How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant? (What You Need To Know)

How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant? (What You Need To Know)

What should I do if my dog is giving birth?

Even though your dog will want to give birth in a secluded place, you may feel compelled to be nearby just to be there for your four-legged friend. Typically, this is unnecessary, as dog birthing typically goes off without any issues. But if you feel compelled to be near your dog, there are a few things you should prepare yourself for.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to be mindful that a dog’s birth is in some ways radically different from a human birth. You are going to see things that, quite frankly, may look a bit weird from a person’s point of view. But don’t freak out when these things happen – your dog is going to be going through quite a lot on her own and doesn’t need your histrionics.

One of those perceived “oddities” is a green sac of fluid that initially exits the dog’s vulva. This is akin to the amniotic fluid that surrounds a newborn human baby prior to birth. You will start seeing puppies emerge within this sac.

When the puppies are birthed, you will see them come out either headfirst or butt first. Again, don’t be alarmed and assume this is a bad thing simply because it is a red flag in the human world – it is perfectly fine for puppies to come into this world “backwards.” It is also totally fine to see the pups listless and quiet in the few moments after the birth.

Immediately after the birth, you’ll want to refrain from engaging with your new mama pooch for a while. Allow her some breathing room so she can stand up and pace around if need be. In a way, she’ll be acting on instinct during this time.

These instincts will lead her to open the sac, lick the newborns to clean them, and cut the umbilical cord herself. However, you can expedite this process if you wish by gently rubbing each newborn pup with a fresh cloth. This action will help them “wake up,” and they will start moving and crying.

The one time you can jump into help the mama deliver her pups is if you notice that she’s struggling with a dog that seems stuck in her birth canal. In order to do so, you’ll want to gingerly take hold of the puppy with a clean cloth and steadily, carefully extract. Make sure the movements here are very deliberate, as any sudden pulls or jerks could spell disaster.

When all the babies are delivered, you will want to step aside and give the new mother some much-deserved rest. It will take a few hours for her contractions to gradually cease and things to return back to normal. If she delivered some of her litter in rapid succession, this recovery process may end up taking a little bit longer.

How should I care for my dog after her pregnancy? 

Gentleness is the name of the game when it comes to taking care of your dog after she’s given birth. It’s important to examine her nipples to ensure no infection has crept in, and you can even wipe the area surrounding her nipples with a warm damp cloth to keep things clean. You’ll also want to keep an eye out on her puppies’ nails, being sure to carefully clip them if it looks like they are going to potentially scratch and irritate her skin.

You can expect to see your dog produce soft poop in the days following the birth. Additionally, she may produce some residual blood clots and vaginal discharge for about a week. You may also catch her noshing on her puppies’ poop, although this is indicative of post-partum behavior and will not cause any actual damage to her.

With that being said, there really isn’t a whole lot that you need to do in order to care for the mom – she will know how to handle the situation through her own instinct. In fact, she might end up acting very territorial and aggressive if you try to come around to help too often. Don’t let this get you down, either – eventually, this kind of behavior will cease as the puppies grow.

The first few weeks of a puppy’s life can move very rapidly. You’ll want to take the pups to the vet for de-worming at 3 weeks, which is around the same time you’ll want to start them on the weaning process. Once the pups hit the 6 to 8-week stage, they will be ready to be adopted into a new home.

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