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How to Care for a Pregnant Dog – 7 Things to Know

Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Dogs Vets

How to Care for a Pregnant Dog

When it comes to pregnancy, we all know that care is of utmost importance to safeguard the health and wellness of the mother and offspring.

This rings true even with dogs and their puppies, with pregnant dogs needing consistent care to ensure that she stays healthy and happy all throughout her pregnancy up until her nursing stage.

If you’re a first-time owner and your dog is having her first litter of puppies, you’re probably between feeling excited and feeling frightened since your family is going to have multiple puppy additions in a few months.

To help you, we’ve compiled some of the most important things you need to know to take care of your pregnant dog, from their feeding requirements to exercise needs.

How Do You Know That Your Dog Is Pregnant?

When it comes to your journey through your pet’s pregnancy, the first step is probably confirming whether your dog is actually pregnant.

While pregnancy in pets is usually planned, especially for breeders, there are some instances that pet parents are left unaware that their pet is pregnant.

If you suspect that your pet mated without you knowing, here are a few signs you need to look out for:


  1. Increase in appetite – You might notice that your female dog is eating more than usual or she’s been asking for more food during her regular meals. Together with this increase in appetite, you might also notice that your dog is gaining weight or her abdomen’s diameter is increasing, due to her appetite increase as well as the growth of her puppies.

  2. Nipple size changes – The second sign that you should be looking for is whether her teats are swollen or appear pinker than usual.

  3. Exhibiting nesting behaviour – Your pet might exhibit a few nesting behaviours such as scratching the floor or hoarding food and items, which is normal for dogs as they ready themselves for giving birth.

If you’re not yet sure or you’d want to be certain, there are a few procedures that your veterinarian may do, such as ultrasounds and hormone tests.

This is also a great way to hit two birds with one stone since once you verify your pet’s pregnancy, you can also ask your veterinarian for recommendations to better care for your dog.

Here Are a Few Things to Remember for Your Pregnant Dog

Once you’re certain that your pet is pregnant, here are a few reminders to keep in mind to make sure your pet is kept healthy and safe, along with her future puppies:

1. Adjust your pet’s food intake depending on how far along her pregnancy is.

When it comes to feeding requirements for pregnant dogs, it all depends on how far along they are in their pregnancy. During their first five to six weeks, you may give them the normal amount of food, as usual, to keep them from gaining too much weight.

However, avoid underfeeding them to lower the risk of under-nourishing your dog’s future puppies, which may lead to stillbirths and low-weight pups.

At about six weeks, your pet may need additional nourishment as she is now supporting the development of her unborn puppies.

Increase the number of your dog’s meals daily to provide her body with enough nutrients and energy.

At seven weeks, start adding red meat or high-fat sources into your meals, leading up to a 25% increase in her meal intake. Keep this up until her ninth week, on which you might start to notice a decrease in her appetite as she readies herself for whelping.

2. Give your pet a comfortable place to stay in.

Make sure that your pet has a comfortable area where she can roam freely and stretch her legs. Invest in some comfortable pet furniture where your pregnant dog can lay down.

For pregnant dogs, it might be best that you separate her from your other pets to stop her from getting too excited or getting too much exercise whenever your other pets want to play.

3. Learn how much exercise your pet needs.

One recommendation that veterinarians tell pet owners is to keep exercise at a minimum at about two weeks after conception to increase the chances and provide support for better implantation.

Exercise should be kept at a minimum at this time, but after two weeks you can resume regular walks and physical activity.

However, when your dog starts to show and her puppies are starting to get bigger, go for shorter walks spaced out throughout the day to make sure she still gets exercise.

4. Schedule regular veterinary visits.

Professional help is crucial during your pet’s pregnancy since you’d want to make sure that you’re providing everything your dog needs to support her throughout her pregnancy.

Consult your veterinarian to know when you should take your pregnant dog for her regular check-ups so you can clear your schedule.

By doing this, you can get regular updates from your veterinarian and clear up some questions you might have regarding your pet’s nutrition, food intake and other issues that may arise.

It’s important to consult especially if you have dogs that require c-sections for delivery such as French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, and St. Bernards. 

Caring for a Pregnant Dog

Lastly, Prepare for Puppies!

The final step you need to do for your pregnant dog is to be ready with all the supplies she might need while she’s in labor or when she gets home after a cesarean procedure at the vet’s.

If you’re planning on delivering the puppies at home, make a whelping box and situate it in a pre-cleaned, private area.

Make sure that you stock up on clean towels, paper towels, whelping boxes and heat lamps to keep your pet warm and comfortable all throughout the process, as well as keep your newborn litter of puppies safe.

Additionally, individuals ask questions.


What type of care does a pregnant dog require?

Pregnant dogs benefit from regular brief walks, light play time, and attention. Avoid overstimulation of the pregnant dog, but also avoid allowing her to become lethargic. It is critical to keep pregnant canines isolated from other dogs and animals during the final three weeks of pregnancy.

Can I offer milk to my pregnant dog?

These are all critical considerations while feeding pregnant bitches. Starting in week 6 of pregnancy, feeding your dog a puppy formula helps her stay strong and also provides nutrients to her puppies through the milk.

Do pregnant dogs consume an excessive amount of water?

Puppies use more water than adult dogs, and aged dogs consume more than young healthy adults. Female dogs that are pregnant or nursing require additional water as well. These recommendations cover the majority of the moisture consumed by your dog, not just water from the bowl.

Is it possible for a dog to drink water while giving birth?

Once all of the puppies have been born, bathed, and fed, it’s time for mom to rest. Provide modest amounts of water on a frequent basis. Most new mothers will refuse to eat immediately, so give her time.

How do I prepare my dog for childbirth?

Take your dog to the veterinarian for a pregnancy checkup prior to breeding. She should be fully vaccinated. Your veterinarian will likely recommend either a fecal examination to check for intestinal parasites or just deworming your dog before to mating with a suitable medicine.

Is it possible for a father dog to recognize his puppies?

Male Dogs Are Aware of Their Puppies

Male dogs are capable of comprehending that a litter has been added to the household. Additionally, they are capable of determining which litter belongs to which female. There is, however, no concrete evidence that a male dog recognizes his own puppies.

Can I bathe my pregnant dog?

Bathe your pregnant dog if necessary, but keep the following in mind: Ascertain that the bathtub or other area in which they are bathed has a non-slip surface to prevent falls and bumps. We can either use non-slip bath mats or a folded towel. Always use a shampoo that has been approved by our veterinarian.

Do pups make a lot of movements prior to birth?

Do pups move about a lot prior to birth? … – Puppies begin to position themselves for delivery (six to 24 hours). – Your dog will pant, shiver, and show signs of restlessness.


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