It is a fact that a pregnant Chihuahua is more at risk from complications during the pregnancy and labor cycle than most other dog breeds. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t breed your Chi or that every Chihuahua pregnancy is going to have problems.
While it is true that some Chihuahuas will experience complications and may need to give birth by Caesarean Section, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of this happening to your Chihuahua and give her the best possible chance of having a successful, safe and comfortable pregnancy and birth, simply by following the pregnancy care information I discuss in this article.
Chihuahua Pregnancy Symptoms
“Is My Chihuahua pregnant?”
“How can you tell when your Chihuahua is Pregnant?”
They are common questions and the earlier you can spot that your Chihuahua is pregnant, the better prepared you’ll be to give her the care and attention she needs for a smooth pregnancy and birth.
Some people opt for an ultrasound session to check if their Chi is pregnant but this is an expensive process and there are a number of key pregnancy signs you can look for at home, which will give you a good idea if your Chi is expecting:
- Loss of Energy – Your Chihuahua will become tired quickly and will act lethargic
- Increased Appetite – You will notice your Chihuahua becoming more hungry than usual or is picky with what she eats.
- Enlarged Stomach – Her stomach will enlarge rapidly and become hard. This will happen much faster than with a human mother and also other dog breeds.
- Frequent Urination – She will urinate more often because of her enlarged uterus.
- Enlarged Nipples – Her nipples will become enlarged and protrude from her body. They may also darken in color. Again, this will happen quickly.
As soon as notice some or all of these pregnancy symptoms, you should take your Chihuahua to your vet so that he can confirm that your Chi is indeed expecting pups. If he confirms what you suspected then “congratulations!” your Chi is going to be a mother. Now you should focus on giving her everything she needs for a safe and comfortable pregnancy.
How Long Are Chihuahuas Pregnant For?
A Chihuahua pregnancy usually lasts between 58 and 66 days or approximately 9 weeks. However, a Chihuahua’s gestation period can often be shorter if her puppies grow too big for her womb. You should consult with your vet how your Chihuahua’s pregnancy is developing and when the possible due date will be. If you know the date of insemination, you can mark this on your calendar so you know in advance when she should give birth. If your Chi’s pregnancy goes over 70 days, you should consult with your vet immediately as this could be a sign of complications.
Chihuahua False Pregnancy
These are rare but sadly, you do occur and you need to know how to spot them. A false pregnancy is triggered by an imbalance of chemicals in your Chi which provokes her body into “thinking” it is pregnant. When this occurs, her stomach will enlarge, her nipples will harden and she may begin producing milk.
Since false pregnancy symptoms are similar to those of a real pregnancy, it is difficult to know immediately if your Chi’s pregnancy is real or false. However, if it is false, within one month of these symptoms appearing, they will start to fade and everything and your Chihuahua will return to normal.
Chihuahua Pregnancy Stages Week By Week
Your Chihuahua’s pregnancy calendar will be similar to most other dog breeds and there are a number of key dates to make note of:
1 – 4 weeks (1 – 30 days)
During this period, the unborn embryos are forming in your Chi’s womb and you should continue to exercise and feed your dog as normal. However, it is also a good idea to use this time to make the necessary preparations for the coming weeks as your Chihuahua will require some special treatment particularly when it comes to what you feed her. I explain all about this in the section below ‘Caring For A Pregnant Chihuahua’.
5 – 6 weeks (31 – 45 days)
You should start switching your Chihuahua’s daily meals to a higher calorie diet and remove any excess fats or oils such as those you get in most commercial dog foods. If you don’t do already, you should feed your dog small meals regularly throughout the day and avoid giving your Chihuahua supplements such as calcium as many vets will tell you that these may cause gestation problems.
During this period, you should also reduce your Chihuahua’s amount of exercise to half an hour a day or less depending on the size of the dog and begin making sure she is getting enough rest.
6 – 7 weeks (45 – 55 days)
Around 45 days or 6 and a half weeks into your Chihuahua’s pregnancy term, the puppies will be developed enough to see on an x-ray or ultrasound and you’ll be able to tell how many puppies your dog is having.
8 – 9 weeks (56 – 66 days)
As your Chihuahua nears the end of her pregnancy cycle, you should closely monitor her body temperature since when her temperature drops below 100oF, you’ll know that the labor process will begin within 24 hours.
Caring For A Pregnant Chihuahua
One of the most important things you can do for your Chihuahua to make sure that her pregnancy is safe and successful is take her for a regular checkup with your vet and follow any specific advice he gives you. This is vital for the health of your both your Chihuahua and her puppies. Your vet will weigh her, worm her and make certain all her vaccinations are up to date. Schedule regular check-ups and pay close attention to any specific advice he gives you about your Chihuahua’s health.
It is very important to remember that pregnant Chihuahuas do need more help than most other dog breeds to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy term. I have listed below the four key principles of Successful Chihuahua pregnancies.
“The 4 Principles Of Successful Chihuahua Pregnancies”
1. Treat Her Gently
Make sure that anyone who comes into contact with your Chihuahua is extremely gentle with her.
2. A Comfortable Place To Rest
Your Chihuahua will probably have this already, but it is very important to make sure the place she sleeps in is comfortable, soft and warm. Set up her crate or bed in a quiet, stress-free environment so that she can get all the rest she needs without being disturbed. This will be a big help in avoiding any possible complications like a reabsorption of the fetuses early in her pregnancy term.
3. Feed Her The Right Food
This is the most important thing you can do to give your Chihuahua the best possible chance of seeing her pregnancy through successfully. In order for her to stay healthy and breed strong and healthy puppies, she must have the right balance of fats, calories, and vitamins. Do not feed her excessive fats or oils like those found in most commercial dog foods as this can result in a build-up of fat around her key organs and place further stress on her already strained the body.
Homemade food is the best way to feed your pregnant Chi as this way you can be certain exactly what you are feeding her. Most people don’t realize how quick and easy it is to prepare home cooked meals for your Chihuahua once you know what to feed her.
It is also important that as your Chi nears whelping, you increase her food intake until she is getting one and a quarter times her typical daily portion.
4. Avoid Over-Exercise
For most pregnant Chihuahuas, a half an hour walk or a short play session is ample daily exercise. Some smaller Chis may not even need this and you should watch carefully to see when your dog is becoming tired to find out exactly how much exercise your Chi needs.
Chihuahua Whelping: Danger Signs
If this is your first time caring for a Chihuahua during whelping, I recommend that you have your Chi give birth in a clinic. However, if you prefer to have your dog give birth at home then there are four very important warning signs you should pay attention to:
- Your Chihuahua has been pregnant for 70 days and has yet to give birth.
- 24 hours have passed since her temperature dropped below 100oF but has not entered labor.
- 1 puppy has been born but over 2 hours has passed without any other puppies coming out.
- Your Chihuahua experiences significant pain during birth.
If your Chihuahua experiences any of these you should call your vet immediately.
Chihuahua Whelping: Preparation & Build-up
If your Chihuahua is not having a Cesarean and you have decided to have a home birth, then following the steps below will mean that your Chihuahua will be as comfortable as possible during her labor and you can experience the joy of watching your Chi gives birth to newborn pups.
About a week before your Chihuahua’s expected due date you should prepare a quiet whelping area which is completely free from distractions or stress. It is up to you when you move your Chi to this area, but I would recommend at least of a couple of days before just in case she goes into early labor.
The day before her expected due date, make sure you take her temperature every 4 hours since when her temperature drops below 100oF you’ll know she is within 24 hours of whelping.
Another important sign that your Chi is close to whelping is her behavior will change. She might clean herself more than usual and right before she is about to go into labor, she will start chewing at her bedding or digging at the blanket; this is known as “nesting” and is the best indication that your Chihuahua is to give birth.
At this point, you should have a vet’s emergency number on hand just in case and pay close attention to any of the warning signs I mentioned above.
Chihuahua Whelping: Labor & Giving Birth
When your Chi starts to pant heavily, you’ll know she is entering labor.
During the birth, you should watch for any signs of undue stress but for the most part, you should not interfere. The puppies will begin to emerge once her water has broken. Puppies are usually born every 30 minutes or so although it is not unusual to wait an hour between births.
Your dog will typically break the membrane over each puppy and sever the umbilical cord herself although in rare cases you may need to step in. She may also eat the umbilical cord and placenta once the final puppy has come out. This is her natural instinct at work and you shouldn’t stop her doing this.
Once the final puppy has been born you should allow the new mother to rest.