As Winter starts to melt away, all the flowers & grass start to wake back up. Warmer weather ushers in Spring! And we all know that Spring ushers in “twitterpated” pets and the puppies & kittens that come next.
We have put together a quick guide on what to do when your pet comes home with a surprise set of additions to the household!
IS MY DOG IN HEAT?
True or False?
Dogs always bleed or have other kinds of discharge when in heat?
FALSE!! Your dog can be in heat without any noticeable discharge!
SIGNS YOUR DOG IS IN HEAT
Your dog may have heats once or twice a year, it depends on her. Unfortunately, we cannot ask them if they are feeling bloated or craving chocolate, but there are some signs you can watch for:
- DISCHARGE: this doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is usually blood-tinged
- SWOLLEN VULVA: you may notice that her nether regions will get puffy & sensitive. Sometimes this presents as EXCESS LICKING
- ENLARGED TEATS: when the body is getting ready for pregnancy, the reata get puffy too
- SHORT-TEMPERED: she may be a little snippy or short-tempered during this time
- RECEPTIVITY TO MALE ADVANCES: not every female is receptive to every male, but females do tend to be more receptive during this time
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR DOG IS IN HEAT
So your dog is in heat, and you do NOT want puppies, what do you do?
DO NOT ALLOW HER OUTSIDE BY HERSELF EVER!
This might sound a bit extreme, but we have been in the vet world for awhile. We have seen dogs tie through fences, around diapers, around butt wraps, and every possible way in between.
The ONLY way to keep your female dog 100% safe from pregnancy during heat is to keep her inside or on a leash while outside with you.
Yes, that means away from not neutered brothers/dad/uncles too!
Dogs are not people. Close family relations will not stop two dogs from mating. Even worse, the closer the relation, the higher chance they have of passing down serious health risks. Please, keep your in-heat female away from ALL intact males.
YAY MY DOG IS PREGNANT! NOW WHAT?
First off, congratulations! Everybody loves puppies. But, what should you expect when your dog is expecting? Here are some quick tips:
SHE IS GOING TO EAT A LOT
Unlike expecting human mothers (and I write this as my toddler is napping in my lap), dog moms-to-be do not care about their dress size. That means they are going to give in to their pregnancy appetite. Which is good! They need the nutrition!
We recommend feeding them the PUPPY FOOD that their puppies will eat. For example, a pregnant Chihuahua would be put on toy or small breed puppy food. This gives them the extra nutrition they need while introducing it to the puppies in a safe way.
SHE MIGHT BE SHORT-TEMPERED
Pregnancy hormones cause quite a stir, so it is understandable that mood swings come with the package. Dogs are the same way. They commonly can be clingy, don’t want their tummy touched, and are generally short-tempered while pregnant. Towards the end of their pregnancy, they will even begin nesting.
WHAT ABOUT VACCINES?
If your mom-to-be is already vaccinated, great! If not, it can be a little intimidating deciding what to do.
The rabies vaccine is always a killed vaccine, that means that there is no live virus in the vaccine. That means it is very safe to give pregnant animals! So yes, ABSOLUTELY give your pregnant dog the rabies vaccine.
COMBO (PARVO, ETC)
This vaccine is the tricky one and it depends on the dog. If this dog is an at-risk patient (as in she is around strange dogs, there has been parvo on the property before, etc) we usually recommend vaccinating. If she is not at-risk (a lapdog that never touches the ground) we may not. Please consult with your vet before deciding!!
WHEN DO PUPPIES ARRIVE?
Dog pregnancies usually last about 60-63 days, depending on the dog. First pregnancies usually come really early or really late. More experienced moms tend to come earlier the more litters they have.