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Poodle Pregnancy Information | Everything You Need to Know

Poodle Pregnancy Information Everything You Need to Know

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Poodle pregnancy time can be frightening for a first-time dog owner. Poodle owners need to be aware that a dog’s pregnancy needs regular veterinary checkups. The risk of miscarriage increases if a female is not properly monitored during her gestation period – especially over her last four weeks.

However, if you do your research and get enough information about poodle pregnancy, the road becomes much easier. This article is here to help you understand and care for your poodle throughout the pregnancy.

How to Tell If a Poodle Is Pregnant? 

Now, let's begin to understand how we can determine whether or not a poodle is pregnant. The first of many ways to confirm your poodle's pregnancy is to look out for nature's indicators. The other ways available involve a trained veterinarian but are a great way to be sure. Let's take a look at the different methods available to us.

Nature’s Indicators

A pregnant poodle usually shows between the fifth and eighth week of her pregnancy. As she lies on her side, her loin area puffs out and does not appear concave anymore. During that period, breast enlargement also occurs.

A bloated, distended abdomen is a common sight in pregnant dogs. In the first few weeks of her pregnancy, a dog may feel as if she's going to pop. She may also have difficulty lying on her side or even standing up.

When your dog is pregnant, you’ll want to make sure she’s comfortable. Pregnant pups can become uncomfortable, making it important to offer her a soft, warm bed.

As their time nears, they are unable to find a comfortable position. Most nest. 

Pregnant Miniature Poodle

A Pregnant White Miniature Poodle - Notice the enlarged nipples and abdomen.

It may take some time to see evidence in a small litter or a female poodle who is large, well-muscled, or deep-chested. The same is also true of a maiden or one with a profuse coat.

Some poodles may produce milk before they deliver puppies. Some poodles do not produce milk until after whelping.

Posing no risk to the mother or puppies, poodle parents may start feeling movement as early as 34 days but do not expect to feel anything until the last week to ten days. It’s very difficult to detect the movement of the pups until the last week or so, but it can be done. To feel pups move, place a hand on the belly near the loin.

Putting slight pressure on this area can cause the pups to move. Soon, you may feel tiny kicks and swimmy motions of the pups that live inside.

Ultrasound

While patience pays the same rewards as tests, most owners and breeders are too impatient to wait for the natural process.

This is for sure true with long-planned litters, female poodles who have a track record of infertility. 

Helpful for breeders, it can also help to put your mind at ease when you have families eagerly waiting for puppies.

A white pregnant poodle getting her ultrasound exam

A white pregnant poodle getting her ultrasound exam

With lots of experience and state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment, some practitioners offer the most accurate diagnosis of pregnancy as early as eighteen days.

Moderately priced, ultrasound is used for detecting pregnancy at early stages. A certain result can be concluded in 23 to 25 days.

Despite being one of the most popular testing methods, ultrasound is still considered a non-invasive prenatal test.

Palpating

Palpation is easiest when it’s small dogs such as miniature poodles or toy poodles carrying large litters. However, experienced professionals can make it work on large dogs such as a standard poodle with small litters too.

Veterinarian palpates the poodle's abdomen to chekc if she's pregnant

Veterinarian palpates the poodle's abdomen to chekc if she's pregnant

The female poodle should not be overweight and should be relaxed. From twenty-five to thirty days is the ideal time to palpate for pregnancy.

Through the abdominal wall, you can feel the uterus by grasping the belly in one hand. 

If you move your hand from your ribcage to the hips, the fluid-filled vesicles (placenta, blood, and fetus) slip through your fingers like a water balloon tied with knots. They are nearly as large as ping-pong balls at this stage.

This practice takes a gentle touch and even experienced breeders find it especially challenging. The female poodle may soon show other signs, and you will feel little kicks instead of lumps.

Pregnancy Test

International Canine Genetics (ICG) offers a simple and convenient way to test whether your dog is pregnant or not. This test is based on changes in blood proteins that occur in pregnant dogs by the fourth week of pregnancy.

In between twenty-eight and thirty-seven days, your vet can draw a blood sample, which will be sent to ICG for analysis.

The majority of pregnancies by then have been confirmed by ultrasound, palpation, or eyeball examination. Owners who lack access to a sonogram and whose pet is still debatable by four to five weeks can benefit from this test.

X-Ray

In case of doubt, an X-ray can be taken around the eighth week (or after forty-five days), when bones have calcified. Radiation causes no damage to the developing fetuses at that point.

X-Ray of a Pregnant Female Poodle

X-Ray of a Pregnant Female Poodle

Pregnant Poodle Symptoms

When a poodle is pregnant, there are lots of signs that can be seen. The first indication is an enlarged nipple. Sometimes this could grow to be as big as half an inch or more at the base.

The appetite of a pregnant poodle can be quite peculiar. They tend to have higher appetites, even the pickiest eaters.

Some poodles start to become droopy, sleeping more than usual, as if to prepare for the arrival of their pups.

Changes in behavior are another sign of pregnancy. An always-friendly dog might grow grumpy and irritable, snapping at any other pets that get near her favorite resting spots.

Your poodle may have a vulva that is slightly enlarged throughout her pregnancy, rather than shrinking back to its pre-season (anestrus) state. 

During the latter half of your dog's pregnancy, a string of crystal-clear mucus is often seen.

Near term, the backbone stands out in the same way as it does on an extremely thin animal. 

All of these are positive signs, but they are not conclusive.

During pregnancy, female poodles sometimes suffer from all symptoms associated with their human counterparts. During early pregnancy, most poodles are nauseated and refuse to eat. 

She may vomit yellow bile as a result of licking her mucous membranes.

Morning sickness is not harmful. 

To help your pregnant female poodle, feed small meals of bland food to help with the morning sickness. If your dog is vomiting for more than a week, if it becomes voluminous, or if it occurs more than once or twice a day, call your veterinarian.

What Does a Pregnant Poodle Look Like?

Here are some pictures of poodles to help you visualize what a pregnant poodle looks like.

How Long Are Poodles Pregnant For?

For poodles, gestational periods last for about 63 days on average, though the length of the term can vary by a couple of days.

This might seem like a straightforward answer, but conception can sometimes be difficult to determine.

What makes determining the exact gestation period particularly difficult is the fact that sperm may live inside a female dog's body for a couple of days and eggs can remain fertile for up to two days.

Without the assistance of a veterinarian, it is difficult to predict the length of pregnancy.

Pregnancy length based on accurate hormone measurements:

  • 56-58 days from the first day of diestrus
  • 64-66 days from the initial rise in progesterone
  • 58-72 days from the first time the bitch allowed breeding

Poodle Pregnancy: Month by Month

Poodles go through their pregnancy in a pretty short amount of time. During pregnancy, poodles pass through each stage quickly. It takes the unborn pups only two to three months to develop rapidly inside the womb due to their short gestation periods.

Month One

During the first month of canine pregnancy, the embryos start to travel to the uterine horns usually around day 7, and the embryos are embedded in the uterine lining around day 16.

An ultrasound should detect the fetal heartbeat by day 28 or 30 once the fetus begins to take shape by day 22.

While some dogs do show very noticeable symptoms, many remain unnoticed during the early stages of pregnancy. Some symptoms to look out for in the first month are as follows:

  • Increase in appetite
  • Enlarged Nipples (most common)
  • Morning Sickness
  • Decrease in physical activity
  • Clear vaginal discharge (around week four)
  • Changes in behavior (more affectionate)

Month Two 

As your dog enters the second month of pregnancy, it’s time to expect all kinds of changes. In the second month, the fetus develops rapidly.

The eyelids start to form at day 32, and the toes are visible at day 35. By day 40, the claws are fully formed, and by day 45, the puppy will have a soft coat and a skeleton.

By day 50, an x-ray is taken to see how many puppies will be in the litter, and the mother usually starts to find a place to nest around day 58.

During the first month of pregnancy, you may not be able to tell that your dog is pregnant. By the second month of pregnancy, however, the symptoms tend to be more obvious.

Some of the most common symptoms during the second month are as follows:

  • Hormonal changes cause a pregnant dog to have higher levels of appetite. This means you’ll likely notice your dog begging for more food.
  • Pregnant dogs will put on between 20 and 50 percent of their normal body weight.
  • Increased urination
  • Noticeable changes in behavior
  • Vaginal discharge that is clear and odorless
  • A firm, enlarged abdomen (days 45-50)
  • Appetite begins to decrease around day 45
  • Puppy movement visible in the abdomen on day 50

Month Three 

By the start of the third month, the female poodle will be ready to whelp. By day 58, puppy development has nearly been completed, which means the pups will begin moving into whelping position in the birth canal over the next few days.

Here are some of the expected changes that you will see in your poodle's third month of pregnancy:

  • As the puppies enter the birth canal, the waist will trim
  • Around day 61 or 62, appetite begins to decrease
  • Twelve to twenty-four hours before labor, body temperature drops
  • Restless behavior
  • Pacing, panting, shivering, or digging

Caring For a Pregnant Poodle

During pregnancy, your dog might act tired, thirsty, and irritable as her abdomen grows. Make sure she has a quiet place to rest away from the hustle of family life. Whelping boxes should be provided some time before the puppies are due to be born. Make sure the box is clean, dry, and away from other animals or small children as the smell from other animals or children may cause the mother to be alarmed.

When she is near birth, a pregnant dog may rummage through newspapers or carry pieces of clothing to her whelping box to prepare for birth. Make sure this area is kept in complete darkness, and don't allow visitors or family members near her.

It is best not to do things that could startle or upset a pregnant dog, such as installing new flooring or removing a familiar piece of furniture. Smells, sounds, and sights that are unfamiliar can cause distress to the dog.

A Pregnant Miniature Poodle Resting on Her Bed

A Pregnant Miniature Poodle Resting on Her Bed

The goal of a pet owner should be to keep the household as calm and organized as possible during this critical period in the pregnancy. Postpone prolonged guest stays or children having many sleepovers if possible. An insecure or nervous pregnant dog may seek a more distant and less exposed spot to give birth, whereas most dogs adjust just fine.

Children should be reminded that your female dog is expecting puppies, and that she needs to be treated gently and with care. As the due date approaches, it is a good idea to not get the dog too excited, just in case complications occur. Since most dogs do not stop playing, it is a good idea not to get her too excited. 

Her increased weight and the possibility that she may be experiencing pre-birth labor could cause her to fatigue more quickly and need a nap more frequently than normal. Keep clean water handy for her at all times.

Your poodle will appreciate your letting nature take its course when she is in labor. If you are needed to help her, stay calm and focused. A frightened or hysterical owner making an emergency delivery is the last thing your poodle needs. 

During the last couple of weeks of a dog's pregnancy, have the veterinarian's number posted in a prominent location. Also, get emergency telephone numbers for after-hours and weekends in case any complications arise during those times. 

Make sure to check the pregnant dog for signs of labor at least once a day. Also be on the lookout for symptoms of distress if the labor does not progress as it should. Consider having a car available in case of emergencies. Normally, animal birth is a smooth process, and most don't have any problems. However, it's a good idea to prepare for any eventuality, so you do not feel regret later.

It is important to follow these tips through pregnancy to ensure your poodle's comfort and safety, as well as to ensure the health and happiness of her puppies.

What to Feed a Pregnant Poodle?

During pregnancy, pregnant poodles require special care to ensure their health and nutritional needs. They should be fed high protein, fat, and mineral food. Pregnant poodle’s dietary needs will increase by approximately one-and-a-half times their normal rate, so you may need to buy more dog food. 

Young pregnant black poodle

Young pregnant black poodle

If you’re looking for a good dog food to buy for your pregnant poodle, here are some that I recommend:

You should not withhold food from a pregnant dog, since she'll need extra nutrition for strong and healthy puppies. It is normal for the pregnant dog to eat in smaller portions more frequently, particularly if she is experiencing morning sickness.

There may be times when pregnant dogs suddenly become ravenous. This is normal, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy since the pup's fetal growth is the fastest. During the first few weeks after giving birth, the amount of food for pregnant dogs may continue to increase. 

It is important to take special care of pregnant dogs to avoid obesity and blood sugar problems that could cause problems for the puppies and the mother. However, it is not a good time to change their diets drastically. Additionally, a consultation with the veterinarian can determine if there are any problems with her blood sugar levels.

Dietary supplements for pregnant dogs are generally not recommended, because too much calcium or other minerals and vitamins could have adverse effects on the dogs and the puppies. Adding supplements to the dog's diet and information about diet for pregnant dogs should be sought from the veterinarian.

Exercise Requirements for a Pregnant Poodle

The exercise that pregnant poodles need should not be too intense. Pregnant poodles should not be taken to dog shows or required to attend obedience training to add stress to their situation. Just as with pregnant mothers in humans, pregnant poodles require easy, non-stressful exercise.

White Miniature Poodle Exercising

White Miniature Poodle Exercising

Pregnant dogs need regular short walks, light play sessions, and attention. Make sure she isn't overstimulated, but also make sure she doesn't become lethargic.

Pregnant dogs should be kept separate from other dogs and animals during their last three weeks of pregnancy, and they should exercise indoors instead of outdoors during this period.

A pregnant dog should be confined to an indoor environment during the last three weeks of pregnancy as she may contract parasites and illnesses that affect both her and her puppy. She is also at risk for contracting canine herpes, which can lead to stillbirth.

Treatments for Pregnant Poodles

Vaccines required for conditions such as flea, worm, and parasite treatments cannot be given to pregnant dogs without consulting a veterinarian. Pregnant dogs have fewer treatments, and avoiding medications as much as possible can be beneficial to the fetus.

Parasites outside the body and inside the body, like roundworms and fleas, need specific treatments. You should consult your veterinarian as early as possible so that the puppies are not exposed to these parasites.

Vet examining a pregnant red toy poodle

Vet examining a pregnant red toy poodle

Pregnant dogs can take certain treatments, such as heartworm prevention medication. All heartworm treatments are safe for pregnant dogs. There are several round worm treatments and hookworm treatments that are necessary for protecting puppies from these parasites. There are, however, some flea treatments that are not safe for pregnant dogs. Only Capstar and Revolution flea treatments are approved specifically for pregnant dogs.

Pregnant Poodle Shaking

There have been cases where a pregnant dog may start shivering and shaking, this is especially true during the first few weeks and the last few days. If this happens with your poodle, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. First and foremost, Maintain a close relationship with your local veterinarian as you monitor your pet as much as possible. Complications during pregnancy can arise in many different ways. 

A Pregnant Apricot Poodle Shaking

A Pregnant Apricot Poodle Shaking

The shivering and panting may be caused by exertion. Provide her with plenty of quiet time to rest and a very comfortable place to lie down.

As she is nearing her due date and is in the early stages of labor, she may shake or be in distress due to pain or contractions. She should be seen by a veterinarian if she is not near her due date or shows severe signs of distress, pain, or other illness.

As always, if you feel the condition is worsening at any point, get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as you can.

How to Help a Constipated Pregnant Poodle?

You may very well believe that your pregnant poodle is constipated if she has been eating normally and is producing smaller and smaller stools. This isn't uncommon in pregnant dogs. 

Constipated Pregnant Poodle

Constipated Pregnant Poodle

The result of constipation is a dog that stops eating, though pregnant dogs will sometimes stop eating as they approach term. The vets suggest adding rice to the food in order to produce stools that are easier to pass.

If the situation persists or gets worse, get in touch with a vet as soon as you can. With her being pregnant, it's better to be safe.

When Do Pregnant Poodle’s Nipples Go Back to Normal?

Poodle pups grow rapidly during the first few weeks after birth and cannot survive on milk alone. A veterinarian can prescribe a dietary modification to compensate for the mother's slow milk production after five or six weeks. This will prevent the mother from producing more milk than what her pups need. As their teeth and claws grow, they will be more uncomfortable for her to nurse, and she will begin rejecting their attempts at sucking. 

It takes about one week for her teats to return to normal at this stage, as her body gradually stops producing milk and the puppies begin eating solid food exclusively.

How Many Puppies Can a Poodle Have?

As a general rule, larger breeds generally have more pups in their litters than smaller breeds. The size of the parents will affect the number of pups in the litter. This means standard poodles, under normal conditions will almost always have a larger size than miniature or  a toy poodle.

A Brown Female Standard Poodle's Litter (1)

A Brown Female Standard Poodle's Litter (1)

For a Standard Poodle, you can expect a litter size of around 7 puppies.

(It was in 2014 when a Standard Poodle named Crystal gave birth to 16 puppies that made history!)

For a Miniature Poodle, It is normal to expect around five puppies.

Last but not least, Toy Poodles. As the smallest type of Poodle, they produce the least number of puppies per litter. Plan on around 3 pups - though singleton litters (in which only one puppy is produced) occur frequently.

It's not just the size of the mother that determines the Poodle's litter size, but also her age (older females usually produce fewer pups), her health (some health conditions lead to fewer pups) and when the litter is born.

More puppies can be expected the closer the mother is bred to the "perfect time of conception".

False Pregnancy in Poodles

Humans keep it simple, you're either pregnant or you’re not. But your female poodle might fool you and herself. However, it’s important to note that it might not be your poodle’s fault. Postestrus hormones can cause dogs to experience false pregnancy, or pseudocyesis.

It is normal for the hopeful mother to imagine that she is in a maternal state. She may exhibit symptoms like a distended belly, enlarged nipples and breasts, and may even produce milk. She may nest, pant, and even suffer contractions. This hopeful mother believes she is in a pregnant state in every way.

The few pregnant dogs who have been rebuked by their motherly instincts go on to adopt another small dog, a kitten, or stuffed toy in place of their own puppies.

A Female Poodle with her stuffed toy

A Female Poodle with her stuffed toy

Even though this may seem desirable to owners, it can be unpleasant for the poodle. Severe cases can cause cramps, caked breasts, and mastitis.

After estrus and ovulation, bitches are usually curious due to a release of hormones. While all of them experience this period of increased hormone release, most of them do not exhibit excessive symptoms. Pseudocyesis is caused by the release of hormones after estrus, and scientists do not know the exact cause, although they suspect prolactin, an anterior pituitary hormone, may play a role.

For those owners who planned to breed, it is discouraging when they-and she-tried so hard without a result. For those who have not bred a buck, it is scary to watch her blossom with her evident and unbridled passion.

False pregnancy can occur regardless of whether or not she has been bred.

An explanation for this is that dominant females prevented others from mating and having pups in the wild. Submissive females would be made to take care of the boss doggy's puppies as nannies or even nurses. What other choice does a poor doggy have but to imagine she is pregnant?

False pregnancies are apparent six to ten weeks after the heat period (during the "gestation" phase), which is another reason the owner assumes the poodle is pregnant. A few weeks usually pass before the episode ends.

Mild cases do not require treatment, though symptoms may be eased by reducing food and liquid intake. Mibolerone is a highly effective hormone, but since it may cause fetal abnormalities, it is important to make sure it is a false pregnancy before taking it.

You can use hot and cold packs on the female poodle's breasts if they are very big or uncomfortable, or use camphorated oil to soothe them.

Following a false pregnancy, a Golden Retriever showed lower fertility and smaller litters.

Recurrences can sometimes be prevented by whelping a litter. It is best to spay your poodle after the symptoms have subsided if the condition is chronic.

Wrapping Up

This is a long and comprehensive post, but I tried my best to answer all of your most pressing questions about poodle pregnancy so you can rest easy. I would love for you to leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook or Pinterest!


About the Author Nancy Williams

My name is Nancy Williams and I am a writer, activist, and gardening enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. I started PoodleGo to help poodle owners find the right information on a variety of topics. I want to help reduce your learning curve in dog ownership by providing useful facts and tips that you can use immediately.


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