We have lots of Pitbull lovers around the world. While they have a dark past, Pitbulls have slowly evolved to become adorable companions that most people want for their families. Their history dates back to the 19th century. That’s way long before the development of some breeds. Even so, it’s surprising that the American Kennel Club (AKC) still doesn’t recognize them. But that doesn’t ruin one fact about them—that they are lovely beings.
Now, if you are a pet parent or a Pitbull owner, in particular, you can attest that not many things beat the delight of learning that your furry friend is pregnant. The excitement is even more when you find out that she’s expecting a litter of puppies.
Sure, it’s one thing that will bring joy. However, we must also admit that it’s likely to stir up a cocktail of emotions afterward. That’s especially true if you haven’t dealt with a pregnant Pitbull before.
How long does the pregnancy go? What are some of the care tips? Do Pitbulls need some special attention? What role exactly do you need to play in her life at such a time? Well, those are just a few of the many questions that will be racing in your mind.
We know that you love your Pitbull. Actually, that’s what brought you here in the first place. You want to ensure that you play your role well in her life on her way to becoming a mother. And yes, you just came to the right spot. Here, we will be providing every iota of information you need about your pregnant Pitbull.
How Long Does A Pitbull Pregnancy Last?
Whether it’s the tiny Chihuahuas or the mighty English Mastiff, the gestation period is the same for all dogs. No matter the breed, the pregnancy period lasts about 63 days in dogs. That means we should also expect Pitbull’s pregnancy to run for this time.
However, sometimes the period may vary by a few days depending on a few factors, for example, the litter size and the breed. Additionally, the fact that the day of breeding may not match that of conception makes it a little hard to know the specific date when your dog will give birth. Luckily, asking a vet to run tests may help predict the date with more accuracy.
Like in humans, the gestation period of Pitbulls is divided into three trimesters. Each trimester will run for approximately 21 days. The pregnancy may be unnoticeable in the first trimester but becomes visible with time.
How To Tell That Your Pitbull Is Pregnant
Now, you already have information on the pregnancy period for your Pitbull. But just how sure are you that your dog is pregnant. Now, similar to humans, it may not be easy for you to know whether your dog is pregnant days after conception.
A pregnancy test kit is all that humans need to know whether or not they have conceived. However, that doesn’t apply to dogs. You have to use alternative ways to find out whether your Pitbull is expecting little ones.
Now, the most reliable way of diagnosing pregnancy in Pitbulls is by visiting the veterinarian. Using their skills, the expert will ascertain whether your four-legged furry friend is on her way to becoming a mother. The diagnostic methods here include:
Abdominal Palpation is one of the traditional ways of confirming pregnancy. This method involves careful massaging of the dog’s abdomen area using fingers. It is reliable when done four and a half to five weeks after conception.
Where the dog is pregnant, the vet will feel small golf-like structures in the uterus. Of course, such a method requires one to be very careful not to damage the fetuses. As a result, it’s wise not to do it without the assistance of a vet.
Although it’s a reliable method of detecting your Pitbull’s pregnancy, we have to admit that Abdominal Palpation largely depends on the skill of the person, litter size, timing, the dog’s temperament. Remember that not all dogs will allow you to touch them anywhere you want.
Additionally, you also have to know that this method won’t provide detailed information about the pups. For instance, the technique won’t disclose details on the litter size and the viability of the fetuses.
The other method your veterinarian is going to use is an abdominal ultrasound. This technique involves detecting the heartbeat of the fetuses. Usually, it will be two to three times that of the mother.
Ultra-sound remains the “gold standard” method of diagnosing pregnancy in dogs. That’s because it provides more information, not just on whether or not pregnant but also the condition of the pregnancy.
When using this method, the vet may tell you the number of puppies your Pitbull is carrying and the gestation age. Additionally, the expert will provide information on the health of the fetuses, allowing you to know whether the pups will survive or not.
Ultrasound will detect pregnancy as early as three weeks after breeding. However, at times you may miss it during these early days. However, the reliability of this method becomes absolute 30 days after breeding.
While it’s a great way of evaluating pregnancy in Pitbulls, it also has a few drawbacks. For instance, ultrasound may not provide reliable information on the number of pups your dog is carrying.
Relaxin Canine Pregnancy Test
The other way a vet can use to check whether your pet has conceived is by testing for the Relaxin hormone in the blood. Relaxin hormone is only present in the blood during pregnancy. That’s because it’s produced by the developing placenta after implantation. With that said, it’s an accurate method of providing a “yes” or “no” answer on whether your Pitbull is pregnant.
However, the method won’t work until after 25-30 days after conception. If the results turn negative after the test, it’s advisable to perform it again a week later to confirm the results. Keep in mind that at times you may have the wrong information on pregnancy age.
If you have interacted with dogs for quite some time, you may have noticed that they at times behave as if they are pregnant. That’s called Pseudopregnancy, and it’s a trick of nature. This condition may present signs of pregnancy, usually weeks after the heat period. However, Pseudopregnancy doesn’t trigger the production of relaxin. Hence, this hormone test is a reliable way to distinguish between the condition and actual pregnancy.
On the drawbacks, this way of diagnosis doesn’t provide more information on the pregnancy. You are testing for a “pregnancy hormone” and not whether the pups are healthy.
Another way your vet may use to check your Pitbull’s pregnancy status is by using radiographs. This method involves performing X-rays on the abdominal part of your bitch. Using this method, your vet can find out information on pregnancy status and the number of puppies to expect during delivery. The technique will also give details about the size of the puppies and the position.
Veterinarians will also use radiographs to detect any unborn puppies after delivery takes place. Therefore, it’s a technique you are going to need both during your dog’s gestation period and afterward as well.
The negative side about the X-ray method it will only be viable in the last trimester. That’s because the technique isn’t effective until the puppies’ bones mineralize. That means for a radiograph to show your puppies’ skeleton, you may have to wait until of gestation period.
Sure, we expect most of the Pitbull parents will by then be knowing the pregnancy status of their canines. Therefore, most of them won’t use it to confirm pregnancy but for in-depth details about it.
Signs That Your Pitbull Is Pregnant
As previously stated, a medical test is the most reliable way to confirm the pregnancy test of your adorable Pitbull. However, before you find your way to the vet, it’s good to know how a pregnant Pitbull will behave. You may notice at least one of these signs.
One sign of a pregnant Pitbull is an increase in food intake. It’s normal for dogs to need more food with an increase in activity level. However, if you haven’t changed your dog’s routine but are noticing appetite improvement, that may symbolize pregnancy.
For a dog with an appetite the size of Texas like Pitbull, noticing appetite changes may not be easy. However, if you are keen enough, you may discover a substantial increase in the food they need.
Rapid Weight Gain
An increase in appetite and the ongoing fetal development will cause pregnant Pitbulls to put on more weight. Actually, since fetal development is rapid in dogs, you may notice a sudden increase in your Pitbull’s weight.
Increase In Nipple Size
The other thing that may hint to you that your Pitbull has conceived is increased nipple size. Actually, the enlargement of nipples is one of the first signs you will notice in your dog. When you see them grow longer and wider, your Pitbull may become a mother very soon. The good thing about Pitbull is that they don’t have much hair on their belly, so it will be easy for you to notice this change.
The other physical indicator that you have a pregnant Pitbull is swollen belly. As the fetal development continues, you may notice an increasingly bulging stomach. Pitbulls have a sturdy, muscular physique, something that makes it hard to spot the change. However, as the puppies continue to grow inside her, this sign will become more visible.
Apart from the signs above, you are also likely to see others. Your pitbull may display nesting behavior, easy tiring, more affection, irritation, and others. Actually, the signs may differ from one dog to another.
One thing to keep in mind is that looking at physical signs isn’t a reliable way to determine a dog’s pregnancy status. Some of these signs will manifest— not as a result of pregnancy but because of a medical condition. Therefore, when you notice one or a few of the following, it’s wise to get to your vet as soon as you can.
Stages of Pregnancy in Pitbulls
As aforementioned, the gestation period for a Pitbull is about nine weeks. This period is divided into three trimesters. Each of the trimesters has three weeks. In the section below, we will be taking you through the changes you are likely to see in your pregnant Pitbull throughout this time.
Before we get into the things that take place in the first trimester, it’s worth noting that for your dog to conceive, she has to mate several times. Only after the ovulation and mating period elapses will conceiving take place. That explains why most Pitbull parents experience difficulties in knowing the exact date their pet conceived.
Now, after successful conception, the puppy development process begins. In the early days of this trimester, your Pitbull may experience morning sickness and nausea. Where she contracted an infection when mating, the signs may begin to manifest.
Also, it’s in the first trimester when the embryos move to the uterus. Implantation will also take place at this stage, ensuring that they get essential nutrients from the mother. That’s why you may notice an increase in appetite very early into pregnancy. However, the size of the little one this time is as small as less than a centimeter.
In the first trimester, it’s advisable to provide adequate exercise to your pet. By doing this, your Pitbull will remain active and healthy. Also, avoid using any flea treatment products on your pet this early unless the vet advises otherwise.
The second trimester will commence at the beginning of the fourth week of the gestation period. Usually, it will continue until the end of the sixth week of pregnancy. At this time, essential parts like the eyes, spine, toes, whiskers, and claws begin developing.
It’s in the mid-stage of the second trimester when abdominal palpations may reveal pregnancy. However, as the amniotic fluid continues to build-up to protect the babies, the little ones are not likely to be felt.
At this stage, growth is very rapid. That’s why a swelling belly becomes more visible. The weight will also begin to increase gradually. In the very trimester, the nipples will grow dark and swollen.
One thing to keep in mind is that deformation is more likely to take place at this stage. That’s why vets advise that you avoid strenuous exercise. You may also consider using plenty of puppy food mixes in your dog’s diet.
This stage is the final trimester of your Pitbull’s pregnancy. It will ideally begin at the start of the seventh week and continue until delivery takes place. At this time, development is already complete. That means you can now get back to a regular diet.
If by this time you haven’t prepared a place where whelping will take place, do it in haste. Keep in mind that delivery can happen at any time. Make the place as comfortable as possible. Also, ensure that you train your Pitbull to begin spending most of her time there.
At the end of the eighth week, the movement of the puppies may become visible. That’s especially true when the dog is lying down. It’s also at this time that the dog begins to produce colostrum-rich milk.
Keep close monitoring of her body temperature. 12 to 24 hours before labor begins, the temperature may drop to about 97 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also notice a decrease in appetite.
When labor contractions begin, you will realize that the dog gets restless. A clear fluid discharge from the vagina is also visible. It won’t take long after you see this when delivery begins. Your adorable Pitbull will then deliver the puppies one after the other to the last one. The delivery interval may vary between half an hour to an hour.
Tips For Taking Care of Pitbull Puppies
Successful delivery is one thing that will bring you delight. However, one thing to remember is that the scope of your roles as a pet parent just got widened. Like babies, newborn puppies are very delicate and need a lot of care. In the section below, we are going to give you care tips for your newborn puppies.
Take Note of the Temperature
After giving birth, it’s advisable to leave the mother and her puppies in the whelping area. Let them stay there for quite some time. However, ensure that you provide a comfortable temperature for them. Remember that the puppies are young and can’t regulate their temperature on their own.
At first, you can keep the temperature at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can reduce this temperature to about 75 degrees later on. If you stay in a cold place, you don’t have an option but to get a heating device to maintain a healthy and comfortable temperature.
Keep Their Ancestors In Mind
The initial intent for breeding Pitbulls was to participate in blood sports. Of course, we don’t expect such a breed to be so friendly, especially to other animals. Training will make your dog behave well. However, it won’t rub off the “violence” thing running deep in their genetic makeup.
I mean, after delivery, even the things your dog learned in training don’t apply. After giving birth, your Pitbull may become aggressive and overprotective. That’s normal for every loving mother. If you have other pets, it’s advisable to keep them away from the mother. Juniors may also have it rough whenever they come closer to the mother.
Keep A Keen Eye On the Puppies
Like babies, newborn puppies have a weak immune system. They are more vulnerable to infections at this stage than at any other time in their life. That’s why as a responsible Pitbull parent, you have to monitor their well-being closely.
Since they are weak, infections won’t take much time to manifest. When you notice any unusual signs or behaviors, it’s always advisable to seek the vet’s attention straight away. You also have to ensure that they are suckling enough.
Like humans, pregnant Pitbulls need special care and attention. That’s one of the times when you can show your support and love for them. You have to monitor your dog closely. Where possible, work closely with your vet. Fortunately, this period will only last for about two months.
However, your role doesn’t end when the delivery happens. In fact, expect to do more after whelping. At this time, you aren’t just directing your focus to the dog but the little ones as well. Puppies need very close attention if at all they have to survive. Luckily, with adequate care, there are high chances of them growing healthy and strong.