It can be so exciting (and scary) to be expecting a bundle of joy. How about expecting 10? Having a pet who is expecting a litter is a fun experience, but one that is best with a little of your help and attention. Union Lake Veterinary Hospital wants you to be sure that you know all there is to know about caring for pregnant pets.
Care for Pregnant Pets
If you have a mama to take care of, know that she is going to require a little extra TLC. It is important to provide the resources that she needs, so that she can gestate and birth healthy little fuzzballs when it is time. Be sure to:
Provide good nutrition – It takes a lot of calories to grow and nurse babies! Feeding the mother-to-be a diet that has been approved for growth and lactation, such as a puppy or kitten formulation, is advisable. Your mama-pet, especially towards the end of pregnancy, may require small, frequent meals to combat the decreasing space available in her abdomen.
Encourage exercise – Gentle exercise is good for most moms-to-be, but remember to take it easy and watch for signs that an activity may be a little too strenuous.
Maintain good medical care – Mama dogs and cats need veterinary attention. Ideally, vaccinations should be boostered just prior to pregnancy (not during), with continued routine parasite prevention throughout. We like to see expecting mamas early in their pregnancy, so that we can confirm the pregnancy and address any special needs.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
It is important to be prepared for your new bundles of joy. Dogs and cats are pregnant for just over 60 days, so if you know when he or she was bred, you can have a pretty good idea of when to expect puppies or kittens.
Make yourself familiar with the labor process and what is considered normal for birthing puppies or kittens. Learning how to take your pet’s temperature can also help in predicting the arrival of a litter. Mom’s body temperature will typically drop about a degree from her average shortly before labor begins.
Thankfully, most pets require little assistance when they give birth. As an owner, though, you should know how to recognize signs of trouble and have an emergency plan in place.
Be sure to prepare a quiet, private, and comfortable place for mom to whelp or queen that is warm and free of drafts. You might also want to have on hand:
- Clean towels or rags
- A thermometer
- Clean thread or dental floss and iodine for umbilical cords
- A small food or postage scale
- Our phone number, in case of an emergency
Once everyone is safely earthside and doing well, we recommend having mom and babies examined within 24 hours or so. This allows us to be sure that everyone is healthy and gets a good start on proper wellness care.
Taking care of a pregnant pet might be a little extra work, but it is well worth it to see those adorable little bundles of joy. We are happy to help you on your journey, and want to be part of providing the best care possible for your furry family.