A miniature schnauzer who is six weeks pregnant may not be immediately apparent as pregnant to her owner. If you spot a change in her behavior or eating habits or if you notice some weight gain, it's time to head to the vet for an official diagnosis. You'll also want to see your dog's doc regularly so she receives the right care and to learn what to expect during your mini schnauzer pregnancy.
Mini schnauzer pregnancy signs
Dogs are pregnant for a mere two months, or an average of about 63 days, which means you don't have a moment to lose if you suspect your pet is expecting. Nailing down the exact day or range of days your dog will deliver can vary based on your dog's breed and the size of the litter she's carrying. Do your best to decipher the mini schnauzer pregnancy signs, including an increase in appetite (and sometimes vomiting), more fatigue, irritability, weight gain, a swollen belly, and enlarged nipples.
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Canine pregnancy tests
If would be convenient if you could just get your dog to pee on a stick and then read the result in the tiny window (she marks every other spot in town, so why not a pregnancy test?). Alas, you'll need to schedule an appointment with your animal's vet in order to properly diagnose a miniature schnauzer's pregnancy. To start, the doctor will probe your dog's belly to feel for growing fetal sacs (these can be felt at the end of the first month of gestation).
Your veterinarian may also order an ultrasound or an X-ray, two accurate diagnostics that can pinpoint how many pups are in utero as well as pick up on the fetal heartbeats. Another canine pregnancy test is a blood sample, which is drawn in order to detect the hormone relaxin. If this substance is present, so are puppies.
Caring for your expectant dog
A mini schnauzer pregnancy requires regular visits to the vet so she can check your dog and note any changes in her condition. At home, you should serve a nutritionally sound diet while she's gestating, though don't offer too much kibble early on. Instead, wait until the last three weeks of pregnancy to give her more and make her portions smaller but more frequent. Daily exercise is still key during a mini schnauzer pregnancy, so take your animal out for her normal walks but just until her belly is large. At this point, aim for shorter, less strenuous outings and do so a couple more times a day.
Prepping for puppies
Don't be caught without the right supplies for your mini schnauzer's birthing. While some dogs will try to create a nest with towels and blankets, you might want to be the one to choose which linens your dog uses for whelping. To that end, consider a small, plastic swimming pool (the kind you get at the hardware store or home center) and then line it with soft, old bedding and newspaper. You'll also need paper towels to wipe down the new puppies and sterilized scissors to clip the umbilical cords in case the mother doesn't do it herself.
Always have your vet's number at the ready in case your dog's birthing process slows down to more than two hours between puppies or you notice that you have one more puppy than placenta. One placenta should be delivered with each dog, but if you don't see the exact amount, it could mean one is retained, and you'll need the vet to intervene and help your pet extract it.