In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How many puppies can a Chihuahua have? We will discuss in detail how to care for a pregnant Chihuahua, what are the first signs of labor, and how to assist a Chihuahua at birth.
How many puppies can a Chihuahua have?
A Chihuahua can have up to 4 or 5 puppies, although the normal thing is that she gives birth to a maximum of 2 or 3 puppies. In cases where the female gives birth to more than 2 or 3 cubs, there is a greater chance that she will have problems after giving birth.
Once the dog has given birth, you will be surprised by the tiny size of the puppies. Care must be taken that the mother does not harm the young by sitting on it.
The Chihuahua is a breed of dog easily identifiable by its small size. Precisely because of this characteristic, pregnancy can be potentially dangerous, due to a greater risk of not supporting a certain number of puppies. These are usually surprisingly small at birth, so care must be taken that the mother does not unintentionally harm them.
If you are thinking of having a Chihuahua, or if you already have this breed at home and it has occurred to you to cross it so that it has babies, you should think twice. Think that a dog requires time, patience, and money and if you also have to take responsibility for the offspring, multiply the above. Think that once the young are born, you will have to take responsibility and pay even more attention to cover all their needs.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a Chihuahua yet, a good option is to adopt. Think that you not only fulfill your desire to have a dog, but you give an opportunity to an abandoned dog that needs it, so you both come out winning.
Gestation of the female Chihuahua
The gestation of a female Chihuahua usually lasts a minimum of 58 days and a maximum of 65. When the gestation period is shorter than usual, a premature delivery occurs that implies a greater risk when the puppies are born healthy; when the delivery occurs later, it is called late delivery, and sometimes it must be provoked to ensure that the puppies are born alive.
During this period, it is recommended that we take the dog for a frequent walk, contrary to what some people may think, in addition to adopting an adequate diet that guarantees the correct nutrition of the dog. It is not so much about the quantity of food, but about the quality of it. For this reason, it is important to go to the vet to monitor the female’s health.
When a Chihuahua gives birth
Chihuahuas are usually exposed to more risks in childbirth, due to the small size of the dog. One of the first signs that warn about the approach of delivery is the presence of milk a week before. Within days of the expected event, the Chihuahua is likely to show signs of nervousness and to be restless, for example scratching the floor or walls.
Labor can last between 5 and 24 hours, with the possibility of reaching 36 hours in first-time mothers. Another of the signs that alert us that the female is going to give birth is a drop in body temperature, reaching 37 degrees, taking into account that they usually have a temperature of 39 degrees.
Once the water breaks, it may take a few hours for the puppies to go outside. The moment the female begins to expel the puppies, she will make movements that will alert us that she is pushing. These movements are usually done every two-three minutes. As the labor progresses, it can be observed that the female Chihuahua presents more pain and movements are more continuous.
Should I go to a vet when my Chihuahua gives birth?
In the beginning, it is not necessary to go to the vet for your Chihuahua to give birth. It is important to take her to the vet to monitor the good health of both the mother and the puppies during pregnancy.
Before the delivery takes place, it is highly recommended to perform an ultrasound that reveals the number of puppies that will give birth and if they are in a poor position.
According to this information and based on the experience of the veterinary profession, the possibility that the dog can give birth at home will be evaluated, or otherwise, the need to take her to the veterinary center after presenting the first symptoms.
How to know if my dog is in labor?
- The behavior of the female Chihuahua: The first aspect that will alert you to whether your dog is in labor is her behavior. Between one and two weeks before delivery, you will notice that your pet begins to adopt a maternal behavior, looking for a quiet place inside the house where to prepare the nest. When the delivery is very close, we can detect a certain nervousness in the animal.
- Rectal temperature: Rectal temperature, obtained by inserting a thermometer into the animal’s anus, is one of the most reliable indicators of the proximity of parturition. This temperature, which normally hovers around 38 degrees Celsius, drops one degree between 12 and 24 hours before birth, falling to 37ºC.
As we have seen, normal rectal temperature values change from one bitch to another (generally it is between 37.5 and 39 degrees), so we recommend gradually measuring it during the week before giving birth.
- Other physical signs: Although it may be more or less obvious, when a bitch is pregnant you will see how the breasts develop and produce milk. To know if your bitch is in labor, you can note that, about a day before giving birth, the mucous plug is expelled, observing the discharge of a discharge, usually whitish or yellowish, through the bitch’s vulva.
- The posture of the dog: Another of the most obvious points that will help you to know if your dog is in labor is that, when they are going to give birth, future mothers tend to go to the place they had previously chosen for it and usually lie on their side. Then the contractions begin, a clear sign that the puppies are about to arrive.
Caring for a pregnant dog
It is essential that to guarantee the health of your dog and that of her puppies, you take extreme care that you provide to your pet during the gestation period. You should pay special attention to basic aspects such as:
Food: you should increase the quality of the food you give your dog so that the puppies grow up healthy, it is also important that you give your dog a larger portion, as well as that you give her a little milk a day. In this article, you will clearly read how to feed a pregnant dog.
Physical activity: it is also important that, during pregnancy, your dog goes for a walk longer than normal and you make her exercise so that she stays in shape.
More affection: during pregnancy, the dog will be more sensitive than normal, so it is essential that you be more affectionate with her, that you pamper her more, and that you do not leave her many hours alone at home.
Frequent visits to the vet: To ensure that your dog is having a healthy pregnancy, a check-up at the vet is essential.
How to help my dog take care of her puppies?
The arrival of new puppies tends to excite pet owners a lot, but it is normal to feel certain doubts and concerns when seeing our weak dog after giving birth and sometimes having to attend to many little ones, that is why some people wonder about how to help your dog take care of puppies.
Steps to follow:
- First of all, you should know that it is normal for your dog to feel suspicious and distrustful when you intend to approach the puppies. You must understand that their instinct is to protect them, so it is best to give them their space and do not try to invade it.
During the first weeks of life, puppies cannot see well, which is why they search practically blindly for a warm place to stay and feed, usually in the area of the mother’s teats. A good way to prevent the little ones from leaving that area and suffering accidents is by closing the space so that they stay in the area close to mom.
- The first days it is very important that the little ones drink their mother’s milk because, as in the human case, it contains all the nutrients that will keep them healthy. But when it comes to very large litters, sometimes the bitch does not manage to have enough for all, in that case, you can feed them with porridge from 12 days of birth.
- Breastfeeding consumes a huge amount of calories that is why the dog must feed better than ever with a feed that contains a large amount of protein. Do not control the portions, but give him all the food he asks for as he is needing it, this way he will have more energy and produce better milk.
- It is common to see the mother lick the puppies with force and energy during the first weeks of life, especially in her genital and anal area to stimulate the sphincters.
If you stop doing it very early it will be necessary for you to take a cotton ball with warm water and pass it through this area so that the little ones can evacuate. This is essential to ensure your health and well-being, so be careful.
- You will have to perform the anal stimulation task every three hours after the puppies drink their milk and until they are able to defecate themselves, which will happen after a few weeks.
- Always keep puppies close to their mother until they gain more independence. If you notice your dog listless, discouraged, and with a poor appetite, consult your veterinarian.
It is also normal to ask yourself when you can separate the puppies from their mother in the event that you plan to find them a new home.
In conclusion, we want to leave you some tips to take care of Chihuahua puppies:
Try to persuade the female to go outside, in the fresh air, and for the toilet – this can be difficult immediately after birth. Remove and replace everything that was soiled during the birth, and then let the new family spend quietly.
If the puppies did not feed on the mother in the first hour after birth, you must guide them to one of the nipples, because they can be very hungry! Remember that the feeding of the puppy plays an important role at an early age, because the immune system, digestive system, teeth, and eyes are developing.
It is good to weigh the puppies to be convinced that their condition and evolution is good. Puppies that fail to gain weight, or lose weight, should be consulted quickly by a veterinarian to identify the reason. The low weight of a puppy after birth can mean a faster metabolism, but there can be other, more serious causes. That is why a veterinarian needs to determine the cause.
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FAQ on How many puppies a Chihuahua can have?
How long is a Chihuahua pregnant for?
A Chihuahua, like all dogs, can be pregnant for about 63 days. During this period, it is recommended that we take the dog for a frequent walk, contrary to what some people may think, in addition to adopting an adequate diet that guarantees the correct nutrition of the dog.
Is it dangerous for a Chihuahua to have puppies?
It can be dangerous for a Chihuahua to have puppies, being such a small breed. This is why, in order to avoid complications, most Chihuahuas give birth by cesarean.
What happens if a Chihuahua gets pregnant by a bigger dog?
If a Chihuahua gets pregnant by a bigger dog, the puppy will not fit in the birth canal. Most vets would recommend a cesarean in this case, but each dog is different so it’s better if you consult a veterinarian to discuss the options.
Can Chihuahuas mate with bigger dogs?
Chihuahuas can mate with bigger dogs, but the pregnancy can be complicated, due to the size of the mother.