parasites, but always according to the recommendation of the veterinarian. So, if you wonder if you can deworm a pregnant dog, the answer is yes, and in this other article we explain how.
- Before giving any medication, we must consult with this professional because some drugs could have fatal consequences, such as abortions or fetal malformations..
- Usually, a life without stress, with adequate exercise to avoid overweight and good nutrition are the basis for a pregnancy without complications.
- In the last weeks we must avoid abrupt activities.
Veterinary monitoring of pregnant dogs
We cannot forget about veterinary care. As soon as we discover or suspect that the dog is pregnant, it is time to go to the clinic. There, in addition to answering all our questions, the vet will do a general review in order to check that there are no obvious problems. If any deworming is missing, you will decide when to administer it. Before the month, by palpation, an experienced veterinarian will be able to detect the pregnancy.
On the other hand, we can make an appointment for a ultrasound. In it, before the third week, we will be able to see the puppies. This data, which is also obtained with a bone scan towards a month and a half, it is important to know if the delivery has concluded or not, although there may be some error. Shortly before the expected date of delivery another visit is advised. The vet, but also us, at that point we can notice the movement of the puppies just by resting our hands on the abdomen. It is a good time for you to solve doubts about the delivery and write down the number of the veterinary emergencies, just in case.
These would be the recommended minimum visits. There will be cases in which the veterinarian considers that a closer control is necessary, for example, if he detects a problem or in small breeds or brachycephalic, since both can have difficulties at the time of delivery because the heads of the puppies, sometimes , are larger than your pelvis, which can even prevent natural childbirth, necessitating a cesarean section.
There is a lot of variation depending on the breed but, in general, the bitch will give birth to about 5-8 puppies, being able to be so alone 1-2 in the smallest breeds and exceeding 10 in the largest.
Delivery of a bitch: symptoms
Once the maximum duration of pregnancy has been reached, the bitch will begin to show the typical symptoms of childbirth. Normally, a few hours before giving birth, the bitches experience a drop in body temperature. Likewise, they are restless, nervous and agitated, especially when the contractions. In addition, it is common for them to look for the nest they have been preparing to give birth to their young and take care of them at birth..
If during labor you suspect that something is wrong or that the puppies are taking a long time to be born, call the vet immediately to check that there is no alteration or to act if there is one. For more details, don't miss this other article: "¿How long does a bitch give birth? ".
Birth control in dogs
Now that we know how long a bitch is pregnant, we can calculate that each one will be able to have a couple of litters a year. Currently, there are more dogs than homes willing to take them in, so that, in an excessively high number, they end up abandoned, abused or killed. Therefore, as part of responsible ownership we must prevent them from reproducing. Recommended sterilization both to avoid unwanted litters and for its health benefits, since an intervention before the first heat can prevent the appearance of breast cancer in the future, uterine infections, etc..