How do I care for a pregnant pet?

IAH-mother-and-kittenAhhh, babies! Puppies and kittens sure are sweet, aren’t they? And while it’s tempting to want to be surrounded by them, please remember prompt spaying and neutering of adult pets reduces the number of unwanted and surrendered pet babies, and reduces adult health issues later in life, too. But, if you find yourself caring for a pregnant pet, read on for important tips.

Have your pregnant pet seen by a veterinarian

If you think your pet is pregnant, please get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Typically, the gestational period for cats and dogs is about 9 weeks; however, pets typically don’t show physical signs of pregnancy until later in this period. Your veterinarian has the experience and equipment to accurately predict how far along your pet is in her pregnancy and if she is suffering from any underlying health issues that may impact her ability to safely give birth.

Pregnant pets require special nutrition and care

Good nutrition is crucial for pregnant and nursing pets – Mom needs lots of extra calories, proteins and vitamins to help nurse her body and those of her growing babies. Malnutrition can cause severe health problems for Mom and can jeopardize her babies’ health. High-quality puppy or kitten formulas – which are loaded with proteins and fat content – are ideal to support a pregnant pet’s higher caloric and nutritional needs. In addition, make sure to offer her fresh, filtered water daily and a calm environment to rest in.

Pregnant pets need daily exercise

Like humans, pregnant pets need daily exercise to keep their metabolisms functioning properly. While rest is important – especially later in the gestational period – daily exercise prepares the body physically for labor and the whelping process. Make sure to offer pregnant cats lots of interactive toys that encourage playtime, and walk your pregnant dog 3-4 times daily for 15 minutes per walk through the 7th week.

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