Properly caring for a pregnant dog is essential to a successful breeding process. Thorough care throughout gestation, which can be from 55 to 72 days, as well as proper preparation for delivery are key. Before your dog delivers her pups, she needs a nice, clean, and quiet atmosphere, a proper diet and exercise routine, and proper veterinary care. In no time, you'll be all set up for delivering and raising brand new pups!
Preparing to Breed a Dog
1. Ensure that your dog is a good breeding candidate. Many canine diseases can pass from a mother dog to her puppies.
2. Feed your dog a high-quality dog food that has passed the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) feeding tests.
3. Know the facts before breeding. Although puppies are very cute, they also require a lot of time, attention, and clean-up.
4. Consider adopting a shelter dog instead of breeding.
Providing Health Care For a Pregnant Dog
1. Get your dog proper prenatal care. Your dog should be vaccinated before she gets pregnant. This will protect your dog and your dog’s puppies.
2. See your veterinarian if you believe that your dog may be pregnant. Your veterinarian can help you verify the pregnancy, determine the due date, discuss any medication changes, and even estimate the number of expected puppies.
3. Talk to your veterinarian about ALL medications and treatments that you give your dog.
4. Make sure you know where the nearest Vet Emergency hospital is located. This should be a 24 hr clinic, not your regular vet office.
Feeding a Pregnant Dog
1. Check the label on the food you feed your dog.
2. Feed a normal amount of high-quality commercial dog food for the first 4 weeks of pregnancy.
3. Switch to a high-quality puppy food during the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy.
4. Increase the amount that you feed your dog by another 25% for the end of her pregnancy, during the 8th and 9th week.
5. Do not supplement your dog’s food with vitamins, minerals, or meats unless directed by your veterinarian.
Exercising a Pregnant Dog
1. Do not overexert your pregnant dog. This is particularly important after the 6th week of pregnancy. Allow her to rest as long as she needs to, as pregnancy can be exhausting.
2. Continue daily walks. Daily walks are a great low-intensity exercise for your pregnant dog.
3. Keep your dog away from other dogs during the last 3 weeks of pregnancy and for the first 3 weeks after she gives birth.
Providing a Whelping Box
1. Buy or make a whelping box. The whelping box will serve as a safe place or “den” for your dog to deliver her puppies.
2. Make the box comfortable for your dog and her puppies. Line the bottom of the box with towels.
3. Place the box in a familiar yet private location.