Poodle Pregnancy Period
One of the most common questions is “How do I know if my Poodle is pregnant?” All Poodles, whether toy, miniature or standard will be pregnant for approximately only 63 days.
An ultra sound is inconclusive until around 30 days and a x-ray will not show anything till around 45 days when the calcium in the puppies bones solidifies. This leaves very little time to get prepared. So let’s discuss some important Poodle pregnancy facts.
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Do female Poodles have periods?
- Poodles – and all female dogs – do not have periods that are comparable to human cycles. Dogs are only fertile every six months (twice a year), during a period called “season” or “heat”.
- During this heat cycle your Poodle will have discharge, probably be irritable and, of course – be able to get pregnant!
- If a dog is spayed, she will have her uterus and ovaries removed and as a result not go into heat anymore.
How long do Poodles stay in heat?
- A regular heat is about 3-4 weeks long. Your Poodle is not fertile during the entire time however. During the first 10-12 days your dog is not fertile, only after 1.5 weeks she will be able to conceive puppies.
- The heat goes along with the much-dreaded discharge. Many Poodle owners opt for doggy diapers when their Poodle is in season to keep their floors and furniture clean.
How do I find a good baby daddy?
Depending on your breeding goals, you will be searching for the perfect match for your Poodle.
If you are planning to breed a pure-bred Poodle litter (like Parti Poodles), choose a registered and health-tested Poodle as the sire. The American Kennel Club will help you get in touch with other Poodle owners.
If you are planning to have a Doodle litter, the choice of dad might for example be:
- a Bernese Mountain Dog for Bernedoodle pups
- a Schnauzer for Schnoodle puppies
- an Old English Sheepdog for Sheepadoodle pups
- a Golden Retriever for Goldendoodle, Mini Goldendoodle or F1b Mini Goldendoodle offspring
You should always make sure that both parents have passed breed-specific health tests so that the babies can have the best possible start into a long and healthy life!
How can I tell if my Poodle is pregnant?
- Any time after her 1st heat, no matter how young she is
- At any age, no matter how old she is, as long as she is still entering heat… and many female dogs will have heat cycles for their entire lives if not spayed
- Even if there has not been a full ‘tie’
- She may act moderately lethargic, wanting to rest more often
- Her stomach will enlarge rather quickly. Starting at about week 2 it will become firm. By week 4 it will be noticeably swollen.
- Her mammary glands will become enlarged
- Some inverted nipples that you may not have even noticed will “pop out”
- She will clean herself more thoroughly than usual
- Nesting behavior may begin. Some dogs will gather toys and other articles from around the house, showing maternal instincts toward them. She may also drag pillows, blankets and other soft materials to a quiet corner of a room to build a ‘nest’.
- Her appetite should increase
- There may be minor to moderate clear discharge. This usually begins by week 4 or 5.
How many days are Poodles pregnant?
- Most dogs’ gestation period is around 63 days or 9 weeks from conception. This might vary by a couple days however.
- Smaller dogs tend to give birth a bit earlier than larger breeds If you are breeding Miniature or Toy Poodles, or crosses such as a Mini Goldendoodle or F1b Mini Goldendoodle, your dog may already give birth after 56-59 days.
- As your dog’s whelping date approaches, you should absolutely have her seen by a vet. He can take an x-ray to determine how many pups she is carrying. This will help make a better plan for the whelping. It is also crucial to know if one puppy may be “left” – sometimes a pup gets stuck and by knowing how many to expect you will be able to rush your dog to the vet if you know one or two do not seem to pass through.
How many puppies will my Poodle have?
The number of pups you can expect will depend on the size of the parents. As a general rule, large breeds have litters with higher numbers of pups than small breeds.
- Standard Poodle
If the mom of your litter is a Standard Poodle, expect around 7 puppies.
(Fun fact: in 2014, a Standard Poodle named Crystal made history when she gave birth to 16 puppies! )
- Miniature Poodle
For Miniature Poodles expect around 5 puppies.
- Toy Poodles
Toy Poodles are the smallest type of Poodle and will have the smallest number of puppies in one litter. Plan for around 3 – though also singelton litters (meaning a litter with only one single puppy) happen regularly.
Your Poodle’s litter size will be influenced not only by the mother’s size, but also by her age (older females have smaller litters), her health (some health conditions cause fewer pups) and the timing of the breeding.
The closer to the “perfect time of conception” the mom is bred, the more puppies can be expected.
Are Poodles good mothers?
Most Poodles are good mother dogs. How well your own Poodle does as a mom mom will depend on several factors:
- How well prepared you are
You need to set the mom up for success and make puppy raising easy for her. Get her a spacious and soft whelping box. Clip the hair on her stomach so that the pups can nurse easily. Ensure that she is healthy and had prenatal veterinary care.
- The female’s own mother
If your dog’s own mom was a great and caring mother, chances are that your Poodle will be just as nice to her babies.
- Your support
Prepare to spend a lot of time and effort supporting your Poodle as she is raising her pups. She will need a lot of specialized nutrition, especially as she is nursing. You are responsible for making sure nobody disturbs her – this also applies to small kids in the household!
- How safe mom feels
Being pregnant with, birthing and caring for a litter of puppies is a big task! Your Poodle mom needs to feel safe and cared for in order to be a great mom. If you have any other dogs, they should not be allowed to access the whelping box or disturb the female. She needs a lot of peace and quiet.
How often should I breed my female?
- First of all, it is a myth that every female dog needs to have at least one litter. Do not breed your Poodle just because you think this is required. Female dogs can live a long and healthy life without ever having puppies.
- Only if you are ready to raise a litter responsibly and with a lot of time and effort you should breed. If you decide to do this, three times should be the maximum amount of litters your female has. Every pregnancy and whelping will wear on your Poodle. While Poodles have a long lifespan, you should not breed a dog over the age of 8 or 9 years old. Even though your female could still get pregnant, this is too old to have puppies.
- Some owners breed their females 5 or 6 times. Do not do this! It is not fair to the momma dog and borders on puppy mill practice.
- It is a much better approach to have few litters, but to make them the best they can be.
What Is A False Pregnancy?
It’s always important to be alert and know when a female Poodle could be pregnant. But, in addition to this, you should also be cautious to know when they could experience pregnancy-related conditions. One, in particular, is a false pregnancy where they look pregnant when reality, they’re not. The scientific name for this is pseudo-pregnancy or pseudocyesis.
This is a condition that can occur in a female dog regardless of whether she’s been mated or not. It commonly occurs after their estrus cycle, and their ovaries produce hormones. The hormones they produce specifically help their uterus prepare for a potential fetus in pregnancy. These hormones can mimic a pregnant dog’s typical symptoms and cause their mammary glands to develop and false labor to occur. Most of the time, though, it’s still a mystery why these hormonal changes occur.
Generally, in a false pregnancy, a Poodle will experience the following:
- Decreased interest
Care For Pregnant Poodle
Like humans, a pregnant Poodle will experience a range of changes to their hormones, weight, and behavior. While we know this is happening to us, you have to pay extra attention to comfort your female Poodle as a dog owner. But first, before caring for them, you will want to make sure they’re pregnant. A vet will confirm their pregnancy through a range of tests such as the following:
- Blood test: A blood test can be conducted by day 30
- Ultrasound scan: By day 38, a vet might carry out an ultrasound scan to check for heartbeats.
- X-ray: After day 45, they might perform an x-ray to see how big the Poodle’s litter size is.
- When a Poodle is pregnant, they might require certain medications to help with their lactating and to provide nutrients to their litter. In this situation, it’s important not to give your dog any medication without the advice of a veterinarian.
- If you give your Poodle medications that your vet has not approved, it could cause them harm and result in birth defects in the puppies and, in the worse case, spontaneous abortion. In particular, you should avoid giving them calcium supplements as this can cause eclampsia which can be life-threatening.
- When pregnant, a Poodle must have a healthy metabolism so they can support themselves and their litter. Ideally, you will want to feed them puppy food full of nutrients and has more energy than adult-based dog food. The food should have 1,600 calories per lb and have around 22% protein. This should start as early as week 6 of their pregnancy and slowly replaced over time.
- You will also want to slowly increase their portion sizes and not give them a large portion in one go. If you do, they might decline at first as they may be experiencing morning sickness. It would help if you slowly started increasing her portions as soon as she’s 5 weeks pregnant up until 9 weeks. At this age, she should be eating 25% more food than usual. Be careful not to overfeed your dog and measure her portions out evenly.
Once confirmed, you should be more alert and empathetic towards a female’s wellbeing as a dog owner. You will want to take them for daily exercise to maintain their muscle mass but less intense than normal.
- It’s always a good idea to visit the vet to see if your dog is pregnant. Similarly, you should take your Poodle every month for a routine check-up. Plus, if she becomes ill while pregnant or gets parasites, they need to be addressed immediately.
- Once pregnant, a Poodle should see the vet at seven weeks old, so they can check their general health and form a plan for their labor. If their labor is not a smooth process and a female Poodle has contractions for more than 30 minutes, you will have to call your vet. Then
Preparing for the Birth of a Poodle Litter
- A thermometer
- Sheets, towels or clean newspapers
- Floss or thread
- A suction bulb – the type that is used to suction out mucus from human babies’ noses
- A whelping box – This can be a cardboard box, lined child’s wading pool (for standards) or even a canine bed (Perla beds work quite nicely)
- Heating pad
- Having an assistant be there with you is always a good idea.
Supporting your Poodle through pregnancy, birth and puppy raising can be a wonderful experience. Only commit to it if you are ready to spend time, money and effort though.
Always make sure that the parents of any litter have passed breed-specific health test and never breed more than 3 litter off of one female!