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My approximately 6 week pregnant Shih Tzu has been panting…

My approximately 6 week...

My approximately 6 week pregnant Shih Tzu has been panting heavily all evening. She has sparely touched her food but will eat treats.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. We need to be extra careful with pregnancies, so we'll need to connect you with the Veterinarian ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?

She has been digging madly into the couch or bed which ever surface she is on.

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Answered in 32 minutes by:
1/18/2018
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20,441
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Verified

Hi JaCustomer,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

It sounds like your girl is a lot closer to delivery than you think. While the digging behavior is classic nesting behavior, the loss of appetite and discomfort is more consistent with a dog the day before delivery. Now a dog's heat cycle lasts about 3 weeks though some dogs have longer heat cycles and even what is called a split heat cycle. So it may be possible that she mated sooner than you thought and is in the final week of pregnancy.

Let me go over labor with you. There are three stages to labor. During the first stage the cervix dilates and contractions begin. Your female will be uncomfortable, restless, pace and pant. This lasts 6-18 hours. Your girl may be in this stage of labor already. During the second part of labor, your female's contractions begin in ernest. Her water breaks and puppies are delivered usually after 10-30 minutes of pushing. All puppies are born during this stage.

The third stage of labor is after all pups have been delivered and is when a dog still has small contractions to expell fluids and/or placentas from the uterus. You can read more about this here:

http://www.2ndchance.info/caninelaborstages.htm

A dog’s gestational period (pregnancy) is approximately 63 days from breeding. One way of knowing when your dog with have her puppies is to take her temperature twice daily at the same time each day as her due date gets close. Keep a record of this. A dog’s normal temperature is between 101-102.5F degrees. Her temperature may rise and fall during this time, but once her temperature falls below 99 degrees, she should go into labor in the next 24 hours. The temperature drop is due to a reduction in serum progesterone levels and signals that the dog will start labor within 24 hours. You can read about this at:

http://www.labbies.com/reproduction1.htm

I'd go ahead and take her temperature now. If it is below 99F, then she is probably in the beginning stage of labor. If her temperature has not dropped, I'd expect it to pretty soon.

You may also notice her breasts swelling during this last week of pregnancy and some milk leakage. Dogs will usually become restless and increase their digging and nesting behavior during the last week. You will notice an increase in her panting as well as a mucous discharge. You may also notice some abdominal contractions or rippling as her time grows closer. Do not be surprised if your dog is very restless and vomits as few times during this last week. Once your dog's temperature has dropped, please do not leave her alone in case of complications. As she enters actual labor you should be able to see her contractions and most dogs will begin looking at their hindquarters. An increase of licking of the genitals is normal before and during labor. Be sure and have an emergency Vet’s phone number readily available just in case of an emergency during the birthing of the puppies. Here is an excellent site about whelping.

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/dogs-faq/medical-info/whelping/

Some other signs that my dogs always seem to exhibit are lack of appetite, frequent urination and frequent small, runny bowel movements in the day before labor starts. Frequently my dogs will start looking at their rears when the first real contractions start.

Now I also want to mention that the last week of pregnancy you should be able to feel the pups moving around inside of mom. I usually just rest my hand on the abdomen between the ribs and hind leg and wait a short while. Usually a pup will kick or roll. If you can feel a pup moving, then she is definitely further along than you thought.

If you have any further questions concerning this matter or need clarification, please do not hesitate to respond. At the conclusion of our correspondence, your 5-star rating will be most appreciated, as this will enable me to continue to send quality answers to additional clients and receive recognition from the website for my assistance.

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20,441
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Verified
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Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Hi Jane, it's Jane with the Shih Tzu, Chloe, who was in labor last week. The Vet and I thought she was just 6/7 weeks pregnant but she had all the sign's of labor and sure enough she gave birth to three healthy puppies that night about 90 minutes after your email arrived. Thank you for the information and especially the links it was all timely and useful.
So when I adopted Chloe she was at the very tail end of heat and already a couple of weeks pregnant. Since she bleed 6 days after I got her I thought she was at the start of her heat cycle so now was experiencing a pseudo pregnancy since the vet couldn't feel any pups almost exactly a week earlier. Then I felt pups moving Monday night and we did X-rays Tuesday.
Anyway mother and puppies are all fine but Chloe is losing large amounts of her fur from all over her body. She has had hot spots in the past, she developed allergies 3 weeks after I adopted her when she was almost nine months old. A Cytopoint injection decreased her scratching by about 75% and the spots healed, this is different. Her hair is thinning out all over other than her legs.and head from what I can observe. She is on a food trail which changed her protein from chicken to salmon and chicken has been eliminated from her diet but it is too soon to see any effect. Her big change is becoming a milk machine for 3 hungry pups. I was alarmed by her initial weight loss after double her food and now I simply keep the food dish full with Fromm Salmon ala Veg.

Congratulations. One of my females also whelped on the 18th. I'm glad your girl is doing good. They all lose weight and it can take months for them to recover. A good food available all the time and fresh water goes a long way to helping them at least maintain a good weight. Thanks for letting me know the outcome. I do appreciate it.

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