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How to Care for a Pregnant Dog

Image by Светлана Бердник from Pixabay

Pregnancy is not only tough for humans but is also so for the dogs. One comes to know that one’s dog is pregnant. There are some easy steps to follow to ensure she stays healthy throughout her pregnancy. Having a good knowledge of canine pregnancy is important and being aware of what to expect at each step may prove to be very helpful in ensuring and providing one’s dog and her babies with the best possible care. These include:

  • Proper nutrition: one important thing to take care of is that one’s pregnant bitch receives proper nutrition. One should consult the vet once to know more about nutrition during this phase. At the later stages of pregnancy, the AKC recommends a greater food intake of the dog. Hence one should indulge in slowly feeding the dog small quantities of food at a time.
  • Visits to the vet: frequent veterinary visits can help the dog remain healthy during pregnancy. The veterinarian may be in a position to have a quick look as to whether the dog has some other signs of illness, injuries or discomfort.
  • Medication and vaccination: vaccinations such as rabies, canine, distemper, hepatitis should be given to the pregnant dog before pregnancy when slight symptoms emerge and should be avoided during pregnancy if possible. Some parasite control and worming medication are safe to use. However, what one needs to keep in mind is that one should make sure to consult the veterinarian before giving any medication or vaccination.
  • Foods: one should also be mindful of the foods they provide to their dogs during this critical phase. Raw diets are generally not preferred for dogs during this time. A high-quality dog food is a must and one should strictly avoid feeding their dogs with additional vitamins or supplements until and unless the veterinarian asks to do so.
  • Exercise: the dog must be made to do exercise during her pregnancy to keep her healthy but not strenuous or stressful ones after 4-6 weeks into pregnancy. It is preferable to take the dog on small, gentle strolls around the house. 
  • Safety regarding calcium supplies: supplying calcium when a dog is pregnant is not a good thing to do which may lead to a disorder called Eclampsia. Hence one should consult one’s dog veterinarian to know more about these conditions and what to do. Generally, the veterinarian advises supplementing calcium after birth to manage calcium in the body.
  • Keeping ready pet’s medical insurance: this assists the individual during the process of breeding, whelping and queening and ensures smooth pregnancy and delivery of the dog without much additional cost and discomfort.   
  • Preparing for whelping (birth): whelping can last anything from a few minutes to several hours. Many dogs give birth on their own without needing external help but it is important to check on them every 15 minutes and be around, in case they need any help. One should always be careful of possible dog labor complications as it may be very uncomfortable.  

Whelping is not easy. Hence one should be properly equipped with all the necessary supplies and tools like:

  • Whelping box or a simple bedding
  • Whelping pads

One can also engage in creating a whelping kit themselves in their home with the following:

  • Digital thermometer
  • Absorbent disposable pads
  • Disposable exam gloves
  • Aspiration bulb
  • Locking hemostats
  • Surgical scissors are generally made of stainless steel with blunt edges
  • Hand towels and washcloths
  • Antiseptics
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Unwaxed dental floss to tie off the umbilical cords
  • A heating pad or hot water bottle
  • Newspapers handy for easy cleanup
  • And finally and most importantly the veterinarian’s phone number and a number of an emergency clinic ready.
  • Grooming: an expectant momma dog needs grooming just like any other dog to maintain hygiene and looks. However, one should be mindful that there is no excessive pressure on her abdominal or belly area as it can lead to unnecessary injuries. The various tools required for basic grooming includes sticker brush, shampoo, scissors, dryer, towel, nail cutters, clippers. Bathing and trimming are very essential.

Salvatore Jamison brings about four of the best dog clippers for thick coats and matted hair used in maternity cut along with various other tools. He prefers full out corded clippers for the purpose. These clippers are:

  • Andis Super AGC
  • Wahl KM10
  • Andis Excel Pro
  • Oster Golden A5

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