Helping Your Pregnant Pet Through the Birthing Process

Female pets don’t gain a lot of weight or have strange cravings and they don’t prepare for the birth of their little ones, but you can tell she is definitely pregnant. Animals, including our pets, don’t need our help for much of anything but we can do some things to make their lives a little more comfortable and preparing for the big day when your pet gives birth to a host of puppies or kittens is one of those events we can help them with.

You will know the big day is coming when her appetite increases and her energy level decreases. She will also want to be left alone. Dogs usually give birth between 58 to 68 days after conception. Cats usually give birth between 60 to 68 days. The first thing you can do is bring her inside once she gives birth her litter will be very vulnerable to the outdoors, no matter if it’s the weather or other animals. The next thing you can do to help your pet through the birthing process is make a makeshift maternity ward. Make it nice and comfortable with a small blanket, enough newspaper to keep the little ones warm, and clean towels. Make a large enough cardboard box for mother and her kittens or puppies to move around fairly easily. After birthing and nursing all those little ones, your pet likes to move around and find some time to herself. One to two weeks before her due date help her move into her box, if she doesn’t jump in right away don’t worry she will probably jump right in when it’s time to give birth or shortly after.

One of the most important things you can do to help your pet through the birthing process is to be quiet and give her privacy. Giving birth is a little different for animals than it is for humans. They don’t like a lot of noise, commotion, or people standing around watching. Make sure it’s a warm comfortable, dry spot in the corner of one of her favorite areas. Not your bedroom or the kitchen or any place where there will be lots of traffic. A den, basement or garage will do just fine. For cats, make sure it’s dark. Right before the birth between 6 and 24 hours, your pet will start panting and pacing back and forth nervously. She will start digging around the floor (keep her off of the carpet unless it’s made just for her) looking for a place to rest. It will be very difficult to watch her go through this process but don’t interrupt and leave her alone. You can try to comfort her but most pets prefer to be left alone.

If she is not in the box you prepared for her, try to help her move into it. If she refuses, try moving the box near her. She will make her way to the box eventually and you can always put the puppies or kittens in the box, which will help her move into the box. If she doesn’t take to the makeshift box, don’t worry. Put down some clean towels and newspapers where she is located and just let her be. She knows what’s best and will set up shop the way she likes. One thing to remember is to not move her somewhere she doesn’t want to be it could delay the birthing process and harm the litter. One last thing you can do to help your pet through the birthing process is to not take pictures. Like I said before, the birthing process for animals is different from humans. Your pet will not appreciate a bunch of lights, cameras, and action during and even right after the birthing process. Wait a couple of weeks to take pictures. During the birthing process, some cats will let out very dramatic howls and sounds, similar to a baby crying, don’t be alarmed it’s perfectly nomal. Some dogs or cats will give birth in the squatting position and others will eat the placenta. Remember, let nature take its course what is unfamiliar to you is perfectly normal for them.

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