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My pregnant dog has chapped nipples

My pregnant dog has...

My pregnant dog has chapped nipples

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
We're not certain she is pregnant, but did go to a stud service. We are hoping she is. Is there a way to know for sure?
Answered in 16 minutes by:
6/5/2018
Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,311
Experience: Veterinarian with almost 20 years of experience with small animals, birds, reptiles and pocket pets. Previous owner of 24/7 emergency, 8 doctor practice
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Hi, this is Dr Hill. How long ago was she bred? Are her nipples bleeding or just dry and chapped?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Two weeks ago and they are just dried and chappy

Ok the soonest we can tell if she is pregnant is about 3 weeks via ultrasound. You can use bio balm or bag balm on her nipples to moisturize them safely.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions let me know and I will help you however I can. Also, before signing off today, please take the time to use the star rating system at the top of the page to leave a rating for me (bottom of the page if using the app). A 5-star rating is really appreciated as as I strive to give you the best information I can. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply so that I may help until you’ve received the assistance you need. Until you issue a rating, the website will not compensate me for helping you. You are still able to chat with me even after issuing a rating at no further charge on this thread.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Bag balm is okay to use and won't make her sick

Yes its safe to use. If she is pregnant and you need to use it while she nurses we usually put it on in between feedings and wipe it off before the puppies nurse just in case it deters them from nursing

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Do you know typically how much an ultrasound is?

It depends on where you live etc but anywhere from $100-$200 usually for a pregnancy ultrasound. The other option is waiting until 45-50 days to X-ray (cost is similar to ultrasound)

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
How do you know when she's done having the puppies? Does the placenta come out?

each puppy has their own placenta and should come out with each puppy. the only way to know for sure if she is done would be to do the X-ray before the puppies are born so you have a count. I will send you some information on the stages of pregnancy and what to watch for etc

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you! That would be helpful!!

Pregnant Dog Care

Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP

Date Published: 06/08/2003
Date Reviewed/Revised: 07/23/2017

Graphic by MarVistaVet

Are you getting ready for the pitter-patter of little paws? As with humans, you can minimize pregnancy complications with proper care. Having puppies may sound easy and it may seem like the dog does all the work, but that is not always how it turns out.

So our first assumption is that the litter is wanted (if not necessarily planned.) If the litter is not wanted, consider that there is a terrible canine over-population problem with some shelters in my area (Los Angeles) euthanizing over 100 dogs DAILY. If your litter is not wanted, please consider spaying the pregnant female or having a medical abortion. Spaying can be performed at any stage in pregnancy; abortion can only be performed during a certain period. Finding homes for puppies is challenging and there are a limited number of homes to go around, so if there is any question, it may be best to take this opportunity to spay.

Now, having covered that point, we will get on with the subject of caring for the pregnant dog once it has been decided that the pregnancy should proceed:

The female dog is pregnant for an average of 63 days.

Plan accordingly.

Diet

The expectant mother will gradually require increasing amounts of food to nourish her developing litter. A food approved for growth (i.e. a puppy food or a performance diet) will certainly be necessary during the nursing period and pregnancy may be a good time to transition into this new diet.

About three weeks into the pregnancy, she may experience a little nausea and appetite loss similar to morning sickness. This should resolve within a week, so if an upset stomach or loss of appetite lasts longer than that or is accompanied by listlessness, something more serious is going on and and you should notify your veterinarian.

Calcium supplementation may be tempting but is not a good idea. As long as the expectant mother is on a quality diet, supplementation is unnecessary. Furthermore, supplementation can suppress her natural calcium releasing hormones so that when she really needs extra calcium during nursing, she will not have the proper hormone balance to get it. This can create a very dangerous situation that could easily be avoided by not supplementing with calcium.

At around 30 days of pregnancy, bring the female dog to the vet for a wellness check up and to confirm the pregnancy with a simple blood test.

Exercise

Regular walking helps the expectant mother keep up her strength but intensive training, showing, or even obedience school is probably too stressful. Obesity is a dangerous problem for pregnant dogs and serious blood sugar regulation problems can put the litter at risk. Pregnancy is not the time for a weight loss program. Your veterinarian will help guide you regarding the optimal nutrition plan for your individual dog.

During the final three weeks of pregnancy, the mother dog should be completely isolated from other dogs at home (see below). This means no walks in public during this stage and no contact with housemate dogs. The reason for this is to prevent the transmission of infectious disease especially canine herpes virus.

Vaccination

A dog should not be vaccinated during pregnancy; there are sera in the vaccine that could be harmful to the developing fetus. Ideally, the female should be vaccinated just prior to breeding. She will be passing on her immunity to her pups in the first milk she produces (milk called colostrum) so we want her antibody levels to be at their peak yet we want to avoid vaccination during pregnancy.

Parasite Control

If the expectant mother uses a heartworm preventive product normally, she may continue to do so during pregnancy. All heartworm products available are approved for use in pregnancy and lactation.

Flea control is important during pregnancy though is more important after the puppies are born. It is important to use a safe product during pregnancy. To find a product approved for pregnancy and lactation see our flea product comparison chart.

Roundworms can be transmitted from the pregnant mother to her unborn puppies, and hookworms can be transmitted via nursing. This is a nuisance as you usually end up with both an infected mother and infected puppies, but fortunately there are several deworming protocols to control these infections. If you have concerns about internal parasites for the puppies, speak to your vet about worm control. Daily medication will likely be needed but it is possible for worm-free puppies to be born.

Isolate the Mother to Prevent Herpes Infection

Canine herpesvirus infection causes a minor cold in adult dogs but can cause abortion in pregnancy as well as death in newborn puppies. The best way to prevent infection is to isolate the mother completely during the 3 weeks prior to delivery and the 3 weeks after delivery. This means absolutely no contact with other dogs.

Around Day 40

Photo by Dr. Milan Hess

JUST PRIOR TO ISOLATION, IT IS A GOOD IDEA FOR THE EXPECTANT MOTHER
TO HAVE A RADIOGRAPH OF HER BELLY TO COUNT PUPPIES.
KNOWING HOW MANY PUPPIES TO EXPECT WILL TELL YOU WHEN SHE IS FINISHED DELIVERING.

Labor and Complications of Delivery

There is always the possibility of a problem with delivery and you will need to be able to recognize labor when it is occurring, what is normal and what is a sign you need to see the veterinarian for assistance. See birthing puppies for information on care during labor and nursing.

Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,311
Experience: Veterinarian with almost 20 years of experience with small animals, birds, reptiles and pocket pets. Previous owner of 24/7 emergency, 8 doctor practice
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Birthing Puppies

Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP

Date Published: 01/01/2001
Date Reviewed/Revised: 11/01/2017

Graphic by MarVistaVet

Prenatal Care

Preparing for your dog's labor and puppy care can be both exciting and fun; still, awareness of potential problems is of paramount importance. It is a good idea to keep track of your dog's breeding date so as to know when to expect what. We will first present some prenatal care suggestions but for more details, read specifically about care during pregnancy; you may wish to begin there.

After about 35 days of pregnancy, the mother's caloric requirements will begin to increase. In general, she should require about twice as much food as usual whereas, when she begins nursing, she will need three times as much food. The best nutritional plan is to buy a dog food approved for growth (i.e. puppy food) and feed according to the package; such diets are balanced and require no supplementation plus they typically have the extra Calories needed by the pregnant or nursing mother. Exercise of the pregnant bitch need not be restricted until after the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy. Do not supplement calcium as this can cause metabolic imbalances; also, excess vitamins may be harmful to the puppies.

Sometime around the 45th day, your dog should be examined by a veterinarian. At this time, the skeletons of the unborn pups will have mineralized and are thus visible on a radiograph. Your dog's abdomen should be x-rayed so that you know how many pups to expect. Ultrasound may be used to confirm pregnancy much earlier (after 25 days, the embryonic heart may be seen beating) but it is more difficult to count the number of pups using this method. A general pregnancy blood test can be performed around day 35 just to confirm whether or not she is pregnant but neither this nor ultrasound will tell you how many puppies to expect; only radiographs can do that.

A comfortable area should be set aside for whelping and raising the puppies. The bitch should feel at home here and should be able to come and go as she likes while the puppies must remain confined.

It is important that the mother dog be isolated from all other dogs for three weeks prior to labor through three weeks after delivery to prevent herpes infection. Herpes is spread by sniffing and licking between two dogs. Adult dogs rarely have any symptoms but the newborn or unborn puppies generally die.

The dog's gestation period is considered to be 63 days though this is not written in stone and a normal range might be 58 to 68 days.

Impending Labor

When your dog's due date is approaching, you should begin monitoring her rectal temperature. When her temperature drops below 100°F (normal canine temperature is 101-102°F), labor may be expected within 24 hours.

It is a good practice to know how to take your pregnant dog’s temperature as her due date approaches.

The First Stage of Labor

During this stage, uterine contractions begin. The bitch will appear restless and may pace, dig, shiver, pant, or even vomit. This is all normal and all an owner can do is see that she has water available should she want it. This stage of labor is long, lasting 6 to 12 hours and culminates with full dilation of the cervix in preparation to expel a puppy.

The Second and Third Stages of Labor

In this video, a Dalmatian gives birth.

Puppies are born covered in membranes that must be cleaned away or the pup will suffocate. The mother will bite and lick the membranes away. Allow her a minute or two after birth to do this; if she does not do it, then you must clean the pup for her. Simply remove the slippery covering and rub the puppy with a clean towel. The umbilical cord may be tied in a knot about one inch from the pup and cut with scissors on the far side of the knot. Be careful not to pull on the umbilical cord as this can injure the puppy. The mother may want to eat the placenta but this is probably not a good idea as vomiting it up later is common; it is best to clean away the placenta yourself.

Expect one pup every 45 to 60 minutes with 10-30 minutes of hard straining. It is normal for bitches to take a rest partway through delivery and she may not strain at all for up to four hours between pups. If she is seen straining hard for over one hour or if she takes longer than a four-hour break, a veterinarian should be consulted.

Expect some puppies (probably half of them) to be born tail first. This is not abnormal for dogs.

Most of the time nature handles things according to plan and there are no complications. The important thing is to be prepared and know what constitutes a deviation from normal. During the delivery, a puppy can get stuck either because of size or positioning, the mom can get too tired or dehydrated to complete the mission without help, or any number of unexpected problems can arise. Problems can happen during the actual delivery or in the days following.

Call your veterinarian if:

  • 30 to 60 minutes of strong contractions occur with no puppy being produced.
  • More than 4 hours pass between pups and you know there are more inside.
  • She fails to go into labor within 24 hours of her temperature drop.
  • She is obviously in extreme pain.
  • Greater than 70 days of gestation have passed.

It is normal for the bitch to spike a fever in the 24 to 48 hours following birth. This fever should not be accompanied by clinical signs of illness.

Normal vaginal discharge after parturition should be odorless and may be green, dark red-brown or bloody and may persist in small amounts for up to 8 weeks.

Problems to Watch for in the Days Following

Metritis (Inflammation of the Uterus)

Signs of this condition are as follows:

  • fever
  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • listlessness
  • loss of appetite
  • no interest in the puppies
  • decreased milk production

If these signs are noted, usually in the first day or two postpartum, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your dog may have retained a placenta or have suffered some trauma during delivery. Animals who require assistance with delivery are often predisposed to metritis. She will likely need to be spayed.

Eclampsia

This condition results when the bitch has trouble supporting the calcium demand of lactation; it's a particular concern for toy breed dogs. Calcium supplementation predisposes a bitch to this condition. Usually affected animals are small dogs. They demonstrate:

  • nervousness and restlessness
  • no interest in the pups
  • stiff, painful gait

This progresses to:

This condition generally occurs in the first three weeks of lactation and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

Mastitis (Inflammation of the Breasts)

Normal nursing glands are soft and enlarged. Diseased glands are red, hard, and painful. In general, the bitch does not act sick; the disease is confined to the mammary tissue. The bitch may be sore and discourage the pups from nursing; however, it is important to keep the pups nursing the affected glands. This is not harmful to the puppies and helps flush out the infected material. Hot packing may be helpful.

Agalactia (Not Producing Milk)

Milk production and secretion ("let down") is essential for the nutrition of the puppies. If the puppies are nursing but it appears that milk is simply not flowing, there are a few simple things to try at home before seeking medical intervention. First, make sure the puppy room is not too warm and that the mother has plenty of food and water and that she seems to be healthy in other respects. If these issues seem controlled, the next step is to determine if milk is being produced and not "let down" or simply not being produced as different hormones are involved in each process. Your veterinarian will need to intercede with treatment for the mother. If the pups cannot so much as get colostrum, that all-important first milk that provides immunity of common infections, they may need to receive plasma transfusions.

Most dogs are excellent mothers and problems are few. The basic rule is to seek veterinary care if she seems to feel sick or if she ceases to care for her young. Puppies nurse until they are about six weeks old and then may be fully separated from their mother. A good age for adoption to a new home is 8 weeks or later.

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