BREEDING FOR PET OWNERS
How long does pregnancy in the dog last?
Pregnancy, also called the gestation period, normally
ranges from 57-65 days with an average of 63 days.
With a planned breeding, the date of mating should be
carefully recorded. If there are two matings, make a note of the exact
dates and expect birth to occur between 63 and 65 days later.
Immediately after my female dog has been mated,
is there anything I should do?
Make sure that she does not have the opportunity to
mate with any other dogs. Remember that estrus will continue for
several more days. After a planned mating it is a good idea to allow
her to rest quietly for a few hours.
Should I alter her food?
It is important that she is in good physical condition
before she is mated. Both the male and female dog should be examined
by a veterinarian prior to mating.
After mating food intake should remain the same during
the first two-thirds of pregnancy (approximately six weeks after
mating). If a well-balanced diet is being fed there is no need to use
additional vitamin or mineral supplements. Discuss nutritional
vitamins with your veterinarian before giving them to your dog. Some
large breed dogs may have adverse effects if they are given certain
What do I do after the
After the sixth week of pregnancy, food intake should
be gradually increased and high energy, low fiber foods are
recommended. As the fetuses increase in size, abdominal pressure
increases and frequent small meals are advised.
During the last three weeks of pregnancy, food intake
can be increased by up to one and a half times the normal level giving
small meals more frequently.
If you are unsure about any supplements or medication,
please do not hesitate to contact us. Some commonly used drugs should
be avoided if your dog is pregnant.
How can I be certain if my
dog is pregnant?
Early pregnancy detection in dogs can be extremely
difficult. Unfortunately, as yet, we have no reliable laboratory test.
Trans-abdominal palpation (feeling the abdomen for enlarged uterus) by
a veterinarian at about three to four weeks after mating has been the
most useful. It has to be said that results depend more upon the
relaxation of the female than the experience of the doctor!
Abdominal ultrasound is the method of choice today.
Depending on the equipment, positive diagnosis can be made as early as
three weeks. Most scans from 28 days onwards are reliable. Any
estimate of the number of puppies should be treated with caution.
Ultrasound is not very reliable in determining the number of puppies
you can expect. An abdominal radiograph (x-ray) during the last two
weeks of pregnancy is the most accurate method for counting fetuses.
Should I change her
routine as pregnancy advances?
As pregnancy progresses intra-abdominal pressure
increases together with food requirements. Therefore the number of
meals rather than the quantity per meal has to be increased. Let your
pet decide how much physical activity she needs. This depends on the
number of puppies and the amount of intra-abdominal pressure she is
experiencing. Do not over exercise. Check for any vaginal discharges
and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns