When you notice a sudden increase in appetite and weight gain in your female dog and her nipples look swollen, it usually means one thing: Your canine companion is pregnant.
This further means that your family is getting bigger and you will soon have some adorable puppies that will bring joy and excitement in your home.
But before you start looking forward to meeting the new furry members of your family, you have to make sure your dog is healthy throughout her pregnancy. This entails taking care of your pregnant pet properly during this crucial period.
Taking Care of Your Expecting Pet
To keep your pregnant pooch healthy and happy throughout her pregnancy, follow these crucial tips:
Give your expecting pup the right dog food
As with pregnant humans, nutrition is vital for your dog’s health during pregnancy. As such, you have to prioritise feeding your pet properly.
Start by giving your dog high-quality pet food. She should be eating premium adult food that is high in protein, fat, and minerals.
Check if your current dog food contains meat, which is the best source of proteins for expecting canines. Beef, lamb, and pork are your best options since they are high in protein and have good levels of healthy fat.
Look into the nutrient content of your current brand as well. It should contain vitamins C and D and folate or vitamin B9. It should also have calcium, iron, and phosphorus, which are all minerals that are crucial to your pregnant dog’s health.
If your current dog food does not have these vital nutrients, look for a product that contains all these or ask your vet for their recommendation.
Feed your dog properly
The eating needs of pregnant dogs increase approximately one and a half times the normal rate. As such, you may have to start stocking up on more pet food.
Also, keep in mind that expecting dogs may suddenly become ravenous, particularly during her last week of pregnancy. If your dog wants to eat more frequently, do not withhold food. Feed her often, but in smaller amounts.
Since your pet will be eating more, obesity and diabetes may become a health issue. This is a problem that can affect both mum and the unborn puppies. If you want to be sure you are giving the right food and quantities, consult your vet.
Bring your pet to the vet for regular check-ups
Once you suspect that your dog is pregnant, you need to bring her to the vet immediately. Your pet specialist will confirm the pregnancy and catch any complications that may arise early.
Maintaining your pet’s vaccination and parasite control is also crucial during her pregnancy, so bringing her to the vet for regular check-ups is a must. If your dog has not been vaccinated within the last 10 to 12 months, you need to get her a parvovirus booster no later than six to seven weeks into the pregnancy.
Parvovirus is one of the most common causes of puppy deaths. Vaccinating the mother before she gives birth provides her with an effective antibody, which she will transfer to the pups.
Also, do not stop any of your dog’s health care and preventative treatments, which include heartworm prevention, intestinal worming, and flea control while she is pregnant.
Fluctuations in your expecting dog’s hormone levels can cause roundworms in the body tissues to become active. Once this happens, these parasites might enter the milk supply and infect the puppies once nursing starts.
If you want to be sure you are using the right parasite control products, consult your vet.
Help your pet get adequate exercise
Your expecting dog needs sufficient exercise to build her strength, which she will need when she starts nursing and caring for puppies. Because of this, you need to ensure she gets a sufficient workout every day.
Regular short walks are the best exercise for your pregnant pet. Aim for three to five rounds per day. Add some light playtime as well to stimulate her mentally and emotionally.
Avoid intensive training or even bringing her to obedience school since these can be stressful. Moreover, the bumps and knocks she may experience could hurt her unborn puppies.
During the last three weeks of your pet’s pregnancy, it is crucial that you separate her from other dogs and animals. This means not taking your pooch to parks and other areas where there are other pets for her walks.
By doing so, you will prevent your expecting pet from contracting parasites and illnesses from other animals that could impact her and her puppy’s health (such as canine herpes, a disease that can cause stillborn puppies).
During this time, let your pet exercise indoors only.
Make sure you are prepared when your dog gives birth
A few days before your dog gives birth, she will start becoming restless. Your dog will also begin scratching at the ground or in her bed. This is a sign that she is making a nest for the delivery.
Other signs that your dog is ready to deliver are frequent urination and panting. You can also find out if it’s time by monitoring her temperature. If it drops below 37.8 degrees, you can expect the puppies to come real soon.
Additionally, you will see a dark green discharge from the vagina, which means the placenta has detached and the puppies are about to come out.
If the discharge appears but your dog has still not given birth yet after a few hours, contact your vet immediately.
Once you see the less serious signs, prepare your dog’s nest. Provide her with an enclosure — a spot where she can easily come and go, but can also effectively confine the puppies.
Other options for your expecting dog’s nest include a cardboard box large enough for her and the puppies or a small children’s wading pool.
Regardless of which option you choose, fill the birthing area with clean old towels, blankets or sheets, or any soft fabrics that you can throw away. Don’t use anything you’re hoping to use again, though, as giving birth tends to be a messy business.
Make sure you put the nest in a quiet spot where kids and other pets won’t disturb your expecting dog.
With the right Dubai pet foods and supplies, the assistance of your trusted vet, plus your love, care, and patience, your expecting pup can have a safe delivery. You will welcome several adorable puppies to your family, too.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.
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