According to the history section of the United Kennel Club breed standard, the first dog registered with the UKC was a pit bull named Bennet's Ring in 1898, who was owned by UKC founder, C.Z. Bennet. Pit bulls have been used for a variety of tasks throughout history; as family protectors, livestock work and hunting. Easily trained, they are commonly seen in many competition circuits such as obedience, agility, weight pulling, tracking and more.
Signs of Pregnancy
Aside from having your veterinarian perform an ultrasound, there are more subtle signs that your pit bull may be pregnant. The first noticeable sign will be that her vulva will retain a bit of the swollenness that it had during her heat cycle while a dog that did not take will go back to pre-season size. Her nipples will be more pronounced and she may seek more attention. Do not look for the pregnancy to be visible until two to three weeks prior to her due date.
Gestation length in pit bulls is approximately nine weeks from the day they were bred. Puppies can arrive a week before or after their calculated due date and still be within a normal gestation period.
A typical pit bull litter can range anywhere from five to 10 puppies. An owner can get a fairly reliable count for a specific litter by taking them to their vet for an X-ray after the puppies are far enough along that their skulls and spines will show up to be counted.
A veterinarian should be consulted early in the pregnancy to ensure the pit bull is in optimum health. Ideally, she should already be up to date on vaccinations and preventative worming protocol. Worming the pregnant pit bull about mid-way through the pregnancy can help ward off roundworms in the newborn puppies, but only worm a pregnant dog under the direct supervision of a vet as worming with the wrong wormer or at the wrong stage can harm the unborn puppies.
To avoid bloat, meals should be offered in divided amounts two to three times per day. Only optimum dog food should be offered that is rich in nutrients and low in additives. Your vet can direct you toward ideal feeds or supplements that may be beneficial to your individual pit bulls health. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System recommends that you feed your pregnant pit bull the normal amount during the first four weeks of pregnancy but after that point, feedings should increase to one and a half times the normal feeding while being watchful that your pit bull does not become overweight, which can cause whelping issues.
A safe whelping area should be prepared at least two weeks in advance as dogs can go into labor a week before their due date and it helps to allow them to spend a week or so getting comfortable with their new whelping area. This area should be quiet and away from any other pets, no matter how much they get along. Gather the necessary whelping supplies such as a watch, notebook/pen, unflavored dental floss and several old towels.
Your pregnant pit bull may lose her appetite the last day or two of her pregnancy. She may also begin nesting by digging at her bedding or finding odd places to hide. Taking her temperature, though not foolproof, may show imminent labor if it drops to 98 degrees or less, and holds that temperature. If it bounces up and down, it may be a couple days. When in active labor, dogs tend to shiver and fidget in an effort to lay down comfortably. They may even think they need to defecate when a puppy is about to be born. For this reason, any outdoor potty breaks should be closely monitored.