by Jack Russell
Professional breeders do not breed frequently and will only do so when a pair is found to be healthy that will ensure the birth of healthy offspring.
The ideal breeder should have the pair of dogs tested for every possible disease as well as have all the information regarding the pair's ancestors and health records on file. Should a breeder find no problem in the history of the pair, then the process can begin.
Dogs normally come into heat twice a year which is every six months. Larger dogs can come into heat every eight or ten months which usually lasts about three weeks. Vaginal bleeding is a sure sign that the dog is in heat as well as swelling in the vulva. A dog's pregnancy or gestation period lasts between 60 to 67 days. Most dogs give birth after 63 days.
The only way to determine the stage of the dog's pregnancy is by keeping the track of time from the day of the breeding. Keeping a record of this on file is advisable for reference purposes.
Exactly three weeks after breeding, the mother must be examined to confirm the pregnancy.
The bitch must be given a formulated and premium brand of dog food for the duration of the pregnancy and throughout the nursing period preferably with strong nutritional foundation.
During pregnancy, the mother's food consumption will almost double compared to the pre-pregnancy level so increased feeding must be given to ensure that there is enough for both the dog and the puppies.
Behavioral changes are to be expected during this time. The bitch will demand for more affection or may experience a few days of vomiting.
Later on, the expectant mother will search for a secure place to deliver the puppies. So, one must ensure that a proper place is ready when the time comes. An ideal place for an expecting mother is a box. Depending on the size of the dog, it must be spacious enough for the dog to move around and must have layers of newspaper inside it that will absorb birthing fluids. This should also have low sides for the mother to look outside and for the breeder to easily check if assistance is needed to make it easy to remove soiled papers without interrupting the mother and the newborn puppies.
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