Pregnancy Care in Dogs

Congratulations to all those dogs who are about to have their pups soon!

Initially you may not notice any signs of pregnancy in your pet but as soon as you do it’s essential that you visit your vet as soon as possible so that you can start to monitor their health more closely.

There’s more to it than that though so follow our pointers below to give your pregnant pup all the love and care they need before giving birth.

Feeding

From about the fourth week, it is recommended to change your dog’s diet to a premium quality dog food because of the high level of vitamins and minerals that supply everything they need to support the pregnancy. This should be continually fed throughout lactation and gradually reduced as the puppies start to wean at around 4 weeks.

Changing the diet should be done gradually over the course of a week to avoid any stomach upset, and you should try and stick to the brand of food they are used to. Alongside the diet change, pregnant pets require fresh water, as they are more prone to dehydration than normal during this time.

Exercise

Fitness and health is incredibly important during pregnancy and the fitter your pet is the easier she’ll find it when she’s in labour. We obviously don’t recommend strenuous activities like jumping over obstacles but a good walk, twice a day should help, as will swimming if she enjoys water.

Vaccination

Vaccinations should not be given during canine pregnancy; however, if possible, it is a great idea to have your bitch vaccinated just before pregnancy as this will ensure she has a high level of antibodies to pass onto her puppies during lactation.

Worming

It is important to de-worm your pregnant bitch to ensure that worm infestation is not passed onto her puppies. Always check with your vet the correct dosage and frequency is administered.

Preparation for birth

Towards the final stages of pregnancy, we recommend creating a whelping area and box that your dog will start to feel comfortable giving birth in. This should be in a quiet area of the house and she should be encouraged to sleep there. Your whelping box should be large enough for your bitch to stretch out, with an opening made in and out and high enough sides so she cannot jump over (to avoid her squashing any pups after birth).

Do you have any stories about your dog’s pregnancy and how you prepared for it?
Let us know in the comments below!

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Planning a Trip with your Dog

Our pets are an important member of our family, and we want to include them in as much of our activity as we possibly can! If you’re going on a trip now the weather is improving make sure you’re following our guide for a fuss-free journey…

Step 1. Vets Trip
Before setting off on your vacation, no matter how far or long, make sure your four-legged friend is up to date with their vaccines because new surroundings bring new threats to their health.

Step 2. Plan
In preparation for long car journeys, get your dog used to travelling in the car with you on short trips to get them used to being in a vehicle. When on the journey, schedule extra time for your canine companion to stretch their legs and have toilet breaks. Aim for a 15 to 30 minute break every 30 to 40 minutes, this will give them chance to release any energy and keep them calmer during transition.

Taking your dogs’ regular food is also recommended because finding the same isn’t always possible somewhere new. Pack dry food in daily bags for when you’re on the move to save time and be prepared for the possibility of being out all day.

Step 3. Check the weather
The forecast may not always be 100% correct, but being prepared for any less than ideal weather will give you the best advantage for making the most out of your precious time on holiday.

If it’s cold, keep the majority of the day’s plans inside or, do as we do and keep wrapped up! If your dog has short fur or is older, investing in a fleece lined jacket will protect them from the elements.

If you’re unlucky enough to get caught in the rain, plan accordingly for excess traffic or closure of certain areas.

Step 4. Find pet-friendly accommodation
Once you’ve decided you’re taking your dog away with you, it’s important to find out whether where you’re staying will allow dogs. There are plenty of websites available to help you choose a doggy-friendly accommodation, and provide loads of extra information such as local walks, pet-friendly tourist areas and pubs to help you plan your trip as much as possible.

Step 5. Dog care
If you’re planning some days without your dog, don’t leave them unattended. Unfamiliar surroundings can make your dog anxious and being alone can make it worse.

Step 6. Update ID
As you’re away from your regular vet, make sure to update your pooch’s ID and keep their health information with you. If your dog ends up lost on your trip, the quickest and easiest way to be reunited is by having current information on a collar and on their microchip.

Planning before setting off on your trip means you can enjoy your time making the most of having your dog by your side, so it’s time to buckle up and hit the road!

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Talking Pet Health with a Vet

Beth Timperley is a trainee vet from West Sussex. She sat down with us and talked about pet health and what we can do to help our furry friends’ day to day well-being.

1. What tips can you provide to our pet owners about pet health?

Stay aware and make sure that they are healthy on a daily basis. So, that means regular exercise and regular healthy snacks and meals. Other areas to keep an eye on, and your vet can help, include, arthritis, dental care, diabetes, ear care, obesity and vaccinations.

2. Are there things that can be done that maybe some people don’t realise?

The obvious things like keeping your pet’s mouth clean, visiting the vet, watching their weight, and feeding them healthy foods really shouldn’t be underestimated. If you do this regularly your pet has a better chance of staying healthy. One tip worth remembering is when the winter weather arrives with it comes the challenging conditions. Our animals like to roam as well and if they are doing so alone it increases the chance that they could have an accident.

3. How often should owners take their pet to the vet?

More and more vets are introducing pet health plans to encourage customer loyalty. However, there are two main areas a vet can help so it’s important to keep an eye out for signs. The first is that we can treat your pet if/when they are ill. And secondly we can help prevent disease (through things like vaccinations as I mentioned above). Aside from these examples it will vary. For example, a kitten or puppy will attend a vet regularly in the first few months for vaccinations. As a general rule we normally say every 6-12 months so that your pet can have a head to tail check.

4. How do you think pet health awareness can improve?

This is a great question because we can all learn and try to improve our knowledge. What I do think people do well is things like Walk Your Pet Month and other such awareness days. Our animal friends are companions and friends so it’s important that we do as much as possible to help them stay healthy.

5. Dental health is one area we have focused on. What can owners be doing on a daily basis to ensure their dog has healthy teeth?

If your pet is young try and get them used to having their teeth cleaned and mouth examined. You can do things as well, like making sure their teeth are clean and that they don’t have bad breath. As they get older and if the dental disease gets worse they may start to drool, put a paw in their mouth or have difficulty eating. Your pet will use their teeth for different purposes so certain teeth may accumulate tartar in different ways.

 

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, General, Pet Health