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What you should know about your pregnant dog

Your dog is expecting? Congratulations. Now, you do know what you’re doing, right?

Caring for your dog when she’s pregnant is not an easy thing–it is not recommended for non-professional breeders and requires specific knowledge. A typical dog owner is unaware of the time that is involved with caring for a pregnant dog and even less aware of caring for the pups she’s carrying. If your dog is pregnant and you are not an experienced breeder, then you must understand the basic foundation of caring for your dog at this time. If you do not, your dog may suffer.

If you intend to breed your dog, it is strongly recommended that you allow a professional breeder to intervene. Many casual dog owners enjoy the idea of breeding their female and there is nothing wrong with this; however, there are specific things you should know before you begin:

  • make certain that your female is over a year old
  • make certain that she is in, at least, her second heat period
  • do not breed overweight dogs because they are more likely to have complications
  • make sure that your female is compatible with the male you select; it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian or breeder.
  • unless you plan to keep the litter, have homes set up to take the pups once they are ready. Do not wait until after they are born to find buyers.

Once the breeding is done, you know how to face the difficult part: the pregnancy. Your female dog is going to require specific things from you–most importantly, she is going to require new feeding strategies.

You must select a food that is made for all life stages, instead of the typical adult dog food. A food that has 1600 digestible calories per pound and, at least, 21 percent of protein is needed. Your dog is going to need food and lots of it–so, unless she shows the tendency to gain weight, give her as much as she wants. Since pregnancies tend to last nine weeks, you must prepare for all stages of it. For the first six or seven weeks, your dog should not display an above normal interest in food. It is after these weeks that her weight will begin to increase; she will be consuming more food and you must provide her with all she wants. It is recommended that you serve her up to 25 percent more.

Besides giving her more food, you must also provide your dog with plenty of fresh water. Also, you must continue to exercise her; do not over-exercise, however. Just keep her active. This will keep her from getting overweight and can stop potential complications that come from being overweight.

Give your dog a quiet place to have her pups; typically, a large container lined with towels, rags or straw is used. Keep it clean!

Now for the most important part: your dog’s appetite will probably decrease or disappear during week nine. This is a good indication that the puppies will be born within a few days time. Keep a close watch on your dog to catch this sign.

Your dog will depend on your help during pregnancy; follow these simple, but necessary, steps to make the process as comfortable and easy as it can be.

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