how long is a chihuahua pregnant for

How Long is a Chihuahua Pregnant For?

Taking care of any dog means added responsibility and dealing with a litter of puppies, even ones as small as Chihuahuas, is even more work than you would imagine. Many people who have never dealt with a pregnant canine and their gestation are unsure of the duration of time that a dog is pregnant. That’s when the question of “how long is a chihuahua pregnant for”, comes up.

All breeds of dogs, including chihuahuas, are pregnant for the same amount of time; typically around 63 days.

How Long Will My Chihuahua Be Pregnant?

The length of time that a canine is pregnant averages around 63 days and can range from 57 to 69 days. A chihuahua will fall in this average time frame since the breed of dog does not dictate how long she will be pregnant.

Does The Breed Affect How Long A Dog Is Pregnant?

Some larger or giant breeds are prone to carrying their puppies and giving birth a little earlier than average, usually closer to 59 or 60 days. This is believed to be caused by the size and number of pups in the litter.

How Do I Know My Chihuahua Is Pregnant?

Many people, especially those intentionally breeding, are excited and interested in knowing if their dog is pregnant once the mating has occurred. Unfortunately, there is no urine test for them to pee on like what human women have, so other methods are necessary for confirmation.

Blood Testing – Relaxin

There is a blood test that may be performed around 35 days after mating, which looks for the production of “relaxin”. This is a hormone that is produced by the ovary and placenta and is released when the female is pregnant.

chihuahua gestation period

The reliability of this test is not great, as many false negatives are seen when performed too early in pregnancy. If she only has one or two puppies, there can be a false negative as well. This test will also not be helpful in identifying the number of puppies.

Ultrasound

Using the method of ultrasound can be very effective after about 28 days after mating. This does not mean that it is a simple task to count fetuses. Positioning can make it very difficult to tell how many puppies the female is carrying.

Radiographs or X-Rays

Radiographs, more commonly referred to as X-rays, are the recommended and most accurate method of counting how many puppies a female is carrying.

Doing radiographs is beneficial and should be performed on all pregnant dogs in the last 2 weeks of gestation. It is important to have a rough idea of how many puppies the momma dog will have, that way you know when she is finished giving birth.

It is also important that the radiographs are taken no sooner than 47 days post-conception. This is because the unborn pups’ bones haven’t entirely been mineralized and they cannot be seen at the radiograph.

How Long is a Chihuahua Pregnant For? Important Care Tips

A pregnant female will certainly need some extra TLC. Ensuring that you know exactly what to feed her and what her activity levels should be restricted to is crucial. Also making sure that both dogs, the male and female, are healthy prior to breeding, is responsible and recommended.

What Diet Should I Feed My Pregnant Chihuahua?

After the first month of gestation, her caloric intake will increase quite a bit. It would be pertinent to provide her with some additional food, some veterinarians even suggest giving her puppy food for additional calories and nutrition.

Should I Give Her Any Supplements?

If you are feeding her a complete and balanced diet then supplementing with additional foods or products is not necessary. Providing additional calcium can be detrimental to the development of puppies and should be avoided.

chihuahua mother and baby

Some veterinarians recommend giving either a diet that is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids or a supplement to aid in milk production. It is still very important that you consult with your dog’s veterinarian prior to starting her on any kind of supplements, especially while pregnant.

Can She Still Play Like Usual?

 

Even though she is pregnant, she will still want to act like a dog and have spurts of energy and excitement. Many first-time breeders are unsure what precautions they should take when caring for a pregnant dog.

Allowing your pregnant dog to play and be active in the first 4 or 5 weeks of gestation is fine. But after that 5-week mark, it would be best to slow her down and keep her from going too hard at playtime.

Is It Ok To Do Short Walks?

Walks are ok, just in short distances once she is in the final stretch of her pregnancy. It is good to have some exercise after all. Just like with humans, a woman is more likely to give birth on time if she has some light activity, like walking, on a daily basis.

How Long is a Chihuahua Pregnant For? What about a Whelping Box?

When dogs, and most animals for that matter, are close to giving birth they will start to “nest”. This is an instinctive behavior that happens when she is preparing to deliver by setting up a designated area for labor and whelping afterward. Many breeders will use this same area as a place to raise the puppies over several weeks.

How Do I Design A Whelping Box?

There are several things to know when designing your dog’s whelping box. First, it needs to be in an easy to clean and warm area. The whelping box should also be comfortable and easily accessible for the mother, as she will spend a lot of time there over the next few weeks.

Ledge Or Rail

Having a ledge, lip or rail that surrounds the whelping box is necessary. The mother will need to be able to come and go as she pleases while the pups remain confined to their safe area.

Size

The size of the whelping box, while it may seem silly, is actually very important. We don’t want the puppies to have too much room or the mom to have too little. Ideally, their designated whelping area should be about 1.5 to 2 times the size of the mother.

vet holding a chihuahua newborn

Having too little room means she will be less comfortable, making her move around to stretch which can disrupt the warmth and comfort of the puppies. If there is too much space in the whelping box then the puppies can scoot too far away, potentially resulting in them becoming hypothermic.

Comfortable Materials To Lay On

The most ideal materials to use inside a whelping box are going to be those that are easily cleaned and disinfected as well as moisture-wicking. Puppies make a lot of mess, so having the area set up to be cleaned quickly and easily is much more convenient.

Avoid things like straw, hay or any other kind of wood shavings as these can cause irritation to the eyes, mouth and skin of the newborn pups.

Blankets, sheets or other soft material are nice to have, but if the puppies manage to wiggle underneath them, then they need to be removed. They can be unintentionally stepped on or smothered by the mother.

Heat Source

Having a heat source is very important when dealing with newborn puppies. They are extremely susceptible to hypothermia since they cannot appropriately regulate their body temperatures. This needs to be closely monitored in the first weeks of life.

Many breeders simply lay down a heating pad in the center of the whelping box, this encourages the puppies to stay away from the edges where they are at a higher risk of being smothered by their mother.

Heating Pads

Using a heating pad that is in your closet for a sore shoulder muscle is not what you would put in a whelping box. These do not circulate the heat properly and have coils that become very hot and can potentially burn the puppies. If you choose to use one anyway, making sure there are many layers in between it and the newborns is crucial.

A water or circulating heating pad is more ideal. This way the temperature doesn’t concentrate in specific spots, causing burns or wounds to the puppies or dam.

Heat Lamps

Heat lamps are safer but not as direct as some heating pads. Sometimes you will have to provide additional heat sources along with the heating lamps if the litter and whelping box are very large.

What Should I Expect When My Chihuahua Goes Into Labor?

Not only does the question of how long will my chihuahua be pregnant for is important but also what you should expect during labor.

chihuahua puppy

Once that time comes, the first stage of labor is a long one. Usually, the female will pace and seem restless, sometimes they even vomit. These situations are normal. Don’t panic and make sure she has plenty of water. This part of labor can last anywhere from 8 to 16 hours.

How Often Should She Be Delivering Puppies?

The dam will deliver one pup close to about every hour, give or take about 15 to 30 minutes. She will usually strain for close to 10 or more minutes per puppy. Do not be alarmed if she takes a break in the middle of birthing her large litter, this can sometimes last about 4 hours.

If she does not produce another puppy for about 30 minutes or more of hard straining or she takes longer than a 4-hour break when you know there are more pups to come, then it is crucial to call your veterinarian. This could potentially indicate a life-threatening issue of dystocia which will require surgery to remove any stuck puppies.

Do Chihuahuas Usually Need C-Sections?

If dystocia (difficulty giving birth) occurs and a puppy is stuck in the birth canal, then surgery will most likely be necessary to remove him. On some occasions, if the pup is partially exposed, the vet can free him without doing surgery.

Chihuahuas are not prone to a high risk of dystocia, so rarely will one need a C-section. However, if the female was bred with a male that was much larger than her, it is possible she will have difficulty giving birth and will require surgery.

Aftercare

Be sure to monitor your new momma dog carefully for any signs of foul-smelling vaginal discharge or lack of thriftiness. Both the mother and pups are in a delicate state for the first few days after whelping.