Breeding, pregnancy, and birthing in cats may seem simple, but can have complications. Cats can have multiple litters in a year. It is important to know when your cat may be expecting to give birth so that you can be available to provide assistance if necessary. It is important to know what signs indicate that your cat may be experiencing difficulties delivering the kittens and know when veterinary attention is needed.
You can place most puppies in their new homes at around eight to ten weeks of age, ideally after ten weeks of age to ensure proper weaning and maximum social development. Treating for worms and first vaccinations should occur before puppies are placed in their new homes.
For the next two months, even if everything went smoothly with the birth, you have a lot of work to do!
During the first three weeks of life, puppies require little care from the owner, provided the mother is doing her job. Weaning describes the transition of the puppy's diet from its mother's milk to the solid growth diet of puppyhood. A good quality, veterinarian-recommended premium diet is essential for the proper development of your puppy. At the time of weaning, they should be fed small amounts often.
Although the majority of dogs will give birth without the need for human or veterinary assistance, certain problems can arise which require veterinary attention. It is important to closely monitor your pet during birthing and seek veterinary care if you have any concerns. If intense contractions have been occurring for twenty to thirty minutes without a puppy being born, it is important to contact your veterinarian.
Pregnancy in dogs, also called the gestation period, normally ranges from 57-65 days with an average of 63 days. It is important that she be in good physical condition before she is mated. During the last three weeks of pregnancy, your dog's food intake should increase by up to one and a half times the normal level, by feeding smaller meals more frequently.
Many owners find the companionship of their dog so rewarding that they feel they would like to breed their dog, to continue the bloodline and/or to keep a puppy. Others, especially first time dog owners, will acquire a female dog with the intent to breed her when she is old enough.
During the last week of pregnancy, the female often starts to look for a safe place for whelping. Some pets appear to become confused, wanting to be with their owners and at the same time wanting to prepare their nest. It is a good idea to get your pet used to the place where you want her to have her puppies well in advance of whelping. Some dogs like the owner to be with them the whole time they are in labor. Others prefer to have their puppies in seclusion.
A caesarean section or C-section is major surgery performed to remove kittens from the uterus. This is most commonly performed as an emergency procedure when there is difficulty with natural birth. Most cats recover quickly from this procedure. Most cats have fully recovered from anesthesia by the time they are discharged to go home.