But before you dog even gets pregnant, there are several important considerations.
If you are planning to breed your dog, preparation is key. Sarah Halbeck of Sarken Kennels in Tennessee has been breeding Irish Wolfhounds for nearly 14 years—here’s what she suggests:
- Make sure both intended parents are healthy.
- Make your vet aware of your intention to breed. “Each breed is different but all dogs should see a veterinarian before they come into season to make sure they are fit and healthy before pregnancy occurs,” Halbeck says. “Make sure they are up-to-date on shots, too.”
- Have prospective homes lined up before breeding.
- Have the finances available for veterinary care of the mother as well as the puppies. “If a C-section is needed, they can be very expensive,” Halbeck adds.
- Decide what to feed the puppies when they are being weaned. “You may also want to have some formula in case the mother’s milk turns bad at any time,” Halbeck suggests. “In this case, you’ll need oral syringes or baby bottles.”
Once you’re stocked up and ready for the pregnancy, you’ll need to know what to expect, week-by-week.
- Pooping/urinating more frequently
- Checking and/or licking hindquarters
- Shivering or panting
- Refusing to eat
- Scissors and thread
- Possibly oxytocin and calcium injection, on approval from your veterinarian
“It’s always a scary experience but also marvelous and an honor to be there for their birth,” Halbeck says.