Labrador retrievers, care for the pregnant dog

Labrador Retrievers need proper care in order for them live longer and healthier. The same thing it goes for pregnant Labrador Retrievers. In fact, they even need special care since a lot of changes is happening as the puppies are growing inside her.

A dog’s gestation period generally lasts for 60 to 65 days starting from the day she was first bred. During this period, it is important to keep you dog in healthy condition to prepare her give birth to a healthy litter.

Nutrition. A pregnant dog can eat her normal diet during the first 30 days of her pregnancy as long as the food is of high quality. Do not add vitamin supplements to her diet since high quality foods have plenty of nutrients. At around six weeks of pregnancy, gradually increase her food by about 25 to 50%. Start switching her normal food to high quality puppy food. Feeding her smaller meals more frequently throughout the day is necessary, however, the foods should be easy to digest. Ask your veterinarian for advice regarding this matter.

Exercise. Take her for regular walks to prevent obesity that can create blood-sugar irregularities and delivery problems. Walking will keep her in shape for delivery but avoid obedience training or other activities that may cause her stress. Even if your pregnant Lab enjoys agility, frisbee or flyball, these activities should be avoided during pregnancy. But stop taking her out during the last three weeks of gestation to protect her from diseases.

Whelping Box. A couple of weeks before her expected delivery, prepare a birthing or whelping box. The box should be wide and deep enough to accommodate puppies four to six weeks of age. Line the box with newspapers, blankets, towels or old clothes. Secure enough clean towels so that each puppy will have its own clean towel during the birthing process. Introduce and get her used to the box about one week before the expected delivery.

Body Temperature. A normal dog’s temperature should be 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, however, a pregnant dog’s temperature will drop a few degrees about 24 hours before whelping.

Vaccinations. Pregnant dogs should not be given vaccines because some vaccines may cause abortion. Vaccines should be given before the breeding.

The time has come when you see your dog becomes nervous, restless, shivers, loses her appetite, vomits and has contractions. The vet must examine the puppies shortly after their birth.