Your Dog Is Pregnant. Now What?

Now that your dog is pregnant, you'll need to pay close attention to diet and activities. Realistically, you only have about two months to make sure your dog is in the best condition to support a litter of puppies.

Dietary Requirements When a Dog Is Pregnant

Your dog's diet really won't change in terms of quantity until the last few weeks. Switch her to a puppy formula to help boost the nutrients she provides for her growing puppies. A high quality dog food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and grains is just as good as any puppy formula.

Do not give your dog calcium supplements. While humans must add folic acid and calcium to their vitamin supplements, calcium supplements have a detrimental effect in dogs. They release calcium naturally. If you give your dog a calcium supplement, you affect the hormone that naturally releases calcium, causing a dangerous imbalance later on when the puppies are born and nursing.

Generally during the third week, morning sickness kicks in. Your dog may not eat as much during this week. Providing the appetite returns about a week later, this is fine. If the appetite stays away, contact your veterinarian.

Activities When a Dog Is Pregnant

Extreme exercise is not advisable. Take your dog for a daily walk. If she seems to tire out after 30 minutes, stop your walk shortly before that.

When there are three weeks remaining in the dog's pregnancy, stop all exercise. She must be isolated from other dogs at this point, including dogs in your own home, and remain isolated until the puppies are three weeks old.

Diseases and Parasites to Control

Canine herpes does little more than cause cold symptoms in adult dogs. Many dogs have it and pet owners don't even know it. There is no cure or vaccination that prevents it.

The problem with canine herpes is that it causes severe problems in puppies. Many mother dogs exposed to herpes virus end up giving birth to stillborn puppies. If the puppies survive, they usually die shortly after birth. It's critical that the mother remains in quarantine until the puppies are three weeks old. At this point, their body has grown enough to handle the respiratory virus.

Puppies can battle canine herpes, but it's a tiring process involving controlling the puppy's temperature and ensuring proper hydration. Kidney damage may appear months later in puppies who've battled herpes.

All parasites can pass from the mother to her puppies. At their young age, puppies are unable to handle the blood loss caused by these parasites, and anemia is a real danger. When a dog is pregnant, use a heartworm, flea and intestinal worm product like Revolution.

The Birthing Process

When a dog is pregnant, delivery usually goes well without human intervention. You'll know it's about time when her temperature drops below 101 to 102 degrees F.

When contractions begin, she may seem restless and spend lots of time pacing. Monitor her throughout this process. Call your vet if she fails to deliver a puppy after an hour of contractions or is in severe pain.