Pregnancy in your Dog

Having a litter of puppies can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, it is important to know what to expect and how to keep close track of the progress of your pet. With proper, attentive care, you can be confident that your pet will produce a healthy litter.

The first step to a pregnant dog is a successful breeding experience. Before beginning any breeding program, be sure that your pet is healthy by having her examined by a veterinarian. If your pet is healthy and sexually mature, begin to watch for signs of estrus or heat. Common signs are a swelling of the vulva and a bloody vaginal discharge. During this time, the female will also begin to sniff and lick the area frequently. Between the 10th and 14th day, allow your pet to mate. If using a stud dog, most owners will mate the dogs twice during this time period.

A typical canine pregnancy lasts an average of 63 days. As your pet nears her due date, it is important to begin preparations for a successful birth. During the last third of your pets pregnancy, gradually increase her food supply. It may be beneficial to allow her to eat many small meals throughout the day as her stomach may be compressed by the pressure of the babies. It is also important to begin preparing the birthing box in order to help your pet become accustomed to her new area and to feel secure. The birthing box should be large enough for your pet to move around comfortably and have low sides or a hole in the side for her easy access. Line the box with plenty of clean newspapers that can be easily removed during the birthing process.

As your pet nears her time to deliver she may begin to show some unusual behaviors. Some animals try to hide during this time, while others want to be continuously near their owners. It is important that you watch for and respect your pets needs during this time. It is also important that your pet has been introduced to and is comfortable with her birthing area before hand, so that she will seek out this new safe haven. As your pet goes into labor, she will start to strain and begin delivering. Delivery times vary greatly based on breed, head size and litter size. Consult your veterinarian regarding your specific pet. If a successful delivery has not occurred within two hours after your pet begins straining, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Most puppies are born within ten minutes after they are visible in the birth canal and are encased in a placental sac. This sac is known as the afterbirth and will either be delivered with or after the puppy. It is normal for the mother to eat this sac shortly after delivering each pup. The hormones contained in each afterbirth trigger milk production in the mother. After birth, the mother may also lick and nudge the new puppy somewhat roughly. This behavior will clean the puppy and encourage it to begin breathing. If the mother does not remove the sac from the puppy, it may be necessary for you to quickly remove the sac and stimulate the puppy to breathe. Do this by making sure the puppy’s airways are clear by gently blowing in its face. Gently rub the puppy with a warm towel to clean it and encourage respiration. If the mother has not chewed the pups umbilical cord, you may also need to assist her by tying a clean string around the cord and cutting it approximately an inch from the puppy’s belly. Remember that if your female dog appears unable to deliver a puppy or is in distress, call your veterinarian immediately!

After delivery, watch your new mother and pups carefully. Monitor the temperature around the animals and if it is cool, add a heat lamp. For the first few days the ambient temperature should be kept between 85 and 90 degrees, until the puppies are able to maintain their own body temperature. Be sure to closely monitor the mother to make sure she is producing an adequate milk supply and monitor the puppies to ensure that they are receiving adequate nourishment

Housetraining your Puppy

Congratulations on bringing home your new puppy! A new puppy can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, along with the fun, often come some challenges for the new owners. One such challenge is housetraining your new pet. However, with the positive tips in this handout, housetraining outside can be a quick and rewarding experience for both the new puppy and its owners.

In order to assist your puppy with learning housetraining quickly and easily, it is important that you recognize your pets cues that they need to eliminate. Most puppies need to use the restroom every three to four hours during the day and within thirty minutes of eating, drinking, exercise, play or sleep. Most puppies will also exhibit some outward signs that they need to eliminate such as, sniffing the floor, walking in circles, squatting, slinking, or trying to hide behind objects. Closely supervising your pet and being in tune to their body language will make the housetraining transition easier for everyone involved.

Puppies learn quickly and easily when a positive routine is established. When it is time to take your pet outdoors to eliminate, use the same path, door and elimination location each time. Speak to your pet in an upbeat and encouraging tone. When you have reached the elimination area, use a key phrase to encourage your pet to eliminate, such as “Go Potty”. This key phrase will become his cue to eliminate and will be helpful in times when you are not in a familiar location to give him permission to eliminate. Once your puppy has done his business reward him immediately with lavish praise and treats. It is important that you accompany your pet each time he eliminates; this allows you to make sure that he has done his business and to reward him immediately for his good efforts.[DFR::450515-10398130-cj|align_right_1]

Until your new puppy is successfully housetrained, it is recommended that they be kept on a leash at all times. This allows you to carefully observe their body language, behaviors and cues that it may be time for a trip outside. If you cannot supervise your pet, then the dog should be confined in a puppy proofed area of your home. This area should have a warm bed, food, water and area for elimination. Before confining your pet, be sure that he has been allowed to relieve himself and has been exercised. If your puppy does have an accident while you are not supervising him, remember, that punishment after the fact only serves to scare and intimidate your puppy at a time when bonding is crucial. If your puppy does begin to have an accident while you are supervising him, then quickly startle the puppy by clapping or staying Stop. Then proceed to follow your routine and then reward the puppy when he finishes in the proper location. Remember that with proper supervision and practice housetraining will be a rewarding experience for both you and your new puppy.

Destructive Behavior in Puppies

Destructive Behavior in Puppies

Congratulations on bringing home your new puppy! A new puppy can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, along with the fun, often come some challenges for the new owners. One such challenge is managing and controlling your puppys destructive behaviors. This handout will provide some tips, if your puppy tends to exhibit this type of behavior.

Puppies exhibit destructive behaviors for many different reasons. Most puppies are naturally curious about their surroundings and part of their exploration process is to touch, smell and, yes, taste their new environment. In fact, this exploration is normal and even necessary for proper puppy socialization and development. Problems occur, however, when your puppy takes these natural tendencies to the next level and becomes destructive in his behavior. These destructive behaviors may originate for many different reasons. Some small puppies may be trying to satisfy a natural urge to chew or teethe. Other puppies that tear up items, such as magazines, trash or carpets, may be simply playing. Puppies who become anxious when separated from their family members may also exhibit a wide variety of destructive behaviors.

The first step to eliminating destructive behaviors in your puppy is to determine the main cause of the behavior. If your pet destroys a wide variety of items throughout the house at different times of day, then the dog is probably exhibiting play behaviors. If the dog only destroys items when you are separated from him, then your pet is probably experiencing separation anxiety. If your puppy is between three to six months of age and is exhibiting new destructive chewing behaviors, then he is probably beginning to teethe and looking to soothe his sore teeth and gums. With each of these types of behaviors, it is important to analyze your behavior as well to determine if you are inadvertently rewarding the behavior in a way. For example, you catch your pet chewing on an inappropriate object and in order to distract him from the object you give him a treat. Repeating this action will solidify in your pets mind that chewing equals receiving a treat and, therefore, the pet will chew more frequently.[DFR::5032266-13565-ls|align_right_1]

After determining the cause of your pets destructive behavior, steps may then be taken to eliminate the behavior. The first steps should be ones that re-direct the pets attention to proper and appropriate chewing and play behaviors. For the pet exhibiting destructive play behaviors, this redirection may include more proper play times, exercise, training, and new appropriate toys. These new toys should have a variety of tastes, textures, sounds and odors in order to stimulate your pet and redirect their attention. One such example are the many good puzzle toys on the market today that allow you to stuff the toy with treats and allow your pet to work for its reward. If your pet is exhibiting teething behaviors, redirect its attention to appropriate outlets by providing toys with a variety of textures. It may also be good to offer toys that have been cooled in the freezer or toys that have frozen treats inside to ease the puppys gums. For the puppy that is experiencing separation anxiety it may be necessary to confine the animal in an area where it will not damage items while you are away. If the pup is confined, be sure to provide new and interesting toys and treats to distract the pup from your departure and separation.


If directing your puppys attention away from destructive chewing and toward appropriate areas has not worked then it may be necessary to discipline your pet. Discipline should be swift, humane and should occur at the time of the offense. If possible, it is recommended to use a punishment that will not be associated with the punisher, for example, a spray bottle, noise gun, citronella spray collar or clap. If you cannot confine your pet away from the area while you are not present to supervise, then it may be necessary to deter your pet by placing a booby trap. One idea is to place items that will make a loud noise and movement on or near the area so that when your pet touches or chews he will be greeted with a loud crash and flourish of movement. This attack will frequently deter your pet from further chewing.