A canine pregnancy calendar is reviewed step-by-step in this article. Tips and advice are provided about handling and monitoring different stages of dog pregnancy.
Pregnancy for a dog is quite different than pregnancy for a woman and that is why a canine pregnancy calendar is a useful tool. For humans, a full term pregnancy takes about 9 months, give or take. However, for canines, the usual pregnancy period is about 2 months; typically 60 to 64 days.
Not surprisingly, the pregnancy term depends on the breed of the canine. Small breeds start having heat cycles, known as estrus, when they are a mere 4 to 6 months old. With larger breeds, estrus starts at 12 to 24 months of age. Furthermore, heat cycles vary from dog to dog even within a certain breed. For example, some average 7 days, others for 10 days.
Here’s another interesting fact. Unlike women, female dogs have menstrual cycles for their entire lives. Their reproductive systems do not stop regardless of age. Their periods never go away.
If you’re trying to keep figure out the canine pregnancy calendar, you obviously need to take note of the day the dogs mated. After 48 to 72 hours, fertilization takes place in the oviducts. This is the trail from the ovaries to the uterus.
After 10 to 11 days, the fertilized eggs will then become blastocytes and implant in the wall of the dog’s uterus. The blastocytes will grow into embryos. After 14 to 15 days, the dam’s nipples begin to get large and have a darker shade of pink. By the 20th day after conception, the fur on the dam’s belly and around the nipples will become thinner.
From the 21st to the 28th day, the dam, just like a human female, may experience morning sickness. This is because of the hormonal changes she is experiencing and the stretching and distension of the uterus. The dam may lose its appetite and vomit once in a while.
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There are many reasons why a dog will stop eating. For example, they might be sick. Or, they might be getting food from another source. Some dogs even stop eating because they are eating poop!
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You can feed the dam several meals that are distributed through out the whole day to keep her healthy. Smaller meals are better than larger meals during the canine pregnancy calendar. On a related topic of canine pregnancy comfort, you can ask your veterinarian to prescribe a drug which relaxes the uterus. This isn’t necessary of course, but if your dog seems to be in pain it could be worth the effort.
After about a month of pregnancy, the dog embryos will be walnut sized and the breeder or veterinarian can determine how many puppies the dam is expecting. On the topic of health, you must begin to increase food rations to keep the dam healthy. At the same time, be very careful not over feed her because excessive weight gain can cause complications.
At this point in the canine pregnancy calendar, the dam’s abdomen is large and is very visible that she is pregnant. The dam spends a lot of her time grooming herself. Her nipples also become even more swollen. She may be a little restless. She will be wandering about, sniffing one place and another and another. This is because she has started searching for a place where she can give birth to her puppies.
Six weeks after conception, the dam may lose her appetite entirely. Her abdomen will be so big and hard because the puppies are already crowding one another. To keep the dam’s health and strength up, the owner must continue feeding her small meals that are distributed through the entire day. you can feel the puppies moving by touching the dam’s abdomen (if she’ll let you).
Almost two months after conception, you might want to clean the dam’s nipples and vulva by gently wiping it with a clean cloth and warm water. You can also trim the hairs surrounding the nipples so that the puppies won’t have a hard time sucking milk. At this point, milky fluid will come out of the nipples when they are squeezed.
An indication that the dam is about to deliver is when her rectal temperature drops from 101 to 98 degrees. 12 to 24 hours after this, she will be delivering her puppies. Another sign is when there is a clear discharge from her vulva.
The dam will also start whelping on the 59th to 64th day. Note that puppies that are born earlier than this period may not be able to survive. They are considered pre-mature.
Observe whether the dam is taking good care of her puppies. Some dams, especially if they are still too young, do not know how to tend to their young. Gently grab the puppies and slowly direct them to the dam’s nipples. Be gentle but firm with the dam. Insist that she remains in one location as the puppies feed.
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