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Few events in a dog’s life are more delightful than welcoming a litter of newborn puppies. However, like human pregnancies, a dog’s pregnancy can be quite confusing. As a dog owner, there is a lot of information that you need to know during your pet’s pregnancy—from pregnancy signs, potential dangers, nutrition, to caring for your pregnant dog. For instance, you need to know when your dog’s pregnancy is progressing normally. And if it has been over a month since your pup became pregnant and she doesn’t manifest normal pregnancy signs, you may wonder whether she is still pregnant, potential dangers she may be facing, and what steps to take.
Probably you are thinking…by 6th or 7th week, I will easily see signs that my dog is carrying a litter. Well, you are right but if it is your first time caring for a pregnant dog, your dog may show signs that you are not aware of. Besides, like humans, every dog is different and some may show more or less visible signs during their pregnancy.
So, how do you know if your dog is still pregnant at around 45 days? What are some of the most common 45 days pregnant dog symptoms to look out for? Well, let’s find out.
Typical 45 Days Pregnant Dog Symptoms
As your pregnant dog progresses through her gestation period, expect to see different signs each week or at each stage in the process. Here are the most common signs to watch out for at 45-50 days.
- Conspicuously, large and firm abdomen: Some dogs’ abdomen tends to “drop” and may appear quite pendulous but dogs that are very fit will retain their body profiles. You will also notice that the abdomen grows daily.
- The nipples start to enlarge and may get darker. You may notice some milky fluid discharge from the nipples and if your dog is long-haired, she may start losing hair around the nipples.
- Behavioral changes begin to develop. For instance, your dog may appear moodier or become more clingy and affectionate.
- Vomiting: the dog may feel to vomit occasionally and show a few signs of discomfort.
- There could a clear fluid discharge from the dog’s vulva at this stage. This shouldn’t worry you as it is normal.
- By day around day 50, you may start to see and feel the movement of puppies in the dog’s abdomen.
- At 50 days, your dog may also start looking for spots to nest and may appear a bit anxious and irritable.
But What if My Dog’s Abdomen is Getting Smaller by Day 45?
Shrinking belly by day 45 could imply two things:
- Phantom pregnancy
- Canine fetal resorption
Probably your dog was not pregnant and was experiencing phantom pregnancy the whole time. Phantom pregnancy, pseudocyesis, pseudo, or false pregnancy is a health condition in which unsprayed dogs may mimic the physical signs and/or behaviors of pregnancy. In other words, your dog will look and even act as pregnant but won’t welcome tiny paws to the world any time soon.
The causes of phantom pregnancy are not very clear. However, it is thought to be linked to an imbalance of prolactin and progesterone hormones as well as mastitis and hypothyroidism in some dogs.
There is also a school of thought that dogs tend to live in packs in the wild and all the females in a pack have the responsibility to nurture and care for the litters of puppies that are born to an “alpha” pair. It is assumed that pseudocyesis prompts a dog’s mothering instinct to enable her to help take care of the alpha pair’s puppies even if they are not her own.
Canine Fetal Resorption
A belly that seems to be getting smaller at this stage of pregnancy could also be a result of Canine fetal resorption. This is a biochemical process that forces the tissues of a fetal organism (puppies, for instance) to deteriorate and decompose. In other words, the enzymes in the fetus disintegrate while it is still in the womb, allowing for complete obliteration of the organism.
Generally, canine fetal resorption cannot occur after the 44th-45th day because of the development of the skeletal bones, which cannot get reabsorbed. So, it can only occur during the earlier pregnancy stages (when the fetus is still made up of only soft tissues).
Although it is a scary phenomenon for many dog owners, it is estimated to occur only in 11% of all dog pregnancies.
Caring For Your Pregnant Dog at 45-50 Days
Once you have established that your dog is still pregnant, there are a few steps that you should take to ensure that she remains healthily throughout the final days of her pregnancy, including:
2. Proper Nutrition
At day 45-50 days, your pregnant dog requires a diet that is high in protein, energy, and minerals. She also needs increased food intake for her growing fetuses. The only issue is that her appetite may drop at this stage because her enlarged abdomen may be making eating a bit strenuous for her. The trick is to give her several smaller meals throughout the day. Instead of giving her 1-2 meals a day, change the frequency to 4 meals a day.
It is also recommended to change from adult food to puppy food because your dog is in the last stages of pregnancy. Consider giving her puppy foods such as this High Prairie Puppy food from Taste of the Wild to give her and her blossoming puppies the best start. This High Prairie Puppy food will provide her with vital nutrients and offer her more protein, energy, and minerals than adult food.
There is a potential of parasites infecting puppies at birth. This is, therefore, the right time to make an appointment to your vet to have your dog wormed.
3. Prepare for whelping
To ensure that your dog is as comfortable as possible when giving birth, you should start preparing a place for her to whelp. Here are a few things to remember:
- The spot should be quiet and away from foot traffic.
- Since newborns need heat, the place should be warm enough. Consider putting a few washable pads or blankets to encourage her to nap in the box.
- The area must be clean
- Put a few of her favorite chew toys to work on as she rests in the box.
4. Slight But Consistent Walking Routine
Consider taking her for several walks a day close to your home to keep fit and help her avoid boredom. Beyond 50 days and the closer her delivery days are, the shorter the walks should be. Most importantly, always monitor her behavior—if she is not willing to go for a walk, let her rest.
5. Know the Litter Size
It is only around 45 days that your vet can perform an x-ray to help you know your dog’s litter size. Taking your dog for an X-ray at this stage will help you get an accurate count of the number of puppies to expect. This is usually helpful in establishing whether or not your dog is truly done giving birth. The closer the x-ray is performed to the end of the pregnancy period, the more accurate the litter count will be.
6. Visit the Vet Regularly
Apart from visiting your vet to help you with worming and X-ray, visiting your vet on a regular basis will go a long way in helping your dog remain healthy during pregnancy. For instance, your vet will examine your dog for any signs of illness and discomfort. And if your dog’s pregnancy wasn’t planned, this is the right time to discuss with your vet the potential measures you can take in the future to prevent more surprise litters.
The Bottom Line
If it is your first time to take care of a pregnant dog, it is easy to confuse symptoms of pregnancy with other conditions—even at the later stages. Hopefully, now you know what you should expect and do at 45-50 days of your dog’s pregnancy. Of course, the 45 days pregnant dog symptoms we have covered in this guide are not exhaustive, so if you have any questions or experience any issues, consult your vet immediately.