Unless you’re a breeder, it’s likely that you don’t know much about what occurs or what to expect when a dog is pregnant. If you’ve recently found out that your female dog is going to be a mama pup, you will want to educate yourself on what to expect in order to ensure you’re taking proper care of your dog and handling the birth appropriately. The following information can help you learn exactly what to expect during your dog’s pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Timeline
A dog’s pregnancy does not last as long as a human’s pregnancy. In fact, most dog pregnancies will last only about 65 days. Like humans, dog pregnancies are also broken down into trimesters.
The First and Second Trimester
The first and second trimesters are important, but you won’t notice much of a change in your dog’s behavior. She will still eat the same amount of food as she ate before (maybe slightly more) and she’ll want to remain active (but maybe not as active). Some owners think they should start doubling or tripling their dog’s food intake during the first two trimesters to provide nutrition for the growing pups, but this will typically just result in your dog gaining fatty weight that provides no benefit to the unborn puppies.
The Third Trimester
The third trimester is where all the changes typically start to occur. Your dog will see a massive weight gain, but their appetite will start to diminish due to the lack of space in their stomach. In order to keep your dog eating enough nutrients, try giving her more smaller meals throughout the day instead of one or two larger meals. During this time, your dog will also start to feel more exhaustion and want to rest more often than normal, so make sure that you’re allowing your dog to have plenty of rest.
Stage I of Labor
A dog’s labor is broken down into three sections. During Stage I, your dog will start having contractions, similar to those experienced by human women. In most cases, you will not be able to see the contractions occurring, but your dog will show signs, which may include vomiting, complete loss of appetite, nesting behavior, restlessness or panting. This stage can last from a few hours to a full 24 hours, so make sure to keep an eye on your dog during this stage and get ready for Stage II.
Stages II and III of Labor
Stages II and III have to do with the delivery of the pups (Stage II) and delivery of the placenta (Stage III). Your dog will start delivering puppies when she’s ready, and it is completely normal for the birthing process to last for 15 minutes up to 4 hours between deliveries. Most pups are born healthy and most mama pups give birth without any hiccups. If your dog has been straining for more than four hours without delivery, you may want to call in a professional.
Once the puppies are born, your dog will want to thoroughly clean her puppies in order to remove membrane from their fur. Plus, most mama pups will also usually eat the placenta.
Danielle Nottingham is a veterinary technician and an avid blogger at www.DogTrainingCollars.com a resource for dog training who loves to write about canine health in an attempt to educate pet owners.