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The Dos & Don’ts of Caring for a Pregnant Dog

A pregnant, Jack Russell terrier mother dog resting comfortably on a cozy, plush white blanket inside her home.

When your dog becomes pregnant, providing proper care is essential for both the mother and her developing puppies. She will require extra attention and care throughout her pregnancy to ensure a healthy delivery. By following the below dos and don’ts of caring for a pregnant dog, you’ll help keep her healthy.

Do: Invest in Quality Supplies

Buying quality canine care supplies and equipment allows you to provide the mother dog with the best care during and after her pregnancy. You’ll need an ultrasound machine, a dog scale, and health monitoring kits. By having the right supplies, you can detect health concerns with the mother dog or her puppies early and develop a suitable treatment plan.

An Ultrasound Machine

An ultrasound machine is essential for monitoring pregnancy in dogs. It allows breeders to track fetal development and detect potential issues early on. This ensures that the mother and her puppies receive proper care throughout the pregnancy.

A Dog Scale

An underweight or overweight mother can pose risks to herself and her litter. A scale allows you to monitor the weight of the mother dog to ensure she is gaining an appropriate amount.

Pro Tip

You’ll also use the scale once the puppies arrive to regularly check their weights and monitor development.

Health Monitoring Kits

Various health monitoring tools are essential for closely observing the well-being of dogs and puppies. These tools include thermometers, stethoscopes, and heart rate monitors, which provide critical data on the animals’ health status.

Don’t: Neglect Exercise

Pregnant dogs need regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. However, breeders must take extra care to avoid strenuous activities that could harm the mother or her puppies. Long walks and gentle playtime are excellent examples of appropriate exercise for pregnant dogs.

If you’re unsure what amount of exercise would be the healthiest, contact your veterinarian for advice. They can help you develop a suitable exercise plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs and stage of pregnancy. All dogs and breeds are different, and their needs may vary.

Do: Focus on Canine Nutrition

A bowl of kibble surrounded by nutritious foods to add in such as salmon, bell pepper, eggs, lettuce, and a carrot.

A pregnant dog’s nutritional needs differ from those of a nonpregnant dog. During pregnancy, the mother dog requires additional nutrients to support the growth and development of her puppies. Breeders must provide high-quality, nutrient-rich food designed for pregnant or lactating dogs.

Consulting with your veterinarian can help you determine the best diet for your pregnant dog based on breed, age, and number of puppies. It’s best to gradually increase the amount and frequency of meals as the pregnancy progresses.

Avoid Overfeeding Your Dog

Although your dog is pregnant and may be hungrier than usual, avoid overfeeding her since this can lead to excessive weight gain. As you consult your vet about your dog’s diet plan, inquire how much she should eat each day and how much time should pass between meals.

Don’t: Skip Veterinary Care

In addition to dietary needs, adequate veterinary care is crucial for a pregnant dog’s health. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help ensure the mother and her puppies are healthy throughout the pregnancy.

Schedule visits before breeding, during pregnancy, and after birth to monitor the mother’s health and the puppies’ development. Your vet can also advise necessary vaccinations and treatments per their industry expertise.

Moreover, your vet can help you develop the ideal birthing plan for your dog. If there are health concerns with the mother or her pups, you may need to schedule a C-section. Pregnancy is a delicate time for dogs, and a vet’s professional guidance and support can ensure a successful delivery and healthy litter.

Learn When Puppies Need Vaccinations

When you meet with the vet, determine when the puppies need vaccinations to prevent parvo, distemper, and other diseases. Typically, puppies receive their first set of vaccinations between six and eight weeks old and booster shots after this. Your vet can schedule the ideal time for these shots to keep your dogs healthy.

Do: Prepare for the Litter of Puppies

When it comes to the dos and don’ts of caring for a pregnant dog, never overlook the importance of preparing for the litter. As the owner of the mother dog, you are who she relies on for support and protection during this time.

To keep her comfortable, you’ll need to set up a safe birthing area with a whelping box and puppy incubator. Additionally, stock up on all the necessary supplies so you can provide the newborn dogs with quality care.

Set Up a Whelping Box

A samoyed mother dog lying on a soft white blanket as she nurses her litter of puppies in a secluded space.

A whelping box provides a safe, warm, and quiet space for the mother and her puppies. It should be large enough for the mother to comfortably move around but small enough to prevent the pups from wandering off.

As you set up the whelping box, ensure you do so in a secluded area away from other pets and household members. Additionally, the mother dog should be able to easily enter and exit the area as she pleases.

Pro Tip

Forbidding other pets from entering the space is essential since the mother dog needs to know that this area is solely for her and her puppies. She needs to feel safe and stress-free during labor and nursing.

Have a Puppy Incubator

A puppy incubator provides a controlled environment for newborn puppies, supporting their survival and growth. This equipment maintains ideal temperature and humidity levels, which are crucial for the well-being of fragile pups.

You may need to rely on a puppy incubator if the mother cannot care for her puppies or if any health concerns require specialized care. For example, if the mother dog delivers her puppies prematurely, you may need to keep them in a puppy incubator until they are strong enough to stay with their mother.

Pro Tip

At, you can purchase high-grade puppy incubators to provide intensive care.

Stock Up on Supplies

Preparing for a litter of puppies means having all the necessary supplies ready before they arrive. These include puppy formula, bottles, and nursing blankets. Having these items on hand lets you provide immediate care and support to any newborn or struggling puppies.

Puppy Formula

Puppy formula is critical in the first few weeks of a puppy’s life, especially if the mother dog does not produce enough milk or cannot nurse. Proper nutrition ensures puppies grow strong and healthy, meeting their developmental milestones.

Nursing Bottles and Blankets

Newborn puppies may need additional support to feed, stay warm, and feel safe. Nursing bottles and blankets allow for proper feeding and temperature regulation, ensuring the puppies’ well-being.

Caring for a pregnant dog requires preparation, proper care, and attention to detail. At, we offer high-quality canine care supplies and equipment to help you provide the best care for your pregnant dog. As responsible pet owners, we must ensure that our canine companions receive the best possible care during pregnancy and beyond.


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