So, your dog is pregnant. Congratulations! You're about to experience something that many dog owners never get to see for themselves. Providing proper care for your dog during this time can help ensure that your dog's pregnancy will go smoothly and will be a success. Here's what you need to know about caring for a dog before she has puppies.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Pregnant dogs require protein-rich, fat-rich adult dog food. The food you choose should be high in minerals, but do not feed your dog supplements unless the veterinarian recommends it.
Your dog will likely need to eat more, so you may find yourself purchasing more dog food than normal. At the same time, your dog may choose to eat food in smaller amounts. She may graze throughout the day instead of eating a large meal all at once. Dogs experience morning sickness, just like people! Your dog will choose to eat when she feels well enough.
Don't deny your dog food during this time, or take away the food that she leaves sitting out, untouched. She may return to that food later. If she becomes hungry again, give her more food. During the last few weeks, your dog may choose to eat a lot more than normal. This is expected because the growth of the puppies increases toward the end.
Making regular visits to the veterinarian during this time is important because some pregnant dogs can become obese or may develop blood sugar problems. As long as you're following the advice of your pet's veterinarian, you should have little reason for concern.
2. Promote Gentle Exercise
Gentle exercise is good for pregnant dogs. Going for light walks and engaging in light play can help keep your dog active and engaged, and can help your dog manage blood sugar levels as well as the potential for obesity.
Do not engage in hard play, do not encourage your dog to become overstimulated by exercise, and (unless instructed by your vet) do not engage in a new exercise routine that your dog did not previously engage in. If your dog was used to vigorous exercise before becoming pregnant, talk to your dog's veterinarian to see if her exercise routine should change during this time.
Toward the end of the pregnancy, indoor exercises are often better than outdoor exercises. Parasites found outdoors can put the mother and puppies in danger.
3. Be Ready for the Birth
Getting ready for the birth is important. Your dog will need a "whelping box," or a box that is made for your dog to have her puppies. Put the whelping box in a location where your dog can have privacy if she needs it, and keep children and other members of your family away from the whelping box.
Keep the lights around the whelping box dim, to create a relaxing, safe space for your dog. You may notice your dog taking clothes and other materials into the whelping box. Provide your dog with blankets and other materials to ensure that your dog will have what she needs to be comfortable without taking the clothes from your home.
4. See the Vet to Follow Up On Care
You may already be in the routine of administering certain medications to your dog, as prescribed by the vet. Once you're aware of your dog's condition, ask the vet about these medications to find out what you can and can't administer to your dog at home.
Your dog's veterinarian may choose to change some medications, or may require those medications to be administered in the veterinary office. Following these recommendations can help you protect your dog and her unborn puppies.
Seeking Healthy Food for Your Dog?
Jiminy's provides combines plant and insect-based ingredients to feed dogs with food sensitivities. Our dog foods and treats are delicious and contain probiotics to help keep your dog healthy. Always consult with your pet's veterinarian before switching your dog's diet during pregnancy.