If you have a female Yorkshire terrier and do not plan to breed her, it is wise to have her spayed so as not to add to the large numbers of dogs who need homes. On the other hand, if you have bred your dog, you should know that it is possible for a Yorkie to become pregnant the very first time she mates with a male dog, so it is important to recognize the signs that indicate pregnancy. A pregnant Yorkie requires regular veterinary care, and your veterinarian will tell you how often to bring in your Yorkie for checkups.
Yorkie sleeping more and other behavioral signs
In the early stages of pregnancy, before a Yorkie exhibits physical signs of pregnancy, you may notice changes in her behavior. She may sleep more than usual, choosing out-of-the-way places to curl up and nap. Or you may find that your usually playful Yorkie has reduced physical activity and wants to snuggle in your lap instead. She may seem to clean herself more often and more thoroughly than she normally does.
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Some pregnant dogs lose their appetite early in the pregnancy. Since one of the things that makes Yorkies the most popular terrier is their tiny size, contact your veterinarian if she is losing weight and let them know when she was bred. They may want to see her to rule out an illness causing the weight loss and possibly confirm the pregnancy.
Morning sickness and other physical pregnancy signs in a Yorkie
It's not uncommon for pregnant Yorkies to suffer morning sickness, which can include vomiting and loss of appetite, although this should last for only the first few weeks of the pregnancy. She may have a watery vaginal discharge that is not urine. A swollen vulva can be a sign of pregnancy; however, the vulva swells during her heat cycle too. If she had a heat cycle and was bred and her vulva reduced back to normal size but is now swollen again, that could indicate that she is pregnant.
Swollen abdomen and other later signs in a Yorkie
One of the most obvious physical changes is when a pregnant Yorkie's stomach increases in size and becomes very firm in the last two to three weeks of pregnancy. She will have swollen mammary glands, her nipples will become prominent, and you have probably noticed her weight gain. If you have not taken her to the veterinarian by this point, now is the time to go. This is also a good time to show her the whelping box (a clean cardboard box is fine) if she hasn't already discovered it. A few weeks before delivery, she may show nesting behavior, like curling up in the whelping box.
Also gather the supplies you will need: unwaxed dental floss to tie the umbilical cords; cotton swabs and iodine to keep the puppies' navels from becoming infected; stacks of newspaper; clean, soft blankets or towels; a hot water bottle or heating pad to keep the puppies warm; and a clean bowl for water to keep your Yorkie hydrated during labor and delivery.
Canine pregnancies last 62 to 64 days
Since it is impossible to know the exact day your dog conceived, her due date will be approximate. By the 21st day of the gestation period, it is typically possible for a veterinarian to gently palpate the abdomen and feel the presence of puppies. Between day 25 and 35, your veterinarian may use ultrasound to visually "see" the puppies. After 45 days, X-rays can determine the number of puppies in the litter.
Delivering in familiar surroundings is best for a Yorkie
It can be stressful and disruptive to transport your Yorkie to the veterinarian while she is in labor. Dogs are more relaxed in a familiar environment, which is typically in their home. By being more relaxed, they may deliver their puppies more easily and be able to let down their milk more readily to feed the new puppies.
Birth is a natural process, and in most cases, your Yorkie will know instinctively what to do. If you have never delivered puppies before, though, learn what it involves and speak to your veterinarian about what to expect and how to prepare. If your veterinarian has advised you to take your Yorkie's temperature rectally in the morning and evening near her due date, you will likely notice that her normal temperature of 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit will drop to under 100 degrees. This indicates that labor will begin within about 24 hours.
The bottom line
The Yorkie's diminutive size is one of the characteristics that makes them among the most popular dog breeds. It also means that such a small dog cannot afford to lose weight through illness or pregnancy. That's why it is so important to confirm your Yorkie's pregnancy by noticing lethargy or extra sleepiness, unusual clinginess, and vomiting or eating less during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Beginning at 21 days of gestation, your veterinarian can perform tests to determine a dog pregnancy. Call your veterinarian if you think your Yorkie could be pregnant.