Boxer dogs have a gestational period of about 63 days. Although this gestation period may seem short compared to that of humans, female boxers go through many changes in the short time while they prepare to whelp. Some of these changes, such as weight gain, can be monitored daily. Others occur at key points in the dog's pregnancy.
Video of the Day
Early signs of pregnancy in a dog
Boxers, like other dog breeds, do not show many signs of pregnancy early on. Some indications that dog owners might look for to indicate that she could be pregnant are if her nipples become larger than normal, she shows behavioral changes, or she demonstrates morning sickness.
Sometimes, the first sign is behavioral changes. These could manifest as increased affection toward her owner or handler or acting more subdued or calmer than normal. Some pregnant females could start to exhibit issues with other dogs in the household, such as barking, growling, snapping, or lunging at them if they are in her space. If she shows that she is uncomfortable interacting with other dogs, it is best to keep them away from her to help lower her stress levels.
Morning sickness is a little different in dogs than humans. For a female boxer breed dog it may occur between days 21 and 28. Most pregnant dogs won't vomit but may lose their appetite for that week requiring some extra special incentives or enticing to get them to eat.
Unfortunately most of these early signs also occur in most female dog's that have just finished their heat cycle regardless of breeding status so it necessary to wait until the second trimester to confirm she is pregnant.
Physical changes to the female boxer
Physical changes start to appear at the beginning of the second trimester from days 21-42. Your boxer may show nipples that are slightly larger and darker. Starting around week four as her abdomen gets larger, the fur around the nipples and on her belly may start to thin out, though the hair loss is more noticeable on a long haired breed. It is not abnormal for her to have some clear vaginal discharge as early as week five but is more likely to occur around weeks seven and eight.
As your boxer's pregnancy progresses, she will eat as much as two to four times more than her normal portion depending on the litter size and gain a considerable amount of weight. A boxer's weight usually increases 30 percent over the course of her pregnancy. By the last stages of pregnancy (and while nursing her newborn puppies), she will eat about three times more food than usual.
How do I confirm a female boxer is pregnant?
A relaxin blood test is available to detect pregnancy. The request must be submitted by a veterinarian to a laboratory. The initial test can be done as early as 22 to 27 days after you think your dog may be pregnant. If the date of conception is unknown and the first test is negative, a second test should be performed one week after the initial test. Around day 25 of pregnancy, it is possible to hear the puppies' heartbeats with a doppler, though it can still be inaccurate that early in the gestation period.
With some dog breeds, puppies can be felt through the abdomen as early as 30 days into pregnancy. However, because boxers are large dogs, it could take much longer before pups can be felt.
Most breeders choose to do an ultrasound around 21 to 30 days to confirm pregnancy. Some breeders skip the ultrasound and do an X-ray closer to the whelping date to confirm pregnancy and also get an idea of litter size.
Signs that a dog is nearing labor
Usually, some movement within the womb should be noticeable after six weeks. Movement increases as whelping nears and should be visible without needing to touch her belly in the last couple weeks.
In the last week leading up to labor, she will start to secrete milky fluid from her nipples and may have increased vaginal discharge. She will also begin nesting and may seek out a quiet, dark place to use as a den. It is important that she is provided with a whelping box in a calm part of the home where she feels relaxed and safe.
Twelve to 36 hours before dog labor starts, a dog's temperature begins to fluctuate. Normally, a female boxer's temperature is about 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit; it usually drops below 99 degrees eight to 24 hours prior to Stage 1 labor.
Female boxers will go through many changes before your adorable boxer puppies are born. Most changes will not start to be noticeable until half way through the second trimester. Weight gain, morning sickness followed by increased appetite, thinning hair on her abdomen, and a growing belly are just some of the early signs that may indicate she is pregnant. It is best to seek help from an experienced breeder or a veterinarian to confirm actual pregnancy.