By | July 11, 2016

Female dogs become sexually active after six months of age and will usually come into heat twice annually. So if you are yet to de-sex (spay) your female dog, you should know that upon the first time of mating with a male dog she’ll most likely become pregnant. A frequently asked question is: how long is a dog’s pregnancy? A dog gestation period takes between 58 – 67 days. The time between conception and delivery is relatively short in comparison to an elephant (600 days) and camel (400 days).

What Are The Signs That Your Dog Is In Heat?

When a female dog is in heat, you will see some physical and behavioral changes. Some of the signs include vulva enlargement, increase urination, increased appetite, constantly licking her lower abdomen and increased affection. The heat cycle lasts between 14 – 21 days. It is, however, very important to spay your dog before pregnancy to prevent some health complications such as cancer of the reproductive organs, and pyometra, which affects the uterus. If your dog eventually becomes pregnant during this period, some of the changes that will be seen on her body include enlarge nipples, decreased appetite, increased weight, and milk production few weeks before birth. Few days prior to giving birth your dog’s mammary glands become bigger, her appetite reduces, follows you everywhere, and starts nesting.

The Care and Feeding of Your Pregnant Dog

Due to the increased nutritional demands on a pregnant dog, it is extremely important to feed your dog with high quality food to provide her with the energy and nutrient required for growth and milk production. This diet should not only be provided during pregnancy period alone but also during lactation and until the puppies have stopped breast sucking. A high quality puppy food is often used to feed the mother due to it being high in protein and nutrients. Our personal favourite and recommendation for it’s quality and value is the Arden Grange Puppy/Junior Dog Food. Proper care and feeding of a breeding dog is essential to the health of both the dog and her puppies. Just as in humans, good nutrition plays a significant role in ensuring the birth of healthy babies. The same is also true for breeding dogs. Visit your vet for appropriate vaccinations regularly. In order to attain optimal weight of a breeding dog, evaluate her overall nutritional status.

Dangers of Malnutrition

One of the problems of malnutrition is neonatal puppy mortality, estimated to be between 20 and 30 percent. A malnourished female dog will lack sufficient vitamin, protein, and energy to support pregnancy. This can result in birth defects and impaired health for both the dog and her pups. In order to be sure of the dog’s nutritional status, a simple blood test can be carried out by vets to determine if the dog is anaemic and if there is a protein deficiency in her blood.

Do’s and Don’ts of a New Puppy

Puppies are beautiful and fun to be with. If given adequate care and attention, you puppies will grow up to be an admiration to neighbours and visitors. In order to ensure optimal growth and a happier life for your puppy, here are a few dos and don’ts to guide you.

Make sure you visit your vet at least once to get your puppies checked out. This will keep your puppies healthy and strong to cope with environmental factors such as cold and diseases. Don’t wait till you discover your puppy is sick before going to see a vet. Puppies are vulnerable to diseases and sicknesses because they have weaker immune system than adults.
Do feed your dog with food of high nutritional values at least three times daily until maturity. Once they’ve attained maturity age, you can feed twice a day. Don’t feed your puppies scraps and leftovers, a healthy balanced puppy diet is essential. Don’t take your puppies out until after they have been inoculated and the vet as advised it.
Quality puppy food is essential for puppies to give them what they need to grow. Transition to adult food should be between 7 – 12 months of age. Don’t feed your dogs with food of low quality. There are plenty of quality food available at reasonable price that will keep your dog healthy.

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