Surprise! My Dog Is Pregnant!!

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I’ve been asked to talk about some general tips, if you find yourself with a pregnant pup.

WARNING: Graphic details!

The first thing to be considered when you find that your pup is expecting is: to ask yourself honestly whether you are willing to keep and care for the pups. Are you financially able to provide food or medical care for the puppies should an issue arise? Are you able to commit to the time and energy it takes in caring for multiple puppies until they are adopted? Your expecting dog should do most, if not all of the work, however there are times when a human being has to step in and take over care. It is especially important during these young months of a puppies life, to adequately socialize them. Anything a child, human being, cat, or other dog will do- can drastically shape the way the puppies view their new world. So it is important to show much love and comapssion during this time, to help raise loving, accepting, and well-balanced future pets. If for any reason, you can not, will not, or are unable to care for the new puppies- it is very important they be surrendered to your local animal shelter. Animal shelters actually are very appreciative when a person is upfront, right at or after the pregnancy, and not some time later when an animals health is at risk.

Chose an enclosed area of the house for your expecting mother to have the puppies; a seperate room or even a spacious closet floor. It is important to provide her with this space and privacy, to ensure safety of her, her newborns, and anyone else in the household. A private space will help reduce the intense stress of giving birth as well.

Additionally, a whelping box is an essential tool as well. These help to contain all the rolley-poley’s from finding themselves in harms way, and also acts as more security for the mother. A whelping box doesn’t have to be a fancy item either. It is okay to use anything you have around the home as a type of make-shift box; a shallow storage bin with towels down, for example. Be sure your make-shift box has no sharp edges or poses any risk to the newborns and their mother. Familiarize Mama with the new box. When her moment happens, we hope she goes to her box instead of birthing on your living room floor for example (which can be very messy.) Show your dog the box, feed her there from time to time, encourage her to sleep there, etc. You will want to expose her to the box as much as possible, so that when it comes time, it will be quite natural for her to go there for birthing. Keep the whelping box positive. Ensure that every interaction she has with the box is a good one. Making the box a positive experience can be as simple as petting her in the box or rewarding her (giving treats) for sniffing the box.

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During the birthing process, you will most likely see your new mother eat placenta. This is completely natural for the dog, and should not be reprimanded. Allow it to happen, as gross as it seems, because the placenta is packed full of essential nutrients which she will pass onto her puppies during milking, and also give her a bit of needed energy as well.

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Keep everyone away from your dog during the birthing process. Even if she has a beloved feline-friend or is bonded with another. Even the father of the liter should be kept away while she is birthing. This is important in reducing stress and ensuring safety for all. There will actually be a lot of commotion during this time, so having a “keep out” policy in place will prove to be incredibly helpful.

Why do I keep talking about reducing stress? Well, it is actually quite simple. A stressed¬† dog, can become an aggressive dog, quickly. The majority of dog bites happen because the dog was experiencing stress over a “threatening” situation they find themselves in. Therefore, do not put them in that situation. Give them space, privacy, and a sense of security. Ask any woman you know, giving birth is a high stress process! And it is the same for your dog.

Becoming hall monitor. It is important to be present while your dog is giving birth. In the event that an emergency situation arises, a person is present that can swoop in to help. Find a comfy chair on the other side of the room, and just watch. Do not interfere unless it is absolutely necessary. Above all, watch your dog during this time. She will undoubtedly experience fatigue, anxiety, and other ranges of sensations. Watching your dog’s behavior allows you to get a real sense of whether this birthing process is going exceedingly well or not.

Did I mention she will eat the placenta?? (gross!!)

Still-borns and Natural Selection. It is a thing in the animal world, to kill an offspring that the mother feels should not continue. A puppy with any handicapps, for example, an under-developed limb, would most likely be eaten in the wild by it’s mother for nutrients to provide to the stronger puppies who will have a greater chance of survival. (Dog logic) In domesticated animals, some dogs will simply “set aside” the new born. You will see it pushed out -away from the rest of the litter, refused a nipple during feeding, and left out in the cold. Check out this puppy and see if there is any issue that can be fixed with medical care. If your mother is rejecting a puppy, you will most likely have to take over care. Syringe feeding and bathing are some examples of types of care.

If you notice your dog “going after” a puppy, seeming aggressive towards a recently birthed pup, she may be having a still-born. It is natural for the mother to try to stimulate the still-born’s heart. She achieves this by vigorous licking, poking, even dragging and gently flopping around. Allow your dog to revive her puppy. Given a sensible amount of time, you may need to take over and vigourously but gently rub the puppy. The dogs heart is located in the chest cavity between the front legs (relatively speaking, the “armpit” range.) So gently, rapidly rub the chest area to stimulate a heart beat.

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German Shepherd Hybrid in early pregnancy. In early stages of pregnancy your dog will simply seem slightly “fatter” in the stomach.

Slowly reintroduce any children or other pets after the liter has arrived. Imagine if you were sick in the hospital, tired, feeling “off”- would you want a huge rush of friends and family barging in your room at once? Maybe! But it is wiser to go about reintroducing slowly. Limit the time others spend with the new Mama and babies. Monitor the time spent, to ensure safety to all. A mother dog can be protective, and sometimes dangerous.

Finally, ensure Mama’s recovery.¬†Make sure your dog has plenty of water and food, and is comfortable in her new area. She will get uncomfortable being mostly laid down while the puppies eat or sleep. She will also be quite tired after giving birth. Make sure she is as comfortable as possible, eating, drinking, and making trips to the bathroom. She will not leave the puppies willingly at first so be aware that some challenges may arise, such as bathroom time.

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Here’s to a healthy new pack! And remember, these tips are very general. If you need to know more or have a specific question regarding your dog’s pregnancy, please consult a veterinarian for professional advice.

For those of us that live in a region with kill shelters and are hesitant to reach out, click on this link here that can offer low-cost spay/neuter programs around the continental U.S.

Also, the Humane Society of the United States has another search option when trying to find low-cost spay/neuter; as well as helpful information for finding providers of low cost pet medications and so much more!

UPDATE:

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German Shepherd Hybrid “Emma” had her litter of 8!

The Ragdoll

 

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8 month old Ragdoll kitten “Luna Baby”

HISTORY

The Ragdoll cat is an American breed developed by a woman named Ann Baker. The cross of a Birman cat and White Angora lead to the first litter of Ragdolls. The breed was not officially named “Ragdoll” until 1965. To prevent inbreeding, many Ragdolls were mixed with other breeds such as the Burmese and Persian.

APPEARANCE

Ragdolls vary in appearance. Their coats come in bi-colored, Van, Mitted, and Colorpoint patterns with varying colors including: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, and cream. Their coats are medium to long and do not possess an undercoat as do many other cat breeds. This results in a silky, heavy top coat; which are prone to matting unless groomed regularly. Another interesting feature of this cat is that their coats may change slightly in color until they reach their adulthood.

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One of the most obvious characteristics of the Ragdoll is their size. Alongside the Maine Coon, Ragdolls develop into very large cats. They are slow to grow, with most reaching true adulthood and maturity between the ages of 2 to 5 years of age. This breed can grow to weigh anywhere from 12 to 20 pounds.

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Ragdolls have a very silky, dense top coat.

Another marvelous trait of a Ragdoll are their beautifully sharp blue eyes. Ranging from a pale blue, almost grey, to a vibrant crystal blue. img_20180113_125617636

 

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8 month old Luna with adult 14-year-old domestic medium hair. Note the size.

TEMPERMENT

The Ragdoll gets their name from their tendency to “flop” and go limp when being handled. They earn the description of being “dog-like” while they tend to follow their human around the house, greet them at the door, or keep an ever watchful eye on them. Ragdolls even come when called and some even play fetch! Furthermore, if they find a suitable canine match, these cats actually enjoy being with their four-legged cousins and will often buddy up with them. These cats enjoy being in their owners lap, but also posses a very playful side as well, even though they generally are quite low-key. Ragdolls are very quick learners, so as long as they are given plenty of positive reinforcement and treats, there should be no problem convincing them to use a scratching post instead of your couch.

Ragdolls have a quiet, soft voice, and do not tend to vocalize as some other cat breeds. Unless it is feeding time or there is something terribly wrong, you can expect your Ragdoll to be a very quiet keeper.

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Asleep with her buddy
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Baby “Luna” and her nanny

Ragdolls are a very unique breed. Not only are they simply gorgeous, but they have such a desirable temper that they make a great fit for just about any household.