South Waikato Veterinary Services

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PREGNANCY AND PUPPIES


Female dogs will start to come on heat anytime from around 6 months of age. A dogs heat lasts around 3 weeks and during this time they will be attractive to male dogs. If you do not want to have puppies you will need to either spay your female or keep your dog away from male dogs - remember that often dogs can still mate through fences!


Your dog will be pregnant for 62 - 63 days. At 28 days we can perform an ultrasound on her to check if she is pregnant. We cannot count puppies using ultrasound, so if you wish to know how many puppies your dog is going to have we can perform an X-ray 10 days or less before her due date.


Pregnancy and lactation are the most demanding time in your dogs life. It is important to feed your dog a high quality puppy food for at least the last third of pregnancy and during lactation to stop your dog from developing milk fever (low Calcium levels). Do not feed your dog milk prior to giving birth (whelping) as this will make it harder for her body to mobilize Calcium when she is feeding her puppies.


When your dog is whelping it is important she is in a warm, dry, quiet, comfortable environment. If she is straining for longer than 20 minutes, takes longer than 2 hours between puppies, produces a green discharge, or has a puppy stuck it is important to contact us immediately for help. She may require veterinary assistance or even a caesarian section!


About raising puppies

When your puppies are born, make sure you check inside their mouth for cleft palates and then check their umbilical cords daily to ensure they are drying out without signs of infection.


Puppies need to gain 5 - 10% of their birth weight every day. At around 10 - 12 days the puppies eyes start to open and they begin to start hearing things. It is important to expose your puppies to lots of different noises and objects they will meet in the future.


At around 3 weeks you can start to introduce your puppies to solid foods. It is best to start them off on puppy kibble (biscuits) soaked in water. For more information on this please give us a call to discuss.


All puppies are born with worms so it is important to worm your puppies every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age with a good quality  all wormer. Some products are only designed for older animals so please check with us about what would be the best choice for your puppies.


At 6 - 8 weeks of age your puppies should receive their initial vaccinations. We recommend that they go to their new homes no earlier than 8 weeks of age as they are still learning important behaviour skills from their mother and littermates.


Remember that until the puppies receive their final vaccination they should not go off the property or socialise with any unvaccinated dogs as we do not want them to catch any serious illnesses.

 
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Pregnancy & Raising Puppies