The gestation period for Chihuahuas is a little over two months, but a lot can happen during that time, and some of it can be dangerous for your mama Chi and her pups. Those who have experience with pregnant Chihuahuas understand the risks and often recommend adoption over breeding. If you're determined to become a grandparent to Chihuahua puppies, it's wise to familiarize yourself with the potential risks for pregnant Chihuahuas, such as the size and number of puppies, and health issues including hypoglycemia and eclampsia. It's also important to know the warning signs to watch for.
Size of the Puppies
Newborn Chis are tiny, but not proportionately so in comparison to their mother. In addition to being "big" puppies compared to their mothers, Chihuahua pups have large, round heads that are difficult for the mothers to push through the birth canal. Because these issues can cause problems for mother Chihuahuas, cesarean sections are frequently necessary; some Chihuahua parents even opt for planned C-sections.
Size of the Litter
The average size of a Chihuahua litter is three puppies, but they've been known to give birth to up to 10. The size of the litter can cause problems for mother Chihuahuas; fewer pups isn't always a better scenario. With a large litter, the developing puppies might need more room than the mother has to give. That can lead to premature delivery or even a burst uterus. If your Chihuahua is only carrying one or two puppies, though, they can grow uncommonly large, making it even more difficult for the mother to give birth naturally.
Low Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia is a problem common to Chihuahuas in general but, when a female is pregnant, it can become an issue for mother and puppies alike. Your mother-to-be needs sufficient nutrition to ensure that her blood sugar doesn't drop to dangerous levels that can cause seizures or even death. A mother Chi who has hypoglycemia can have hypoglycemic puppies, as well.
Sometimes mother Chihuahuas develop a condition called eclampsia, also known as milk fever. It's caused by low blood calcium and can be brought on by poor nutrition during pregnancy. A large litter for a small dog can be an issue, too, as numerous puppies will demand more nutrition from their mama. This condition is usually one that occurs within a month after puppies are born, but also has been known to show up in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Watch for Warning Signs
You should consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pregnant pooch; any odd behavior or symptoms should be brought to the attention of your vet. Stumbling, glassy eyes, listlessness and sometimes seizures are signs of low blood sugar. Irritability, panting, muscle spasms and fever can indicate that your Chihuahua has developed eclampsia. Additionally, if you take your pregnant Chi in for regular checkups during gestation, your vet can keep an eye on developing issues as well as monitor the growth of the puppies to help determine if a planned C-section will be necessary.
The Chihuahua Handbook; D. Caroline Coile
Mail Online: She's a Record Breaker! Coco the Chihuahua Gives Birth to an Astonishing 10 Pups
Pet MD: Postpartum Low Blood Calcium in Dogs
Terrific Pets: Breeding Your Chihuahuas and Complications With Delivery
Chihuahuas for Dummies; Jacqueline O'Neil
American Kennel Club: AKC Breeder Enewsletter
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.