I just adopted a Shih Tzu dog that is pregnant. I have never owned a dog before. I need to know how to take care of a pregnant dog.
bitter0408 from Malaysia
The dog usually knows what to do. We have a pair of Shitz Zu's we aboslutely love them. We got them from a family who had a doberman that was using the male as a chew toy.
If you just adopted the dog, you should take it to the vet for an exam. He can tell you about when her puppies will be born and what you should do if anything. Be sure to keep an eye on her as small dogs sometimes have problems in delivering.
Be sure to take her and the puppies back to the vet for a check up and shots. Possibly it would be a good idea to have her spayed.
Shih Tzu's can sometimes be born with hernias or hair growing on their eyeballs, both of which can be easily fixed by a vet, but should be checked on.
Dogs are usually fine during pregnancy, but may need to be not quite as active as they normally are in the last stages. Play and daily exercise are still important. Since she's recently adopted, she's going through a stressful period, anyway. It's important to make sure she feels at home by giving her her own spot somewhere where she can keep her things and sleep. Give her her own toy. She needs to feel safe with you, which you can help by giving her lots of treats and positive attention. A daily vitamin might be a good treat to give her. Pieces of cheese is an easy treat idea, too. Dogs respond very well when you get down on the floor with them, either on your back or your stomach, since these are normal dog behaviors of trust and friendship. And, of course, make sure she always has plenty of fresh food and water.
When she's about ready to "pop" she's going to want to make a nest somewhere, probably where she normally sleeps. Once the babies arrive, this place needs to be peaceful where not a lot of people or other animals can get to it. It's a good idea to provide her with some place where the puppies can't accidentally crawl away from her, like a box or dog bed. Whatever it is, it needs to be small enough to contain the litter near her, but not so small that she accidentally lays on them. You'll probably want to line it with a towel or two that you can wash after she has the puppies, and every few days afterward.
It's okay to hold the new babies, but don't be surprised if she starts to worry the second one of them is out of her sight. As they get older, she will mind this less and less. The more you hold them and play with them, the friendlier they will turn out as adult dogs. Not to frighten you, not at all, but depending on the age of your dog and how many litters she's had before, she may have more puppies than she knows what to do with if she's young. A dog only has so many nipples. If it's a large litter, it can be a good idea to supplement their milk with a nightly bottle feeding of puppy formula when they get a bit older but aren't old enough to eat on their own yet. It's optional, but it can sometimes make for healthier dogs and avoid runts. We always try to help teach our puppies to eat on their own as soon as possible by hand feeding them tiny pieces of bread soaked in milk once they can start wobbling around. Once they can nibble from a bowl, you don't have to supplement bottle feed anymore. You just have to chase them down with paper towels constantly.
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