Proper nutrition is critical for pregnant dogs. High-quality dog foods are key, and your veterinarian can help you choose which food is best. Many vets will recommend feeding a puppy-staged food to a pregnant dog towards the end of gestation. This is because puppy diets have the most calories per kibble and will help to easily increase your pregnant dog’s calorie intake.
You should check in with your veterinarian at least once during this time, usually in the beginning when confirmatory testing is performed. If there is anything that concerns you such as vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal vaginal discharge, not eating, trouble breathing, etc., contact your veterinarian immediately.
Whelping boxes are crates where your dog can safely have her puppies. These should be kept in a safe and quiet place, preferably dark or covered with a blanket for privacy. It should also be warm but avoid using direct heat sources as this can injure mom and her puppies.
In the event that labor does not occur 65 days post-mating, or if labor fails to progress, you will need to contact your veterinarian right away. Pregnant dogs who are actively pushing for more than one hour, have more than two hours in between puppies, or do not pass the placenta after three hours may require immediate medical intervention or emergency surgery. This can be very expensive, and so it is best to have pet insurance or at least $2,000 set aside for just such an emergency.
The signs of pregnancy in female dogs can be subtle, and it can be easy to confuse these signs with false pregnancy or illness. Confirmatory testing is the best way to know for sure, and if your dog is pregnant, be sure to set up accommodations for her ahead of time. This may also mean an emergency trip to the vet’s office if dystocia occurs, so make sure to have a plan just in case!