Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
There are many questions surrounding Shih Tzu pregnancy that owners need answers to!
We receive many of these questions on a daily basis, so it’s time we summed everything up in one concise article.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about Shih Tzu pregnancy, including how long it lasts, signs that your Shih Tzu is pregnant, the number of puppies you can expect in a litter, and more.
This information is vital for a responsible Shih Tzu owners, so let’s dive in!
How long are Shih Tzus pregnant for?
The first thing you should know is that Shih Tzus, like all dogs, have a relatively short gestation period. On average, a Shih Tzu’s pregnancy lasts for about 63 days.
This is a general timeframe, and it could vary slightly from one dog to another (typically ranging between 58-68 days).
It’s essential to keep a close eye on your pregnant Shih Tzu, especially during the final weeks, to ensure that she and her puppies are healthy and safe.
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Signs that your Shih Tzu is pregnant
Recognizing the signs of pregnancy in your Shih Tzu is crucial.
This will help you prepare for the arrival of the new puppies and ensure the best possible care for your dog. Here are some common signs of pregnancy in Shih Tzus:
- Decreased appetite: It’s not uncommon for pregnant Shih Tzus to experience a loss of appetite during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes and should not be a cause for concern. Her appetite will likely increase later in the pregnancy.
- Changes in behavior: Pregnant Shih Tzus may become more affectionate or seek more attention. They might also become more protective of their surroundings. It’s essential to be attentive to these behavioral changes and provide a safe and comfortable environment for your dog.
- Swollen abdomen: As the pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice that your Shih Tzu’s belly will gradually enlarge. This is a clear sign that puppies are on the way!
- Increased weight: A pregnant Shih Tzu will gain weight throughout the pregnancy. Regular visits to the veterinarian will help ensure that your dog’s weight gain is healthy and not excessive.
- Nesting behavior: As the due date approaches, your Shih Tzu may start to prepare a nesting area for her puppies. She might gather blankets or other soft materials to create a comfortable space to give birth.
Keep in mind, you might notice some signs more than others, so keep an open mind and watch for any of them.
I remember when my first dog was pregnant, I was so fixated on watching out the change swollen abdomen I completely missed the initial signs of appetite changes and mood swings.
It’s best to keep an eye out for all the signs!
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How many puppies can you expect in a Shih Tzu litter?
The size of a Shih Tzu litter can vary, but on average, you can expect 3 to 5 puppies per litter.
Litter sizes can sometimes be as small as one or as large as eight, depending on factors like the mother’s age, overall health, and genetics.
Keep in mind that smaller litters are not uncommon for Shih Tzus, especially during their first pregnancy.
Risks and complications with Shih Tzu pregnancies
As with any pregnancy, there are potential risks and complications that can occur during a Shih Tzu pregnancy.
Being aware of these risks can help you take the necessary precautions and seek veterinary assistance if needed. Some common risks and complications include:
- Dystocia (difficulty giving birth): Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a short, flat face. This can sometimes lead to complications during birth, as the puppies may have larger heads relative to the size of the birth canal. In some cases, a cesarean section may be necessary to safely deliver the puppies.
- Eclampsia (milk fever): Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition that can occur in nursing dogs due to a rapid drop in blood calcium levels. Signs of eclampsia include muscle tremors, restlessness, panting, and even seizures. If you suspect your Shih Tzu is experiencing eclampsia, seek immediate veterinary attention. This condition can be prevented by providing proper nutrition during pregnancy and nursing.
- Retained placenta: After giving birth, a Shih Tzu will usually expel the placenta for each puppy. If a placenta is retained, it can lead to infection and other complications. Keep track of the number of placentas expelled and consult your veterinarian if you suspect one has been retained.
- Mastitis (breast infection): Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands and can occur in nursing dogs. Signs of mastitis include swelling, redness, and heat in the affected mammary gland, as well as fever and lethargy. If you suspect your Shih Tzu has mastitis, contact your veterinarian for appropriate treatment.
- Inadequate milk supply: Some Shih Tzus may struggle to produce enough milk for their puppies. If this occurs, you may need to supplement the puppies’ diet with a milk replacer specifically formulated for puppies. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on proper supplementation.
To minimize the risks and complications associated with Shih Tzu pregnancies, maintain regular veterinary check-ups and follow your vet’s recommendations regarding proper care and nutrition.
By being proactive and attentive to your dog’s needs, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery for your Shih Tzu.
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Caring for your pregnant Shih Tzu
As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to provide the best possible care for your pregnant Shih Tzu. Here are some tips to ensure a healthy pregnancy:
- Schedule regular vet visits: Your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s health and the progress of the pregnancy. They can also provide advice on proper nutrition and exercise during this time. According to VCA Hospitals, it’s essential to have your dog examined by a vet early in the pregnancy to identify any potential complications.
- Provide proper nutrition: A pregnant Shih Tzu will require a diet that meets her increased nutritional needs. It’s essential to feed her a high-quality dog food formulated for pregnant or nursing dogs. You may also need to increase her daily food intake to support her growing puppies. Consult your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations.
- Moderate exercise: Gentle exercise, like short walks, can help keep your pregnant Shih Tzu in good shape without causing undue stress. Avoid intense activities or rough play, as these can be harmful to the pregnancy.
- Create a comfortable environment: As mentioned earlier, pregnant Shih Tzus may exhibit nesting behavior. Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to rest and eventually give birth. This area should be clean, warm, and free from hazards.
Preparing for the arrival of puppies
Once your Shih Tzu’s due date is near, it’s time to prepare for the arrival of her puppies. Here are some steps to take:
- Assemble a whelping box: This is a designated area where your dog will give birth and care for her puppies. It should be large enough for your dog to move around comfortably and have low sides so she can easily enter and exit. Line the box with blankets or towels that can be easily changed and washed.
- Gather necessary supplies: Stock up on essential items, such as clean towels, disposable gloves, a digital scale to weigh the puppies, and a bulb syringe to clear their airways if needed. Have your veterinarian’s contact information handy in case of emergencies.
- Monitor your dog closely: In the final days of pregnancy, keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu for signs of labor, such as restlessness, panting, or nesting behavior. If you notice any signs of distress or complications, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Caring for your Shih Tzu after giving birth
After your Shih Tzu has given birth, it’s important to continue providing her with the care and attention she needs. Here are some tips:
- Ensure proper nutrition: Nursing Shih Tzus require a diet that meets their increased nutritional needs. Continue feeding her a high-quality dog food formulated for pregnant or nursing dogs, and consult your vet for any necessary adjustments in her daily food intake.
- Keep the whelping area clean: Regularly change the bedding in the whelping box to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the mother and her puppies.
- Monitor your dog’s health: Keep an eye on your Shih Tzu for any signs of postpartum complications, such as fever, lethargy, or excessive bleeding. If you notice anything concerning, contact your veterinarian right away. PetMD provides a helpful guide on caring for your dog after giving birth.
Taking care of a pregnant Shih Tzu can be a rewarding experience for any pet owner.
By understanding the ins and outs of Shih Tzu pregnancy, you can ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her puppies.
Keep these tips in mind, and remember to consult your veterinarian with any questions or concerns. Good luck, and enjoy the journey with your furry friend and her new family!