Sunday, November 25, 2012

Advice for Pregnant Dogs About to Have Puppies

Question:  Hi, I am tired of carrying these puppies in my belly, I do not have much energy, when will my puppies be born?
Signed Expectant Mom

Dear Expectant
Hopefully your owner has kept track of when you were bred and knows your due date. Dogs are pregnant for 57 to 65 days, with puppies often being born around 63 days along. If your owner did not know when you were bred they may have taken you to a vet to get a better idea of when your pups will be born. Your owner should have started to feed you puppy food around day 45 and prepared a whelping room with whelping box for you long before your due date.

To know more about when your pups are due your owner might be taking your temperature on a regular basis. They should know your normal temperature, which is often 100 to 102.5 F or 38 to 39 C. When your temperature drops to 97-99 F or 36 to 37 C it means your pups should be born within 24 hours.

Pregnant dogs often not feel like eating on the day the pups are going to be born, or maybe even the day before, and you will probably start to be drawn to the whelping box where you may have a “nesting” behavior, circling and preparing the area. 

Your owner should be keeping a close eye on you, possibly even take time off work around your due date. Your owner should not let you go more than three days past your due date without calling your veterinarian, and should keep your vet's phone number handy at all times.

Question:  Hello, I am a very pregnant dog, at first I did not know what was going on, today I think is the day I am going to have my pups, what can I expect?
Signed Too Excited to Give Birth

Dear Excited
Labor in dogs is a three stage process. In the first stage your temperature drops (as mentioned above) you will probably be restless and may even vomit. 

In the second stage you may shiver or pant. You will feel contractions and may think you need to go outside to go to the bathroom.

Your “water” will break and your contractions will be stronger. Within a short time your pups will be born, one at a time. Your owner should not help but should supervise (sometimes people want to help but pull at the wrong time). Pups are normally presented with one paw just ahead of the other (to keep the shoulders narrow) and the head resting on top. Sometimes they are presented backwards, with the two hind paws. This is okay, but any other delivery presentation is a problem.

Your owner should have your veterinarian's phone number handy in case of whelping problems but in most cases birthing of pups goes smoothly.

Pups are usually born within 2 hours of each other. If your owner knows how many pups you are expecting (an earlier vet exam would have determined this) and more than four hours pass without other pups born and you are expecting more – they need to call the veterinarian. If a dog is having contractions and trying to push a puppy out, for more than 2 hours, with no puppy being born, your owner needs to call the vet immediately.

After the pups are born their placentas will come out, this is actually your “third stage” but sometimes placentas come out between pups. Some dogs will eat their placentas but owners should try to count to make sure all came out.

Hopefully all things will go well for you and your pups.