Beagles are adorable and friendly dogs that make great companions and family pets. If you have a female beagle and you are planning to breed her or suspect she is pregnant, you might wonder how to take care of a pregnant beagle during this special time. Pregnancy is a delicate and important phase in your beagle’s life, and she will need your love, attention, and support to ensure a healthy and smooth delivery of her puppies.
In this article, I will cover some essential tips on how to care for a pregnant beagle, including how to detect the signs of pregnancy, how to provide a proper diet and exercise, how to prepare a comfortable whelping area, and what to expect during the labor and delivery process.
How to Detect the Signs of Pregnancy in Your Beagle
The first step in caring for a pregnant beagle is to confirm that she is indeed pregnant. There are two ways to determine if your beagle is pregnant: diagnostic testing and observation.
Diagnostic testing is the most accurate and reliable way to confirm your beagle’s pregnancy. There are several tests that your vet can perform, such as:
- Palpation: This is done when you are aware of the breeding date of your beagle. Your vet will perform abdominal palpation between 28 and 30 days after conception. Depending on the size of your beagle, the puppies will appear as small balls or grapes inside her abdomen.
- Hormone test: Relaxin is a hormone produced exclusively during pregnancy in dogs. Your vet will perform a blood test to see if your beagle is producing relaxin around the 25th to 30th day of pregnancy.
- Ultrasound: Your vet can perform an ultrasound between 25 and 30 days of gestation. The ultrasound will help your vet detect the number of puppies your beagle carries and hear their heartbeat. The image of your beagle’s womb is created using sound waves. It’s entirely safe for pregnant dogs.
- X-ray: This is the most accurate way to detect the number of puppies your beagle is expecting. However, it can only be done after 55 days of gestation, when the skeletons of the puppies are visible. This is very important because you will know when your beagle is finished delivering.
Observation is another way to detect the signs of pregnancy in your beagle. However, it is not as reliable as diagnostic testing, and some signs may not appear until the later stages of pregnancy. Some signs that you can observe are:
- Behavioral changes: Your beagle may become more affectionate, clingy, or protective of you. She may also seek out quiet and secluded places to rest and nest. She may lose her appetite in the early stages of pregnancy, but gain it back in the later stages.
- Physical changes: Your beagle may gain weight, especially around her abdomen. Her nipples may become larger, darker, and more prominent. She may also produce milk or colostrum (a yellowish fluid) from her nipples. Her vulva may remain swollen after her heat cycle.
- Morning sickness: Your beagle may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is normal and usually subsides by the fourth week. You can help her by offering small and frequent meals of bland food.
How to Care for Your Pregnant Beagle Week by Week
The gestation period for beagles is about 63 days or 9 weeks. During this time, your beagle will go through various physical and emotional changes that require your care and attention. Here is a week-by-week guide on how to care for your pregnant beagle:
Week one is the time when your beagle’s eggs are fertilized by the sperm. You may not notice any signs of pregnancy yet, but you should keep her routine as normal as possible. She doesn’t need any special diet or exercise at this point.
Week two is when the fertilized eggs implant into your beagle’s uterus. You may still not see any signs of pregnancy, but you should avoid exposing her to any stress or toxins that may harm the developing embryos.
Week three is when the embryos start to develop into recognizable puppies. You may notice some behavioral changes in your beagle, such as being more affectionate or lethargic. You can start feeding her high-quality dog food that is specially formulated for pregnant or nursing dogs. You can also give her a prenatal supplement that contains folic acid, iron, and calcium to support her health and the growth of the puppies.
Week four is when the puppies’ organs and features start to form. You may notice some physical changes in your beagle, such as weight gain, enlarged nipples, and a swollen abdomen. You can take her to the vet for an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and the number of puppies. You can also increase her food intake by 10% to meet her increased energy needs.
Week five is when the puppies’ skeletons start to harden and their hair starts to grow. You may notice that your beagle’s appetite increases significantly, and she may start to show signs of nesting behavior, such as digging or shredding bedding. You can increase her food intake by another 10% and provide her with plenty of fresh water. You can also start preparing a comfortable and quiet whelping area for her, where she can give birth and nurse her puppies.
Week six is when the puppies’ eyes and ears start to develop. You may notice that your beagle becomes more restless and uncomfortable, as the puppies take up more space in her abdomen. You can help her by providing soft bedding, gentle massage, and extra attention. You can also divide her food into smaller and more frequent meals, as she may have difficulty eating large amounts at once.
Week seven is when the puppies’ lungs start to mature and they become more active inside your beagle’s womb. You may notice that your beagle’s abdomen moves or twitches as the puppies kick or move around. You can monitor her temperature daily, as a drop of about one degree Celsius indicates that labor is imminent. You can also make sure that the whelping area is ready and stocked with supplies, such as towels, blankets, scissors, dental floss, a thermometer, a heating pad, and an emergency vet’s number.
Week eight is when the puppies are fully developed and ready to be born. You may notice that your beagle becomes more anxious and restless, as she looks for a suitable place to deliver. She may also stop eating or drinking, panting heavily, shivering, or vomit. These are signs that labor is starting. You can help her by staying calm and supportive and letting her choose where she wants to give birth. You can also assist her by gently cleaning the puppies as they are born, cutting the umbilical cords, and checking for any complications or abnormalities.
Week nine is when the puppies are nursing and growing rapidly. You may notice that your beagle is very protective of her litter, and may not want to leave them alone. She may also be very hungry and thirsty, as she produces milk for her puppies. You can help her by providing her with plenty of food and water, and keeping the whelping area clean and warm. You can also monitor the health of the puppies, such as their weight, temperature, breathing, and elimination. You can also take them to the vet for their first check-up and vaccination.
How long are beagles pregnant?
Regardless of their breed, dogs generally give birth around 63 days after conception. A normal canine pregnancy can vary between 60 to 65 days. If a Beagle has not given birth by the 65th day, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention.
How many puppies do beagles usually have?
Usually, Beagles will have a litter size ranging from 1 to 10 puppies. Beagle mothers tend to maintain a consistent litter size pattern. If a Beagle has a substantial litter, probably, her subsequent litters will probably also be large, and the same principle applies if she has smaller litters.
What do you feed a pregnant Beagle?
Provide your Beagle with top-notch puppy food to boost their fat, protein, and nutrient intake. As the puppies grow, gradually increase the food amount by 10-25% per week.
When can you feel puppies move?
Between days 43 and 49 of gestation, the puppies have reached an advanced stage of development and are now focusing on increasing their size in preparation for birth. During this week, you may start to feel the puppies moving inside your dog’s belly. Additionally, the mother dog’s mammary glands are well-developed and may contain a small amount of colostrum, often referred to as “first milk.”
Pregnant beagle care is not difficult if you know what to expect and how to provide for your beagle’s needs. By following these essential tips, you can ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery for your beagle and her puppies. Remember to consult your vet if you have any questions or concerns about your beagle’s pregnancy or health. I wish you all the best in this exciting journey! 🐶