Photo by MJ Knoblock
Pugs have a gestation period of roughly 2 months, averaging 63 days. Their first litter usually has about six or seven pups. After that, they tend to have three or four. Going through various stages week by week, they prepare for the birth of their puppies. As part of the toy dog breed group, pugs are small, making their pregnancies more manageable than larger breeds.
Pug pregnancies are unique because they generally have a proportionately larger head than most dogs. Sometimes delivery becomes difficult due to the mother's hip size, and caesarean sections are recommended for the safety of the mother pug and her pups. This can be determined by taking an x-ray with a few weeks to go and can also tell how many puppies to expect.
There are clues to suggest that a pug is pregnant. These usually occur about three weeks into the pregnancy cycle. The most obvious one is morning sickness. Other tips include fatigue, a swollen belly and wider nipples. Pregnant pugs also tend to clean themselves more frequently. The best way to find out is to take her to the veterinarian to verify.
Gradually increase up to double the daily amount of food she receives in the fourth or fifth week, spreading out rations to three times per day and adding a little bit more each time. Mixing in a portion of puppy food with her regular type will add needed nutrients. Consult a vet to determine the exact amount, which varies with weight and gestational age.
Since pugs are built close to the ground, exercising becomes more difficult as her belly hangs downward. She should still go for walks, just slower and shorter. Too much weight gain causes less room in the birth canal and makes for a difficult delivery. Avoid contact with other dogs, especially if their vaccination history is unknown. While she may be protected against disease, the unborn pups are not. If she is due for shots, wait until afterward to reduce the risk of harming the puppies.
Stages during the last 2 weeks will include loss of appetite and breast hair. The nipples will swell and turn dark as they fill with milk. Within a week of birth, she will be increasingly restless and refuse food. You should prepare a whelping box at least 4 feet square and 8 inches high a few days before delivery to allow the mother a cosy, secluded place to have her puppies.
Checking the mother's temperature with a rectal thermometer will signal when she goes into labour. About 12 hours prior to birth it will drop under 37.8 degrees C. At this point, call the vet and guide her to the whelping box. Bring her water dish, as she will get very thirsty. If the puppies are born at home, discuss the best procedures beforehand with your vet. She will do most of the work, but may need some help.
- Pet Pug Dog.com
- Pugs; Filomena Doherty; 1990.
- Pugs: A Complete Owner's Manual; Phil Maggitti; 1994.
- Photo by MJ Knoblock