How long does the pregnancy last?
Pregnancy, also called the gestation period, normally ranges from 57-65 days with an average of 63 days.
With all planned matings the date of mating should be carefully recorded. If there are two matings, make a note of the exact dates and expect whelping to occur between 63 and 65 days from those dates.
Immediately after my bitch has been mated, is there anything that I should do?
Make sure that she does not have the opportunity to mate with any other dogs. Remember that oestrus (heat) will continue for another few days.
Should I alter her food?
It is important the bitch is in good condition before she is mated, neither too fat or too thin. Prior to mating it is often worth having a veterinary check up and discuss any concerns at that time.
After mating food intake should not normally be increased during the first two thirds of pregnancy, i.e. until approximately six weeks after mating. If a complete diet is being fed there is no need to use additional vitamin or mineral supplements. There is evidence that over use of these particularly, in the large and giant breeds, can have adverse effects.
What do I do after the sixth week?
After the 6th week food intake should be gradually increased and high energy, low bulk foods are useful in order that the bitch is adequately nourished without too much bulk. As the foetuses increase in size, abdominal pressure increases and therefore smaller meals, fed more often, are helpful.
During the last three weeks food intake can be increased by up to one and a half times the normal level giving small meals more frequently.
How can I be certain if my bitch is pregnant?
Positive pregnancy diagnosis in the bitch can be extremely difficult.
Ultrasound or blood test is today the method of choice. Depending on the equipment, positive diagnosis can be made from about three weeks onwards. Most scans from about 28 days onwards are reliable. However any estimate of the number of puppies should be treated with caution. Ultrasound is not very reliable in this respect.
X-rays are relatively accurate during the last two weeks of pregnancy.
Should I change her routine as pregnancy advances?
As pregnancy progresses intra abdominal pressure increases together with food requirements. Therefore the number of meals rather than the quantity per meal has to be increased. Exercise most bitches determine themselves. This depends on the number of puppies and the amount of intra abdominal pressure. Do not over exercise. Check for any discharges etc and if at all concerned, do not hesitate to contact your vet.