Dogs Gestation Period: Nutritional and Labor Preparation | A Detailed Guide
Expecting some new cute members to join the Family?
After reading this, everybody who has ever been pregnant would be envious: A dog’s pregnancy lasts only two months, and the growth of pups proceeds at lightning speed. Lonna J. Nielsen, DVM, of Winterset Veterinary Center in Iowa, says the dogs’ gestation period is 62 to 65 days. You will see changes in your mama dog, but most of the action occurs within her babies.
Overview of Pregnancy in Dogs
A typical dog’s gestation period is around 63 days after conception, however, this might vary by a few days. Though it seems simple on paper, conception determination is quite tricky.
Because sperm may linger for many days within the female and eggs can be viable for up to 48 hours, mating isn’t a perfect assessment of the dog’s gestation period. Hence without a Veterinarian’s help, pregnancy length approximation precision affects.
When the vulva recovers to average size, rather than when the bleeding stops, the heat cycle gets finished. The time between two heat cycles typically lasts six months.
Consult your veterinarian for information on danger signals to check for throughout pregnancy and delivery (called whelping). You’ll want to know what’s typical and what signs are serious and threats to the mother and pups.
Dogs Gestation Period Breakdown
Female dogs in good health go into heat, or estrus, twice a year. Female canines prepare themselves for the hardships of child-raising every six to eight months throughout their lifetimes.
The first heat occurs between the ages of 6 and 18 months, with bigger breeds commencing later, and dogs can get pregnant during their first heat.
While their reproductive cycles may become unpredictable or less regular as they age, dogs, unlike humans, do not go through menopause and can remain viable well into their senior years. The heat cycle lasts two to three weeks and is segmented into three stages:
1. Proestrus lasts roughly 9 days and is the initial stage of the heat cycle. Females begin to attract men, although they usually reject their approaches until the second stage.
2. The second stage of oestrus might last anywhere from three to eleven days. This is the moment of ovulation, when the female is most receptive to the male’s approaches and when conception is most possible.
3. Diestrus – the last stage of the cycle, which usually occurs around day 14 and marks the end of the female’s permission to mate. During this time, you may observe the following symptoms that a dog is in the heat:
- High energy
- High level of alertness
- Vulva swelling
- Urination on a more regular basis
- Bleeding in the uterus
How to Detect Pregnancy of Your Dog?
Common noticeable symptoms after mating to see the onset of pregnancy in your dog are:
- appetite shift (either increasing or decreasing)
- strong need for particular sweets or chew toys.
- could look to be suffering from morning sickness.
- demeanor might shift (e.g. nesting behavior, more clingy than usual, or avoiding touch and interaction)
- nipples will darken and grow, and the region around them will swell.
Clinical Detection of Pregnancy
Veterinarians can use one of four procedures to detect if a dog is pregnant:
Hormone measurements provide a significantly precise gestation period. Professional breeders utilize vaginal swabs and blood tests to check reproductive hormones. As this helps them during the breeding phase.
This information aids them in determining the optimal time to breed their bitch, as well as the duration of the dog’s gestation period and possible delivery date.
Length of pregnancy based on reliable hormone measurements:
The first cycle of diestrus is 56-58 days,
while the first spike in progesterone is 64-66 days.
58-72 days after the bitch first permitted breeding
X-rays are most helpful later in pregnancy, after the 55th day of the dog’s gestation period, since the number of fetuses can be precisely determined at this time in the pregnancy. An x-ray may also identify how far along the pregnancy is at this time, allowing the delivery date approximation.
Between days 25 and 35 of the dog’s gestation period, an ultrasound is the best technique to determine if a dog is pregnant. Ultrasounds can assist assess the gestational age of the baby by detecting pregnancy and measuring the fetal heartbeats.
The cheapest and most convenient technique to identify pregnancy in dogs is to do a physical examination using palpation, which involves feeling with the hands and fingers from the outside of the body.
The membranes around the fetuses expand to create fluid-filled sacs, which the Veterinarian may feel between days 21 and 35 of the dog’s gestation period (approximately three-to-four weeks).
How to take care of your pet during Pregnancy?
Dogs are very self-sufficient, and caring for a pregnant dog isn’t all that different from caring for a dog at any other time as long as you care for their nutritional needs and keep stress to a minimum level.
You can groom, feed, and walk her the same way you did previously in the early weeks. Labor, on the other hand, can be strenuous, and keeping her health and fitness during the pregnancy can assist in reducing the stress of labor.
A regular walking regimen is essential; several short walks each day around her house will keep her fit and prevent boredom. The shorter the walk should be, the closer you get to delivery. Keep a close eye on her behavior and don’t compel her to go for a stroll if she doesn’t want to.
Nutritional requirements during the dog’s gestation period
During pregnancy, a well-balanced, high-quality diet is crucial. During the first half of pregnancy, however, your dog’s dietary needs rise only a little; her weight should remain reasonably steady, growing by no more than 9 to 10%.
As a result, in the first few weeks, there is no need to adjust or increase the quantity of her diet. Continue to feed her normally, but keep an eye on her for signs of hunger.
Rapid fetal development happens in the second part of pregnancy, and her nutritional demands will increase by two to three times her typical need.
She’ll require a performance diet that’s higher in protein and higher in calories. As a general rule, adopt a commercial diet that is highly digestible and pleasant.
Commercial dog diets with the proper balance of protein, lipids, carbs, minerals, and vitamins are available specifically for pregnant dogs. Avoid overfeeding her by not giving her too many scraps and goodies.
You may want to supplement her food with a multivitamin, as recommended by your Veterinarian.
Make sure her meal has a lot of fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, as they play a significant role in brain development. Human multivitamin usage for dogs is wrong and prohibited, so one should not try to use some during pregnancy.
Maintain enough nutrition throughout the last trimester, and while breastfeeding, by gradually increasing the quantity of high-quality, well-balanced, and pleasant food, you offer your baby.
Important preparation before labor
One of your most crucial jobs as the end of the dog’s gestation period approaches is to prepare an area or whelping box, the “nest” in which your dog will give birth to and care for her babies. The chosen location should ideally be away from the usual home traffic flow.
The ideal barrier surrounding the area is high enough to keep the pups in and prevent draughts, but low enough for mom to step over, allowing her easy access to the outdoors and her food and water.
Line the floor with waterproof material and/or a lot of newspaper for insulation and absorption, then cover it with clean towels, sheets, or blankets.
The room temperatures are as follows: 30°C throughout labor and whelping, and at 25°C thereafter respectively.
Stages of Labor
Stage one begins with the first indications of labor and can last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. During stage one, the strength and frequency of contractions in the muscular wall of the uterus increase, but there are no visible contractions. In dogs, however, the following signs and symptoms of labor may be visible:
- Frequent Nesting
- Refusing to consume food
- Clear vaginal discharge
What to do during Labor?
During the second stage of labor, puppies are born to take place. This can take anywhere from one to 24 hours, since the mom only gives birth to one puppy at a time, with each delivery taking between one and two hours and 30 to 60 minutes between them.
During labor, be aware of indications that might signal difficulties, such as excessive delays between pups, the placenta failing to pass, or any signs of pain from the mother. Keep your Veterinarian’s contact information on hand in case you need to call them immediately.
While mom is cleaning and nursing her puppies, your primary responsibility is to look after her. Provide her with enough high-quality, nutritious food as well as plenty of fresh, conveniently available water since both are necessary for adequate milk production. Call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns during the postpartum period.