We’re all in agreement, puppies are the cutest! Dachshund puppies are especially so. Somehow the smaller the breed of dog, the cuter their offspring. Itsy bitsy little palm-size bundles of squirmy, heavenly-smelling delight!
If your doxie is in the early days of her pregnancy, you may have many questions. The first of these is obviously “when is the big day?”. If you know when your doxie was covered or when successful insemination took place, you can expect some new additions to the household 61 to 65 days from that date.
There are a few circumstances, which may influence the gestation period. There are also multiple other aspects of your doxie’s pregnancy to be aware of. Let’s have a look at what you can expect.
What’s the Best Age to Breed My Dachshund?
Your little lady matures sexually at around eleven months of age, or earlier in some dogs. Although she can become pregnant at this age, she is still a pup herself and it’s advisable to wait until she is fully grown.
Female Dachshunds typically experience about two heats (estrous cycles) per year. Each estrus lasts around 10–14 days.
Doxies are considered fully grown by the time they are about a year old. If you are planning to breed with your young lady, it is advisable to wait until she is at least this old. Additionally, it is recommended that female Dachshunds are not bred on their first heat. This is because doing so is associated with increased risks of certain health issues and/or a difficult pregnancy or labor. It is also advised that they do not become first-time mums if they are older than four or five years old.
How Can I Tell If My Doxie is Pregnant?
If your bitch has been covered, either intentionally or not, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for that could hint at her condition. You might fancy that you can see these signs within a few days, but in reality, you’ll only be able to get an idea once she is around three weeks along. Look out for the following:
Of course, every dog is different and yours may well be pregnant but exhibit none of these signs. Once the pregnancy is very far along you will be able to observe her visibly distended abdomen and even (gently) feel the pups inside her tummy.
The only effective and accurate means of confirming a pregnancy is in consultation with your veterinarian. They will probably do blood tests as well as a physical examination to confirm the condition.
On occasion, they may experience what is known as a “phantom” or false pregnancy. In this event, she will exhibit all the signs of being pregnant and even believe that she is, but the opposite is true. That’s why it’s important to preferably confirm pregnancy through a vet.
How Many Puppies Will She Have?
As a rule of thumb, the smaller the dog, the smaller the litter. A female doxie will produce between one and six pups per litter. Somewhere in the middle of this range is the norm. Litters of six or more are rare and would only be expected in large (standard) doxies. It’s not uncommon for them to produce just one pup, but this usually occurs in younger dogs, or first-time litters.
For miniature doxies, you can expect the average litter size to be smaller than what is mentioned above. Usually between one and four is normal for the littlest versions of this breed.
The Seven Stages of a Typical Dachshund Pregnancy
1. Week One
The first week of pregnancy is when fertilization occurs, following one or more matings. You would not expect to observe any signs of pregnancy, though your mom-to-be might not be so keen on eating her food.
2. Week Two and Three
Implantation of the fertilized eggs takes place during this stage. There are no physical signs of pregnancy yet, but your dog may exhibit increased affection and experience morning sickness.
The puppies are beginning to grow inside the new mum’s tummy, but her tummy still doesn’t appear pregnant. She may experience some mood swings and a decreased energy level.
3. Week Four
The pups continue to grow during this stage. By now, they are visible on an ultrasound, particularly their little spines. You might notice that your dog’s nipples are slightly enlarged.
4. Week Five and Six
Big changes happen during this stage of the pregnancy. The puppies’ growth spikes significantly during these weeks. Your little doxie might be feeling a bit of normal pregnancy discomfort by this stage. Her abdominal area is now visibly enlarged, and an ultrasound at this stage can reveal the sexes of the pups.
Mom’s appetite will begin to increase. It’s important to offer her the best-quality high-protein food. She should be eating more than she normally does by now. She may also prefer and benefit from more frequent smaller meals. She could be moody and grumpy by this stage. Who can blame her?!
Make sure that she is kept comfortable at all times and minimize any stressful situations.
Now is the time to start thinking about where she will whelp if you haven’t already done so.
5. Week Seven
Your mum-to-be will start losing her belly fur at this stage of her pregnancy. Enlarged, swollen nipples are clearly visible in her distended and less furry abdomen. Her appetite might also continue to increase.
6. Week Eight
It is important to avoid any strenuous activity or over-excitement at this stage. This could bring on premature labor.
If you see some colostrum or a milk-like liquid around her nipples, this is perfectly normal. It signals that she will be giving birth within the next week.
7. Week Nine
It’s puppy time! Your doxie will almost certainly go into labor during this stage of the pregnancy. Make sure she has somewhere comfortable, safe, and quiet to give birth. As the birthing time approaches, she may quiet down and become very inwardly focused.
Signs that birth will begin within a few hours are uterine contractions and vaginal discharge.
Make sure that there is plenty of food and fresh water available should she require it. She may even snack while she is in labor and in between births.
Although the birth is likely to proceed without issue, it’s always a good idea to have the vet on standby in case you require their assistance.
Caring For Your Pregnant Doxie
The most important aspects to take care of during your doxies pregnancy are her diet, any veterinary needs (prophylactic or symptomatic), and stress levels.
Ensure that she has access to the best quality, high-protein feed, and fresh water at all times. Be prepared for the massive increase in appetite she will undergo while she is pregnant, and while she is lactating. Raw diets are best avoided during this time.
Keep environmental and other stresses to a minimum while she is in this delicate state. Exercise is important, but must not be rigorous.
Don’t be afraid to consult your veterinary specialist if at any time you feel concerned about any aspect of her pregnancy.
Doxie pregnancy is the most beautiful and natural process—it’s unlikely that your doxie mum will experience any problems. Within nine weeks, your home will be filled with little squeals, snuffles, and, eventually, yaps.
Consider yourself privileged if you get to observe and even be a part of the process of your doxie’s pregnancy, labor, and birth. There can’t possibly be anything more special than new life coming into our wonderful world.
Featured Image Credit: Iamjorge, Shutterstock