Preparing for childbirth is an exciting and important process, both for the owner of the dog and for his pet. Particular experiences cause future births if the animal that gave birth for the first time and the owner has no experience tracking the condition of the pet. You can prepare by learning the signs of childbirth in a dog from specialist literature, or you can consult a veterinarian. The second method of obtaining information is preferable, since the ideal case or example of one animal is described in the literature. The veterinarian will be able to give information based on practical experience.
Stages of pregnancy
Each animal has a birth memory, which will help him to give birth to healthy offspring on his own. The question arises - why is it necessary to monitor the development of pregnancy if the dog herself is able to cope with this process? Pregnancy is a period when restructuring occurs in the dog's body, which contributes to the safe bearing, development of offspring and childbirth.
These changes can have various, including negative consequences for the animal’s health - exacerbation of chronic pathologies, the emergence of new diseases. Therefore, in order to identify all negative changes in time, it is necessary to know the criteria by which the state of the animal and the course of pregnancy are evaluated throughout the entire period of its development.
The entire period of pregnancy from the moment of fertilization to the birth of puppies is an average of 63 days. Fluctuations in terms in one direction or another depend on many factors:
- with multiple pregnancy, this period is reduced, and during pregnancy with 1-2 fruits, it lengthens. This is due to the fact that with a large number of fruits, they more intensively stimulate labor, actively moving toward an "exit";
- in dogs of small breeds, the gestational age is reduced to 59-60 days, in females of large and giant breeds, delivery for 56-72 days may be timely;
- the period of pregnancy may also depend on the age of the dog. With age, the number of puppies in the litter decreases, which means that the terms increase.
The period of pregnancy varies even in the same individual, therefore, it is necessary to navigate in the signs corresponding to each of the three stages, into which the entire period of pregnancy is conditionally divided:
- Early period (0-3 weeks) - at this stage there is no change in the dog’s usual way of life. Its activity remains the same, but in some cases toxicosis symptoms may be observed and sleep time may increase. Do not limit the dog in walks or games. Also, the usual feeding regimen does not change. In a hot period of time, it is necessary to ensure that the bitch does not overheat, and there is no dehydration of the body. During this period (15-17 days), there is a risk of malfunction in the formation of the fetus, so you should carefully consider the unusual behavior of the animal.
- Medium (3-6 weeks) - during this period, visually changes in body proportions are observed, physiological signs of preparation for childbirth appear - swelling and pigmentation of the mammary glands, the stomach is rounded. On the term of 22 weeks it is already possible to carry out ultrasound. In the body, hormones are released, which is accompanied by mood swings, the appearance of signs of toxicosis. Nutrition should be reviewed - increase the number of feedings, while reducing the size of the serving. Some bitches may show clear or slightly whitish discharge from the birth canal. By week 6, the movement of the puppies in the dog’s stomach is visible. From now on, it is worth restricting the active games of the female in order to prevent injury to the fetus.
- The final period (6-8.5 weeks) - the weight of the dog increases, it lies more than it moves. The animal is looking for a secluded place for childbirth. A characteristic sign of the approaching birth is the reflex "digging" of the hole and the device of the den - dragging rags into the "nest". In some cases, there is a sleep disorder, increased anxiety. By the 35-36th day, the dog’s appetite increases, it should be transferred to a diet with a high protein content in food. The total volume of food is increased by 10%. Food should be divided into 3 receptions, so as not to overfeed the dog. By the end of the term, signs of an approaching birth appear.
At the end of pregnancy, dog nutrition is of great importance. Some animals refuse food, while others have increased appetite. At this time, the female should be fed in small portions. The behavior of the animal also changes - some future mothers become wary, hide. Others have a desire to caress. At the last stage, the first signs of readiness for childbirth begin to appear.
Find out more in an article about dog pregnancy.
Signs of an approaching birth
The dog's body is gradually preparing for childbirth - due to increased intra-abdominal pressure, the animal experiences discomfort and mild pain, which leads to restless behavior. The closer the time of birth, the more pronounced the signs become:
- 1-1.5 weeks before birth, puppies move closer to the birth canal. In this case, the abdomen falls, on the sides below the ribs appear hollows. If you look from above at the back of the animal, then it seems to have lost weight - the rounded sides are no longer visible. In bitches that have already given birth, fluid may be released from the nipples.
- 2-3 days before birth, the ligamentous apparatus of the sacral joint and pelvis relax. The dog licks the external genitalia and nipples most of the time. Viscous mucus, a cork, leaves the vagina.
- The day before birth, a decrease in rectal temperature occurs (normally it is 38.5 ° C). In dogs of large and giant breeds, it drops to 37 ° C, and in small - to 36 ° C. Body temperature returns to normal after childbirth.
- For 0.5-1 days before birth, amniotic fluid of straw-yellow color leaves. The uterus opens, the loop relaxes.
- On the day of birth, hormones are released, which leads to contractions. If the bitch is wheezing in the box, then during the fight she rests her paws against the front wall, and with her back rests on the opposite.
The dog behaves uneasily before the start of fights, so the owner must calm her down, talk to her. At this moment, the animal really needs support and participation. Often the owner is nervous along with his pet, and this condition is transmitted to the animal, exacerbating anxiety. Therefore, it is so necessary to possess information and calmly prepare for an important event.
Very important: how to take birth in a dog.
What you need to know before delivery
A serious preparation for childbirth in a dog should include not only an introduction to the phased changes in the behavior and physiology of the dog. The owner must prepare a place for the birth of puppies in advance. It can be a sturdy cardboard box with a low front side, of such a size that it is convenient for the dog to rest against its walls during contractions and attempts. If possible, you need to make a "nest" with your own hands from wood or plywood, so that there is the possibility of fixing the inside of the restrictive strap, which prevents injuring puppies.
The bottom of the box must be lined with natural fabric, or put a removable hard mattress, which can then be removed and cleaned. Next to the box, you should consider a heating system, for example an infrared lamp, in order to provide the dog and its offspring with a temperature of 28-30 ° C in the first few days. Next to the main box should be placed a smaller one in which the born puppies will be placed. It should also be heated. To do this, you can put a heating pad or a bottle of warm water under the diaper.
For the future: than to feed the dog after childbirth.
2 weeks before the expected birth, it is worth accustoming the dog to the box in which she will whelp. It is necessary to prepare the necessary items and medicines, a veterinary clinic phone, in case the delivery is difficult. Ideally, the first birth should be taken under the guidance of an experienced specialist. With proper preparation, childbirth will go well.