Pregnancy in a Shih tzu

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Pregnancy in a Shih tzu
The average shitzu litter is between 5 and 6 puppies. (Shitzu in spiaggia image by paologo from Fotolia.com)

Shih tzus are small companion dogs with long silky fur. This breed of dog is very common among apartment dwellers and are known for their lively, intelligent temperament. Before you think about breeding shih tzus, it is important to know more about Shih Tzu pregnancies.

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Time Frame

A Shih Tzu pregnancy will last for about 63 days, counting the day of the successful mating as day one. Because a female Shih Tzu is bred to a male for about a week to ensure success, it can be hard to pinpoint the precise day that she will whelp.

Identification

There are several signs that may tell you that your female Shih Tzu is pregnant. Shih tzus tend to show a marked change in temperament when they are pregnant, like switching from being calm and sedate to nervous and active. The physical signs start to show up during the fifth or sixth week, and they include increased appetite, a swelling of the abdomen, weight gain and an enlargement of the nipple and the vulva.

Size

Despite its small size, a Shih Tzu female can still produce between five and six puppies, which is the size of an average litter. However, litters that are as small as three are also possible, as are litters of up to 10 puppies. Having a large litter can lead to complications during pregnancy, and the mother should be watched closely.

Stages of Labor

A Shih Tzu's labour falls into three stages. During the first stage, the mother-to-be will grow restless and she may refuse to eat. She may hide in a dark place and she might have mucus discharge from her vagina. During the second stage, she may start shivering, licking her vulva or having mild uterine contractions. The third stage involves harder uterine contractions, grunting and pushing. The water will break and she will start to deliver her puppies.

Warning

Make sure that you are ready to take your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian if she has problems giving birth. If she is taking more than half an hour to birth a single puppy, take her to the veterinarian. Shih tzus are small dogs and complications during pregnancy are common.

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