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Dog Pregnancy
In order for a Female dog to become pregnant She must enter into a heat cycle and be inseminated (either naturally or artifically) by a males sperm during one of Her fertile days (usually 10-14 days after the first onset of blood). The Average age for the first heat to occur is 6 months. Larger Dogs may not go into heat until up to 18 months. A Female dog should never be bred on Her first heat. Most Professionals would agree females should not be bred until Their 3rd heat or later.

Once the female has bred it is best to assume She is pregnant. There is always a chance She is not, but its always better to be safer rather than sorry. Count 63 days from the first sucessful "tie" (when the male and female become stuck to eachother) or 63 days from the first artificial insemination. Babies can safely be born from Day 58 thru Day 70. Before day 58 Their lungs will be too immature to survive.

During the first couple weeks of pregnancy, You dont really have to do much out of the ordinary. Of coarse as always She should be on a high quality food. She might be moody or tired. Let Her decide how much or how little She wants to do. Make sure She has fresh and clean water at all times.

During the last month of pregnancy, She should be switched to a high quality puppy food. Her belly will grow as She starts to show. She will lose some of the hair on Her underside. She will spend a lot of time grooming Herself. She may become very needy and want to be around Her People at all times. Excersise should be light and You should watch for Her to get tired.

During the last week of pregnancy, She may not feel like eating much. It is very important to keep Her strength up. You can add Chicken (boiled and deboned) to Her food as well as offering Her broth to keep Her hydrated. She may begin to nest by digging at anything within the area of Her desired birthing place. Make Sure You have a safe quiet place for Her to give birth. She could be nervous and You dont want to scare Her. She could hurt Her puppies if the situation is stressful. You should also start gathering whelping (birthing) supplies Get a box large enough for the upcoming family with sides high enough that several-week-old puppies cannot climb out. Line the box with blankets. About a week prior to the due date, begin taking your dog's temperature every day. Approximately 24 hours before labor begins, her temperature will drop a few degrees. A normal temp is 101. Once it drops under 99 You can usually expect labor within 24 hours. Catching the temperature drop will help you narrow the delivery window.
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