6 Tips for Caring for Your Pregnant Dog
If you have a pregnant dog or you’re thinking of breeding your dog, it’s important to know how to take care of your pet during this time of her life. Pregnancy is short for dogs, but it is still taxing on a dog’s body just like it is for humans.
In the article below, we’ll help you learn some of the most important basics you need to know about taking care of a pregnant dog. With the help of this information, you can set up the right care plan for your dog to help her throughout her pregnancy.
1. Monitor Her Diet
A pregnant dog has different dietary needs than a dog who is not pregnant. You will need to switch your dog to a healthy blend of food designed specifically for pregnancy needs. She may also need to take vitamins, depending on the type of food you give her and her overall wellness.
Talk to your veterinarian for recommendations about feeding your dog while she is pregnant. Your vet will help you choose the ideal food blend to keep your dog healthy and happy throughout her pregnancy and afterward as well.
2. Provide Plenty of Attention
Your dog is likely to want lots of attention from you while she is pregnant. She may want to lay with you and cuddle more often than is normal for her, and she might just want to be petted and comforted a little more often too. All of this is normal, and you should give your dog as much attention as possible during her pregnancy.
Now is not the time to go on vacation or leave your dog at a boarding facility. Instead, keep her at home while she is pregnant and make sure she always has plenty of human interaction with her family every day.
3. Keep Up with Vet Visits
Throughout your dog’s pregnancy, you will need to take her to the vet for regular checkups to ensure the pregnancy is going as smoothly as possible. Some vets will want to see pregnant dogs weekly, but others will not require visits so frequently.
It is important to talk to your vet about what is best for your dog during this time. If your dog has any health or wellness problems or concerns, your vet may want to see her more often to make sure everything is going well for her and the puppies both.
4. Provide a Birthing Space
Dogs need a comfortable and safe birthing space to have their puppies without problems. You do not have to set up a birthing space immediately when you find out your dog is pregnant, but you should do so as she nears her due date.
A birthing space should include comfortable towels or blankets that you don’t mind throwing out after the puppies are born. It should also include your dog’s food and water dishes as well as some of her favorite toys and other items. She may want to nest and bring in items of her own as well.
5. Prepare for Behavioral Changes
Your female dog will likely show behavioral changes as her hormones fluctuate throughout her pregnancy. She may become overly clingy and want to be near you all the time, but she could just as easily become distant and aloof. She might hide frequently, or she may become aggressive and defensive. All of these changes are normal during pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about your pregnant dog’s behavioral changes, you can talk to your veterinarian for more information. However, keep in mind that most of these behaviors will go back to normal for your dog after she gives birth.
6. Prepare for Puppies
Recognize that you are going to have a litter of puppies to care for following this pregnancy. You need to be ready to provide adequate nutrition and vet care for the puppies, too, as soon the mother dog gives birth to them.
When the puppies come, you will also need to be ready to provide care for the mother dog during labor. She will need room to pace as well as a comfortable spot to lie down, away from the distractions of the household.
Work Closely with Your Vet to Help Your Pregnant Dog
When taking care of a pregnant dog, it is important to consider the needs of the mother dog as well as the unborn puppies. You will also need to prepare to care for the puppies themselves once they arrive. Taking care of a pregnant dog is not an easy task, but it can be a very rewarding one.
Reach out to your vet with any further questions or concerns you may have about caring for your pregnant dog. Remember to keep up with regular vet visits throughout her pregnancy and talk to your vet about any changes in her health during this time, too.
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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