Labradors & Pregnancyby Jasmine Henry
Supporting the health of a pregnant Labrador requires special attention and support. The canine gestation period is significantly shorter than that of humans, but dogs have a similar requirement for strong nutrition, extra rest and careful attention to health. Communicate frequently with your veterinarian with any questions or concerns about the dog's well being.
Though many canine pregnancies are unplanned, try and ensure that the female Labrador is in optimum health before becoming pregnant. Approximately six months before the planned conception, schedule a visit with a veterinarian. Make sure she is at her ideal weight, and ask for diet recommendations if she is over or underweight. Ask the veterinarian to screen her for parasites and give her any missing vaccinations. Develop an exercise routine that will improve her health before conception.
Appropriate nutrition is an essential component of a healthy Labrador pregnancy. Remain in close communication with your veterinarian about the dog's diet and health. Avoid giving the pregnant dog any supplements unless otherwise recommended by the family vet. Ensure there is always an easily accessible supply of fresh water. After the first month of pregnancy, increase food portions by about 30 percent. Due to internal pressure from the pregnancy, it is also necessary to significantly increase the number of daily feedings from one to three to between six and eight times per day.
Support the health of a pregnant Labrador through careful attention and continual support. Ensure the pregnant mother receives a gentle daily walk, but avoid unnecessary exertion or rough play. Similarly, it is essential to prevent the pregnant Labrador from coming into contact with unhealthy or unknown dogs, due to the risk of contracting a communicable disease that could harm the gestating puppies. Avoid dog parks and canine boarding facilities until after the dog is finished with her pregnancy.
The average canine gestation period is approximately 63 days, with most canines giving birth between day 58 and 68 of pregnancy. Observe your Labrador carefully for signs of impending labor as her due date approaches. Typical indicators are a sudden refusal of solid food and restless or anti-social behavior. Avoid unnecessary interventions in the Labrador labor. Contact your veterinarian immediately if there is concern about the health of any of the Labrador puppies or if the mother seems feverish.
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