The gestation of the bitch week by week
If you suspect that your bitch is pregnant or is sure of it and is looking for all possible information, you have entered the right place. In this article of YourCatCareguide we will explain everything about the pregnancy of the bitches and the process of gestation so that you know what your beloved bitch needs at this time so special of his life and what needs have the puppies that are to come.
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Continue reading to read all of this in this article about the gestation of the bitch week by week along with the symptoms and the duration of the process. We will also provide you with useful information about food, tours, among other things.
Symptoms of a Pregnant Bitch
You may have doubts if your bitch is really pregnant, as the dogs are not always successful. For this reason, here are some signs that can help you identify if your dog is pregnant :
- Vaginal Flow Changes : The first thing you should know if you suspect your bitch may be pregnant is that the menstrual cycle is not a viable indicator, since it is a common mistake to think that it is identical to that of women, but nothing further of reality. A bitch menstruates twice a year approximately, so the absence of menstruation is not a sign that can indicate a pregnancy. What can be observed as a sign of pregnancy is the vaginal discharge, which can change color and consistency without presenting blood.
- Behavior changes : At the behavioral level there are also several signs that may make us think that the bitch is pregnant. Decreased appetite or a change of desire in food. The vitality of the bitch is usually reduced, becomes more tired and remains lying down and may even show general malaise. For the preparation of the nest of puppies, the dog will search for a suitable place and drag the blankets to that corner. You can also start scratching the walls and not wanting to go out for a walk. We can observe hiccups and a rough attitude in general.
- Physical changes : The pregnancy of a bitch lasts from 63 to 67 days or so, and in the middle of this period, with a month of pregnancy approximately, is when you can begin to notice that the belly of the bitch is bigger, distinguishes and begins to get lower. A key symptom of a pregnant bitch are the changes that occur in her breasts. Looking at your bitch’s breasts you will see that they are larger and that your nipples are more visible, it is because they are preparing for lactation. And it may happen to see milk itself.
If you have detected these symptoms in your bitch, then do not wait any longer and consult your veterinarian . It will confirm the pregnancy with a blood test and ultrasound, it will also ensure that everything is running normally. At this time, more than ever, you should get involved in the health of your bitch.
Psychological pregnancy of the bitch
Sometimes when we mate a bitch several times without getting her pregnant, she may be suffering from a false pregnancy or a psychological pregnancy, although it can also occur without any reason .
When the bitch suffers from a psychological pregnancy we see that the physical development occurs as a normal pregnancy and we can see even several signs that can confuse us like breast augmentation for example. In these cases, the dog acts strangely, such as a pregnant bitch, and after a few days it may happen to steal stuffed puppets, which are then treated by her as babies. You should be patient and empathic with it, as this phase usually lasts for about three weeks at most.
The best way to tell if your bitch suffers from a false pregnancy is to see the veterinarian when she suspects it. False pregnancy can worsen considerably if not treated properly, since our bitch can develop a sinus infection (due to milk production) as well as mastitis . The specialist should review the health of the animal and provide treatment if necessary.
Diagnosis of pregnancy in bitches
To confirm the state of gestation you can not do a pregnancy test to a bitch with a tool that we find in the pharmacies, because these tests are made to detect a hormone that is only present in the human being.
To be sure you should go to the vet, who will perform the following steps to diagnose the pregnancy of the bitch:
- Serological test : With a urine analysis the pregnancy can be confirmed but without data on the number of pups or the viability of the process.
- Abdominal palpation : It requires a certain ability to detect gestation, it is the most economical and traditional method. It is not 100% reliable and furthermore it does not reveal problems that may occur. It can be performed from 23 and even 30 days after the coupling.
- Ultrasound : It is sensitive, reliable and safe for the bitch and the procedure does not transmit harmful waves. Confirms pregnancy but may not correctly specify brood size. It can be performed from approximately 21 days of the coupling.
- Radiography : It can only be done from the 44th day of gestation due to the low visibility that the puppies offer, besides the radiation damage they can receive. The ideal time to do this is during the last third of pregnancy, when the risk to the puppies is the same as the bitch can suffer. It is the ideal and most used method to estimate the number of litter members.
Feeding during pregnancy
Follow the steps that we will explain below so that your pregnant bitch enjoys the best care and attention, remember to take her to the veterinarian throughout the process to avoid complications:
- In the first few weeks of pregnancy it will be difficult to detect, so during the first few days she will continue to eat ration as she has done so far. You will also continue to enjoy your walks and play as usual. The symptoms of pregnancy will not be long in coming, begin to feel uneasy and may even appear nauseous .
- From the moment we know that our dog is pregnant and from 5 weeks of gestation we should increase the dose of the ration by 5% each week that passes. Remember that you must also feed the puppies that have inside it. Consult your veterinarian to know exactly what the dose increase is, as it may vary depending on the number of puppies you have.
- Extra food: If you notice abnormal behavior in your stool, you may switch to a softer, canned or digestive diet. At six weeks, the pregnant bitch needs protein and vitamins that promote the healthy development of the puppies that are yet to arrive. For this reason, we can offer you specific baby food that will help you in the process.
- The hydration in this process is essential, you should always have at your disposal a large container with fresh water that should keep clean.
- There are people who recommend giving a specific glass of milk daily to the pregnant bitch. This will help her produce more milk. Consult your veterinarian about what products you have at your appointment.
- In the final stage of pregnancy: At this point so critical, the bitch is getting less space in her body to store food. We recommend that you offer the food frequently but in small portions. It is common to stop eating . Still in your bowl, although it is in a small amount, you should have food that will replenish each time you finish.
- At the time of the arrival of the puppies, the dog will need to follow a special diet to favor the production of milk.
Other advice you should know:
- Feeding the dog during the first two weeks of gestation should be the same, although we are aware of the pregnancy.
- In case of the appearance of nausea we should administer to him the food little by little divided in several meals.
- Nutritional supplements such as vitamins or proteins should not be given before 6 weeks of pregnancy as they may lead to inadequate development of the puppies.
- Never give medication during pregnancy.
- Always consult the veterinarian every time you notice strange behavior.
Care of the pregnant bitch
During this very special process, we must know that our dog is more sensitive and therefore we will be aware of her and her needs . Of course we should go to the veterinarian often for this to take the relevant exams and follow a check to confirm that everything develops properly.
The most important care you will need is nutrition, which we explained in the previous point. In addition, we must follow a weight control throughout this process, useful to prevent obesity and provide a balanced, healthy and rich diet.
As extra care of the bitch we recommend that you have a comfortable bed in a different room if it is necessary and away from cold, stress or drafts. You can look for a space with blankets and cotton cloths, which she will use to create her nest and then have her puppies there. It is also important that you do not force yourself to drink, eat or exercise. Must be patient and seek calm and comfort .
Bitch Pregnancy Week by Week
As we refer in other points it is important to consult the veterinarian periodically to follow the pregnancy and see its development, then find a summary of it all week by week:
- First week : At the beginning the female ovulates, the coupling is performed and with it the fertilization. It may take another two days to get pregnant. Once fertilized, the cycle of heat ends and we have already achieved the goal we were looking for.
- Third week : Sperm definitely implant in the uterine lining and begin to develop. It is this week that we can perform a serological test , because the first metabolic changes appear.
- Fourth week : They begin to develop the fetuses very slowly, in addition it approaches the 25th day, at which point we can consult the veterinarian to perform the first ultrasound or abdominal palpation.
- Fifth week : On the 35th day we find ourselves in the fetal phase, and the genetic needs of the dog change, when we have to start giving her more food than usual, increase the dose by 5% every week.
- Seventh Week : It’s the key moment when the baby’s body is mineralizing, remember that at this point the bitch is likely to refuse to eat. Turn to soft or appetizing food and use the junior range (they have more nutrition).
- Eighth week : From the 50th day the skeleton of the fetuses is already completely ossified. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to make an x-rayand can determine the number of fetuses. It is very important to perform this test so that at the time of delivery it can be confirmed that there are no puppies still inside. We should begin to prepare the bed where the birth will occur. The temperature of the room should be around 30 ° C without the sensation of dryness. At this point the dog will begin to produce milk. Purchase one or two milk containers at pet stores or specialized locations if the female’s production is not enough for the whole litter. The puppies already have sensitivity to touch, we can encourage their development even before being born caressing the belly of your pregnant bitch. We recommend giving a bitch a bathat the end of the eighth week so that the delivery is as hygienic as possible, as long as this does not leave the bitch nervous. We can use dry-cleaning shampoos so as not to disturb or tamper with it.
- Ninth week : The time of childbirth arrives, you must be attentive 24 hours a day taking turns with your family members if necessary, she will need your help. Keep reading the next point to learn more about bitch birth.
The birth of the bitch
There comes the moment so desired and expected that it is the delivery of the bitch. If your veterinarian did not mention that there might be risk, then she will have the puppies at home, otherwise you should go to a veterinary clinic quickly in the face of the symptoms.
If you have finally received your puppies at home, remember that this is a very difficult time for her and that she is likely to need your help . Take turns keeping watch with your partner or family so they can be with the bitch at this special time. It is essential that you have a veterinary emergency number on hand should any complications arise.
It will begin to note some signs that the moment is approaching :
- Dilation of the vulva and pelvic ligaments.
- The bitch looks for a quiet spot.
- It gets irritated, nervous (it’s normal not to worry)
- Prepare space for childbirth in a place far away
The time comes for childbirth, what should you do?
It is the pups themselves that trigger the birth. There are three stages of childbirth:
- Relaxation or dilation of the uterus : From 4 to 24 hours in duration. The female prepares to expel the puppies. It is a moment of restlessness and nervousness. The vulva expands and may even secrete some fluids.
- Expulsion of the offspring : When the contractions begin to become more intense and have a duration of at least 60 seconds we should stay relaxed and be alert because the moment of birth is almost happening. Let’s see how the bitch licks her genital area. The contractions get stronger and stronger until the first cub is expelledof the body (still attached by the umbilical cord to the placenta). The rest of the pups then saw in short intervals. Generally, the childbirth usually lasts about 2 hours although it can be extended considerably if it is a large litter (there are cases of up to 24 hours). The female will lick the puppies to stimulate them while cutting the umbilical cord. There are very few cases in which you do not do it, if you see that you do not have the strength or you do not, you must do it yourself. Remember that you must tell the puppies to know they are all out according to the results of the x-ray.
- Expulsion from the placenta : During delivery, each cub is born wrapped in a placenta, each time the bitch breaks it to let the baby breathe, it eats afterwards because its nutritional value is very high. If you see that it does not break the placenta, do it yourself, otherwise the puppies could die. In addition, we advise that if the placenta expelled is too large do not let your dog eat it as it can result in digestive problems.
Problems of childbirth
We can say that in most cases there is usually no risk in childbirth, however, and for this reason we recommend throughout the article to consult the veterinarian periodically during pregnancy, because the professional will tell you if your bitch pregnant woman can have the puppies at home without any problem or if it will need specialized attention, all this through the analysis of exams.
If you notice any of the birthing problems that we explain below, call the veterinarian urgently without delay:
- Absence of uterine contractions
- Abnormal delivery (fetuses become trapped)
- Retention of the placenta (if it is not expelled)
- Fetal death
Some advice for the three most common problems:
If a puppy is stuck : If we see that a small cub has been trapped in the birth canal, we should never take it from him. What you should do is turn it clockwise to encourage opening of the vagina.
The dog can not cut the umbilical cord : It should cut you with scissors, then you should make a knot.
A puppy does not breathe : It should open its mouth and practice artificial respiration, besides massaging the region of the chest energetically and bringing heat without hurting it. Shake it a bit while holding your head carefully. You should be very careful and well aware of the resuscitation of newborn puppies before delivery.
The puppies of your dog depend entirely on her, both to receive food and to regulate body temperature. Their milk is very important because it leaves them immune from the various diseases that may exist in the environment. As we mentioned before, if you see that you do not lick or feed them you should do it yourself by following the advice of the ExpertAnimal about feeding newborn dogs .
Wrap them in cotton towels and place them all in the same small, warm environment. If your dog does not nurse them, you should give them milk that you should buy at pet stores, always in small doses and with great care. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.