How to Diagnose Pregnancy in a Chihuahua

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Determining whether your Chihuahua is pregnant is a lot easier when you understand the cycle of breeding, gestation and whelping. If you have been attentive when breeding her by taking her temperature to determine when she is most fertile and giving her ample opportunity to breed with the male dog, you should be able to predict her whelping date almost to the day. If you are not sure whether the breeding actually happened, here’s how you can tell.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen scale
  • High-quality dog food

How to Diagnose Pregnancy in a Chihuahua

Observe your Chihuahua closely. For the first four weeks after breeding, you will see little or no change. Some dogs will show early subtle behavior changes because of the effects of hormones. As progesterone levels rise, most will become more affectionate, although, conversely, some will be snappy and irritable during pregnancy. Be aware of her interactions with other pets and children if she seems snappy.

Contact your veterinarian. There are many things that can go wrong during pregnancy, from resorption to abortion and the death of a puppy within the Chihuahua’s womb, which can quickly lead to infection and death. Your vet will suggest a schedule of wellness checks for Mama Dog.

Weigh her after breeding, and starting at four or five weeks, weigh her every few days. By this time she should be showing some weight gain. Ask your vet to show you how to palpate for puppies--they should be easy to feel by six weeks, and may be felt moving. If there is no visible weight gain by week five, ask your vet about doing an ultrasound to check for puppies.

Watch your Chihuahua’s eating habits. By week five or six, her appetite will increase if she is pregnant. Let her eat a little more, but do not let her overeat. About this time, her expanding uterus will be pressing on her bladder and she will need to urinate more frequently. Increased appetite and more frequent potty breaks are clear indications of pregnancy.

Encourage her to get some exercise every day, although she does not need vigorous play or extended walks. Another common sign of pregnancy is decreased willingness to be active and increased need for sleep.

Don’t assume her teats will enlarge during pregnancy. While it is common for a dog’s mammary glands to fill with milk about week seven, some show no signs until the puppies are born. Between weeks seven and nine, she will be noticeably pregnant, becoming quite round or pear-shaped.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gestation averages about 63 days, with a margin of error of about five days. Dogs with small litters often remain pregnant for up to 70 days. Physical changes are usually more apparent and dramatic for the dog's first pregnancy.
  • Undersized or very young Chihuahuas are more likely to have potentially life-threatening problems during pregnancy and whelping. Do not breed any dog during her first heat, and get a clean bill of health from your vet before breeding her.

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