Looking after expectant doggy mums
Dr Scott Miller is very passionate about responsible breeding and neutering to control pet populations but also is open to supporting owners and mums when a well thought through, ethically assessed and researched decision to give the birth of puppies is made.
With mothers day in March, Dr Scott is here to advise on caring for doggy mums whether you have a rescue or family pet who may find themselves expecting the pitter patter of tiny pads!
What behaviour changes can I expect when my dog is pregnant?
In the early stages of pregnancy, dogs will mostly show a change in behaviour. Your pet may be acting differently; potentially a little subdued and may look for more attention and affection from you as they struggle with the hormonal roller coaster which is pregnancy (I mean, it’s the least we can do right? Lots of cuddles please!)
When will a pregnant dog start showing physical changes?
After a month or so, they may have some abdominal swelling, vaginal discharge and enlarging of the mammary tissue. The average length of gestation is around 63 days in dogs.
Does a pregnant dog need more food?
In the final weeks of pregnancy, your dog may become lethargic and less interested in food as they fill up with puppies. There will be less space to fill their stomachs with food so this is expected. Dr Scott Miller, recommends little and often feeding using a high energy, high performance food such as Puppy Days, in either dry or wet format, available in both small and medium to large breed options, with little and often treating.
Is there anything extra I should be doing for mum to support her?
Your pregnant dog will need more affection and attention during this time (which we think is fair enough!). Be cautious not to force your pregnant dog into strenuous activities and be sure to consult your vet about any medications for supplements before giving them to your soon to be expecting furry-friend. Your vet may consider an ultrasound to check on the puppies health after the first month, monitoring the pregnancy with blood tests for hormone levels to give everyone an idea of when the birth may occur.
What should I do to make sure I'm giving mum and pups the best start?
Once the puppies are born, mum will immediately begin producing the antibody rich colostrum with normal milk let down occurring after a one to two days. New mums will need lots of nutritional support during this early period, with many owners offering puppy food such as Puppy Days to give them a nutritional boost.
Mums should be encouraged to have short breaks from their puppies to toilet themselves, taking care to avoid strenuous exercise or exposure to other dogs who may transmit infectious diseases or parasites to the puppies. A check up from your vet within the first few weeks is a great idea for puppies and mum, with puppies beginning to wean onto good quality puppy food from around 3 weeks of age.
Whether you’re rehoming or looking after a pregnant pooch or young pup, Barking Heads and Dr Scott wish all the wonderful pet parents, cat and dog mums a lovely mothers day.
Vet, Dr Scott Miller and Barking Heads
*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*