If you think your pet may be pregnant, it is worth taking them to the vet’s to be checked out. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is quite difficult to confirm whether your pet is pregnant, even with an ultrasound scan because the foetuses will be so small, they won’t be able to be picked up. Certainly won’t be able to be picked up on palpation alone, where you are just having a feel of the abdomen to see if you can feel any foetuses, but on an ultrasound scan, even early stages, you may not be able to see until a few weeks into the pregnancy. Dogs are normally pregnant for nine weeks, so if you have had your dog mated and you think she may be pregnant, it would be easier to get a confirmation of that from about mid-way through the pregnancy.
If your pet is pregnant, you want to be preparing a little bit in advance for when they are going to give birth, so you want to try, if you can, to provide a safe place that they like for them to nest in and to create an environment where they are happy to have their puppies, or kittens, in the case of cats. With all the preparation that you may do, they may decide at the last minute to go somewhere else, but it is better to have somewhere that they know and are familiar with a few weeks in advance of when they are due, so that they know that it is there and, hopefully, they will go where you want them to give birth.
You may need to look at changing the way you are feeding your pregnant queen or a pregnant bitch during the last trimester to the third trimester of the pregnancy, so this will typically be in the last two to three weeks of the pregnancy. This is because a lot of, or most of the growth of the puppies or kittens will be taking place in that last third. You may think just increase the amount of food that they are eating; however, you have got to bear in mind that bitches and queens may be carrying multiple kittens or puppies and that will be taking up quite a lot of space in their abdomen, therefore, increasing their feed may not be possible because their stomach just has not got the room to take on that extra food. We, therefore, recommend introducing a puppy or kitten food to the mum, because she will be getting more nutrients that way without having to eat any more food.
The other really important thing is to look at the parasite control, because whatever parasites the bitch or the queen has, as soon as those kittens or puppies have been born, she will be washing those, her young and potentially passing on any parasite she has on to them, either through direct contact or from her saliva, in the case of worms. So speak to your vet about what products are safe to use, because they are not all safe to use in pregnant pets.
When your bitch is in season, this can go on for about three weeks, but the actual time where she can conceive is only two or three days, but it is not obvious from watching her when those two to three days are going to be, so it is really important, if your bitch is in season and you do not want her to become pregnant, that you keep her on her lead and keep her away from entire male dogs for the whole time that she is in the season. In cats, they do not have to be in season to get pregnant, so this can happen at any time and the age from which they can get pregnant is from about four and a half, five months of age. So if your cat is going outside and you do not want her to get pregnant, speak to your vet about neutering her, because it is very young that they can conceive and if they do conceive too young, it is not in their best interest for their health for that to happen.