Even if you aren’t intentionally breeding your dog, it may be necessary to take a pregnant dog for a vet visit. Not only can a veterinarian confirm that your dog is pregnant, but they can also make sure she has a healthy pregnancy and receives proper prenatal and postnatal care.
There are many costs associated with having a litter of puppies, such as whelping crates, extra food, and whelping supplies. In this article, we focus on how much it costs for vet visits for a pregnant dog. This way, you know what to expect and can budget accordingly.
The Importance of Vet Care for Pregnant Dogs
Seeing a vet if your dog is pregnant is important for several reasons. In fact, if you wish to breed your dog, seeing a vet before she even becomes pregnant is vital for making sure that she is up to date on her vaccines, that she receives worm treatment and external parasite prevention, and that her body is generally healthy enough to become pregnant and carry a litter. A vet can also discuss things like the timing of matings, breed health checks, and genetic tests.
But even if your dog is not being intentionally bred, she can still become pregnant if she isn’t spayed. Taking her for regular checkups even if she becomes accidentally pregnant is still important for all of the reasons listed. If she isn’t healthy, a pregnancy can negatively affect her health and the health of the litter. Conversely, if you need to terminate your dog’s pregnancy, your vet can discuss the available options with you.
Confirming Pregnancy & Offering Pregnancy Plans
Once your dog does become pregnant, taking her to the vet can confirm her pregnancy. Even if you know she’s pregnant, a vet can still check her for parasites and other illnesses, especially if she develops them suddenly while pregnant, and treat her accordingly.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed and your dog is determined to be healthy, your vet can also help you come up with a plan to maintain your dog’s health (think diet, exercise, etc.) and provide you with information on how to help your dog have a safe and comfortable labor and delivery.
Help With Labor & Puppy Health
In the event that your dog’s labor doesn’t go smoothly or that she needs a C-section, your vet can help. Once the puppies are born, your vet can check them all over to make sure they are healthy and provide them with parasite treatment and vaccines when appropriate.
How Much Does Pregnant Dog Vet Care Cost?
The exact cost of vet care depends on what care your vet is providing and where you are based. Prices vary from clinic to clinic, so contact yours and ask for an estimate of costs.
We’ve broken down the rough costs into general categories based on potential reasons that you might be visiting the vet over the course of your dog’s pregnancy. If you’re just taking your dog for a prenatal checkup before she becomes pregnant, here are potential costs that you might incur:
These are all things that your vet might do at a prenatal exam, depending on when your dog’s last vet checkup was. Note that your vet may also want to do other tests if you have a breed that is more prone to certain medical conditions.
Once your dog becomes pregnant and you take her to the vet, your vet may perform more specific tests to actually confirm the pregnancy, in addition to possibly doing one or more of the previously mentioned things. Those tests don’t necessarily cost more if your dog is pregnant, but additional tests, such as bloodwork or ultrasounds, may also be performed.
Here are cost estimates for things that your vet might do if your dog is pregnant:
Bloodwork can be used as a health check and to confirm pregnancy. Ultrasounds and/or X-rays can also be used by your veterinarian to confirm the pregnancy. In some pregnancies, C-sections are necessary, especially for breeds like English Bulldogs and Frenchies, where more than 80% need surgery to deliver their puppies. A C-section may be planned or needed to save the life of the mother and puppies.
Finally, you’ll also need to take postnatal care into account. Postnatal care for pregnant dogs mostly involves giving both the mama dog and all the puppies a checkup and worming and giving vaccines to the puppies when they are the right age to make sure they stay healthy.
You can refer to the price list for a regular/prenatal checkup for cost estimates, but remember that you’ll be charged the price listed per dog for each test that is performed. That means if your dog has several puppies, as most of them do, you could be looking at several hundred dollars or even upward of $1,000.
It’s also worth noting that the costs listed are just estimates. Where you live and where your vet’s office is located play a big role in the cost of vet treatment. For example, cities and other areas with a high cost of living will have higher average vet costs than places with a lower cost of living.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
There are other expenses that you may incur after your dog’s pregnancy is over. For example, if your dog had to have a C-section, it’s likely that she’ll have to stay at the vet’s office overnight and maybe even for a few days, depending on the severity of the situation. Overnight stays or hospitalizations after pregnancy complications can cost anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the level of care needed, the length of the stay, and the treatment that your dog needs. Again, this price varies on a vet-by-vet basis.
Another cost to consider would be if you want to have your dog spayed to prevent any future pregnancies. Spaying a dog can range from $160 to $220 or more, depending on size.
Finally, you’ll also have to consider the cost of raising the puppies until they are old enough to go to new homes or for as long as you intend to keep them. This may involve buying extra food and paying for additional vet visits and checkups.
How Often Should a Pregnant Dog Visit the Vet?
In most cases, a pregnant dog only needs to visit the vet once as long as the dog and the pregnancy are healthy. A vet visit is usually only necessary to confirm the pregnancy, which the vet can do around 22–27 days (3–4 weeks) post-breeding. Prenatal and postnatal check-ups may also be necessary, but these occur before and after your dog is pregnant.
A dog’s pregnancy usually only lasts between 62 and 64 days (around 9 weeks).
Does Pet Insurance Cover Pregnancy?
Some pet insurance plans cover pregnancy and the costs associated with it, while others don’t. Most pet insurance plans at least cover checkups, vaccines, and medications for pre- and postnatal checkups. They generally cover emergency surgeries and overnight stays associated with those stays too, but some don’t cover C-sections and other costs that are specific to pregnancy.
Make sure to read the terms of your insurance plan and coverage carefully if your dog is pregnant or you’re planning on breeding her. If you’re looking into purchasing pet insurance, whether a particular plan covers pregnancy is definitely something that you may wish to consider.
What to Do for a Pregnant Dog
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for what to do for a pregnant dog. It just depends on the dog’s particular personal and health situation. If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, the best thing that you can do is take her to a vet for a checkup and to have the pregnancy confirmed. Your vet can help you come up with a plan for keeping your dog healthy during her pregnancy.
If your intent is to breed your dog, you want to make sure that your dog is healthy and that she has a healthy pregnancy by taking her to the vet. If there’s an emergency with your dog while she’s pregnant, you’ll want to seek vet treatment immediately. The vet costs for a pregnant dog vary, but many pet insurance plans will cover at least some of the expenses.
Featured Image Credit: Nina Buday, Shutterstock