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Understanding the Importance of X-rays for Puppy Counts

When preparing for your dog's litter, it's essential to know how many puppies to expect. One of the most accurate methods for determining the number of puppies is through X-rays. Despite some concerns about radiation exposure, modern X-ray technology ensures the safety of both the pregnant dog and her puppies.

Why X-rays are Safe for Pregnant Dogs

In the past, particularly in the 1960s, there were concerns about the safety of X-rays for pregnant dogs due to radiation exposure. However, advancements in X-ray technology, such as rare earth film and digital X-rays, have significantly reduced these risks. By the end of the dog's pregnancy, the puppies are fully developed, making the minimal radiation exposure from modern X-ray machines safe for both the mother and the pups.

Benefits of Puppy Count X-rays

  1. Accurate Puppy Count: X-rays provide a reliable count of the puppies, which is crucial for monitoring the whelping process and ensuring all puppies are delivered.

  2. C-section Planning: Knowing the exact number of puppies helps in planning for potential complications that might require a C-section.

  3. Post-Whelping Confirmation: A follow-up X-ray can confirm that all puppies have been delivered, preventing complications from retained puppies.

Preparing for a Puppy Count X-ray

Before the X-ray

  • Fasting: Ensure the mother is fasting before the appointment to improve the clarity of the X-ray images.

  • Bathroom Break: Make sure she has urinated and defecated before the X-ray. If she is reluctant, you can use a glycerin suppository to help her.

At the Veterinary Clinic

  • Digital X-rays: Choose a clinic that uses digital X-rays or has excellent film techniques.

  • Positioning: Two X-rays are taken, one with the mother lying on her right side and another on her left side. This helps in getting a clear and comprehensive count of the puppies.

Tips for Accurate X-rays

  • Clear Images: If the first X-ray is not clear, request another one. The goal is to get a diagnostic-quality image.

  • Increased Exposure: Sometimes, increasing the X-ray exposure by 10% can help in getting a clearer image.

Why You Should Consider a Puppy Count X-ray

Puppy count X-rays are invaluable for several reasons. They provide an accurate number of puppies, which is essential for effective whelping management. They also help in planning for C-sections and ensuring all puppies are delivered safely.


X-rays are a safe and effective way to determine the number of puppies your dog is expecting. By ensuring proper preparation and choosing a veterinary clinic with modern X-ray equipment, you can accurately count the puppies and plan for a smooth delivery process. If you have any questions about X-rays for puppy counts or pregnant dog X-rays, contact us at We are here to help you ensure the health and safety of your dog and her puppies.

X-ray of dog showing puppies
X-ray of dog showing puppies


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