The anticipation of a litter of new puppies is an exciting time for dog lovers. Whether you have deliberately bred your dog or she has got pregnant by accident may not be a concern, once you know she is pregnant, but you will still need to prepare for the arrival of the pups. If you have bred your dog, you probably already know the exact date of the mating. The gestation period for dogs is 63 days from conception, so if you know the mating date, simply count forward 63 days to determine the due date. For those times when you are unsure of the mating time you will need to do a little detective work to determine the due date of the puppies.
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Determine the period of time when your dog was in heat and try to pin point the days when she may have had contact with a mate. For most instances, it is safe to assume that if she got out for a few hours that it will be the time of conception. Calculate the due date by counting ahead 63 days.
Keep in mind that even if you know the date of breeding and calculate a due date, you dog may give birth anywhere from 56 to 72 days. Be prepared to monitor your dog closely as she nears the 56 day mark. Be sure she is safe and secure at all times. Suddenly giving birth exposed to the elements in the backyard while you are aware for the day is not the ideal situation for your dog or her puppies.
Provide a nesting area for your dog where she will be comfortable and can give birth when the time arrives. Avoid high traffic areas, as she will likely appreciate a little privacy when her babies arrive. Line the area with soft absorbent material that can be easily discarded once birth has taken place.
Prepare material to line the nest area once you have discarded the old bedding. Having this on hand ahead of time will eliminate causing undue stress to the new mom while you search around for appropriate materials.
Plan to be available when the times comes for birthing. Although your dog doesn't generally need any help from you, being there to provide comfort and support will be appreciated.
Be ready to assist your dog, if necessary. Keep clean wash clothes available to clean off new puppies if the mother is busy with the next birth or becomes over tired, she may need your assistance with this.
Offer the mother fresh water and little food after birthing. She may not eat, but offer a small portion anyway. Allow the dog outside for a few minutes as soon as she is ready.
Provide privacy to the mother and her pups after the birthing process is complete to allow her time to adjust to her new family.