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Giving birth in the canine world is a fascinating process that results in a bunch of beautiful, squishy puppies.
The momma dog braves all the pain and discomfort to bring forth life.
Sadly her body takes a lot of beating throughout pregnancy and nursing her little ones.
From the expansion of her little belly to having her teats pulled in all directions by hungry puppies, the bitch’s body will change in more ways than one.
The most visible sign of giving birth is saggy teats and belly. Bitches also lose or gain weight a lot after nursing puppies.
Whether you want a show dog or one that has a tightened body for esthetics, you must wonder how the dog can get back in shape after delivering puppies.
Well, I am here to answer all your questions including how fast the pooch takes to spring back in shape, putting weight on her, and more.
Let’s begin with how to get a dog back in shape…
Here are 6 ways you can leverage to get your dog back in shape after having puppies:
One of the most effective ways to tighten up a bitch after birth is to exercise her.
The dog’s breast glands, ligaments, and fat cells may not really benefit from physical activity but the muscles below her breasts certainly will.
When the muscles are fixed, they give the nipples a tight appearance which is what you are after.
You can begin walking your dog as early as 24-48 hours after giving birth.
Let the momma dog lick her puppies and get them settled in and then if she is willing, go for a walk or play a game of fetch with her.
The operative word is “if”. Most of the bitches don’t really like to leave their young a day or two after giving birth.
Show the girl a leash and if she shows a willingness to join you on a short, go ahead and do just that.
You might want to keep her around the home in case she suddenly misses her litter. Also, maintain shorter exercises at first and increase gradually.
After weaning, feel free to put her back to her pre-puppy exercises or something more intense to firm her up.
Exercise also takes care of excessive weight gain during nursing, so that’s a plus.
2. Be Intentional With Her Diet
Diet plays a key role when it comes to the physique of a bitch.
For a dog that has gained too many pounds, cutting back on the calories is necessary. In this case, reduce the frequency of the meals and offer low-calorie foods such as vegetables and lean meats.
On the other hand, if the dog is too thin, you might want to increase her calorie intake and the frequency of her meals.
Consider increasing the amount of food and water that she consumes by up to 4 times what she used to consume before she gave birth. The size of the litter should dictate the amount of food and water you should give her.
And don’t forget to provide your pup with doggy multivitamins. Multivitamins will provide her the proper amount of nutrients that she needs to help her body recover and stay in shape again.
Most importantly, talk with a vet or a reputable canine nutritionist about the individual diet needs of your nursing dog as it can vary from one breed to another.
3. Maintain Good Hygiene
Consider giving your dog a sanitary cut if she has long fur.
Cut the long hair around her mammary glands, tail, and hind legs.
You should also keep her whelping box clean—free from soiled materials. If possible, invest in a washable whelping pad that you can change regularly. This way, you will keep her and her pups from infections.
If your pup continues to discharge lochia (or mucus-like and bloody fluids) in the following weeks after giving birth, get her doggy diapers so that she doesn’t soil the whelping box.
This can go a long way in keeping everyone comfortable, dry, happy, and in top shape.
4. Keep an Eye on Her Teats
With several puppies sucking her nipples, there are high chances that they can become sore, inflamed, and painful.
Watch out for signs of heat, swelling, redness, inflammations, discolorations, cracking, hardness, or pain.
The dog’s milk should also be white and of normal consistency—not thickening or turning red, green, pink, yellow, etc. If you notice any of these signs, take her to the vet immediately. Learn more here: What Color is Dog Breast Milk?
The above-mentioned signs may be an indication of mastitis, which is a bacterial infection of the mammary glands. It develops fast and becomes serious just as fast—sometimes to the point of death if not treated early.
Additionally, a dog with mastitis will not want to feed her puppies, which implies that the puppies will go hungry.
5. Watch out for signs of Milk fever
Besides mastitis, watch out for symptoms of eclampsia or milk fever. These include panting, anxiety, elevated temperatures, muscle tremors, whining, and dilated pupils among others.
If left untreated, this condition can cause convulsions, limb rigidity, and even death. Take your dog to the vet immediately you suspect that she has eclampsia.
6. House the Dog in a Quiet, Stress-Free Environment
As your pup recovers from delivery, it is important that she avoids any form of stress.
As such, keep people and other dogs away from her and the puppies so that she can gain her strength fast.
The more time you allow the dog to relax, the less stressed she will be and the faster she will get in shape.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Get Back To Normal After Having Puppies?
Like humans, dogs assume normalcy at different times after giving birth to puppies.
Some tighten up and achieve their pre-baby weight a few weeks after delivery while others take longer. Another group remains saggy for the rest of their lives.
There are a few factors that come into play when it comes to how fast a momma dog gets back to normal after giving birth. They include the following:
I. Size of Litter
A bitch with two puppies in a litter has a higher chance of bouncing back in shape quicker than one with many puppies.
Many babies stretch the abdominal muscles as well as the teats, making the recovery process slow at best and impossible at worst.
II. Number of Times the Dog Has Given Birth
Although it doesn’t happen in all cases, a bitch that just gave birth for the first time will spring back in shape faster than the one who is doing it for the 10th time.
The latter has experienced more stretching and pulling than the former and will need more time for her body to catch up after birth.
Older pups understandably need more time to tighten their bodies after birth than younger pups.
Some dog breeds, especially big-bodied ones, take significantly longer to get back in action after having puppies.
V. Care after Birth
Females that are fed well and exercised will take a shorter time to get back to normal after birth than those that aren’t well-cared for.
Will Dogs’ Nipples Go Back To Normal?
After weaning puppies, most dogs will have their teats go back to the way they looked before giving birth. This happens because the body no longer produces milk making the teats shrink back.
However, as mentioned before, different dogs respond differently to the reproduction process.
Some will assume their pre-puppy appearance a few weeks after weaning. In this case, you’d have to look closely to know that the bitch has given birth.
Others will get there after a long time. This is especially true for older dogs, those with big litter sizes, and bitches that have nursed many times before.
There are instances where, no matter what you do, the nipples will remain saggy for life. This happens to a small portion of doggies.
Despite cutting back on their food and training them hard, the sagginess will stick around forever.
If this happens to your doggie, just embrace your pet and appreciate her for bringing forth life.
How Can I Fatten My Dog Up After Having Puppies?
Giving birth and nursing puppies demands a lot from the momma dog.
Sometimes her body doesn’t get enough nutrients stimulating it to draw from the fat reserves. This alone causes incredible weight loss.
Then there’s the physically draining task of watching over the little ones.
Fortunately, you can facilitate weight gain on the dog by doing any of the following:
- Feed Puppy Food: Puppy food is high in calories compared to adult dog food. When looking to fatten your doggie, one of the best foods to offer her is puppy food.
- Increase the Meal Frequency: To help your dog consume more food, simply increase the frequency of her meals. If possible, offer a full plate of her favorite foods all day and let her feed whenever she pleases.
- Offer Fatty Treats: Weight-increasing doggie treats are also a great way to put weight on your doggie. Le your doggie have enough of those throughout the day to facilitate weight gain.
Does Having Puppies Shorten a Dog’s Life?
According to Science Daily, spayed and neutered dogs may live longer than their counterparts.
The study discovered that the average lifespan for spayed/neutered pooches is 9.4 years while that of unspayed and unneutered doggies is 7.9 years.
When you keep your dog intact, you increase her chance of suffering trauma and infection. Hormones including progesterone and testosterone may suppress the immune system increasing the risk of infection.
PetMD agrees that not spaying and neutering is one way to shorten the dog’s lifespan. Besides increasing the risk of trauma and infection, bitches could develop mammary cancer during each heat cycle.
All this is to say that a dog that has puppies may have a shortened life than one that is spayed earlier on.
If not for the aforementioned health risks, the very act of carrying puppies in the belly and nursing them can take a toll on the pup’s mental health.
If complications arise during labor, the dog may suffer even more.
Losing shape after giving birth is a common trend among all living creatures – dogs included. Some spring back from it and others aren’t so lucky.
While there are a few things you can do to help your bitch to get back in shape after giving birth, you should be prepared for any eventuality.
If nothing changes, find a way to accept it and move on.
Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.