LeeLo's Pregnancy Diary

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

Follow along with LeeLo's 2020 pregnancy diary, a recording of milestones and stages that may help future breeders as they await a litter.


Proestrus - October 17-27. First signs of bleeding

Estrus - October 28- October 31, peak LH on Oct. 30

Day 1 - We are starting the day she was first bred, which in this case was October 28. This would give us a due date of between 12/26 and 12/31.

Day 3 - Second breeding on bred Oct 30

Diestrus - Day 6, Nov 1-2

Day 21 - No outward signs of pregnancy. It will still be a couple weeks!

Day 25 - Nipples suddenly started to "pink up." She's become noticeably quieter, calmer. Some clear vulvar discharge.

Day 26 - clipped belly for clearer view going forward. Should be easier to tell if there are any changes in the next couple weeks. If she's pregnant, it will first be most noticeable in the area near the second nipple at the bottom of the ribcage between weeks 4 and 5. Crossing fingers! Day 26 photo below


 

Day 36 - It's now week 5 and we're just chugging along! We have pregnancy confirmation and can see the changes. It's amazing how much development takes place in just a week. We've noticed a little increase in appetite with a more careful approach to how she's playing with the other dogs - she's definitely trying to stay away from the rough play. 34 day photo below


 

Day 42 - Things are really moving along now! It's clear even to strangers that she's pregnant. She's become a velcro dog, staying by my side even when we're out in the yard. Still a clear vulvar discharge which is gross but completely normal. At this stage the puppies are growing rapidly, and LeeLo's appetite is increasing, so let's talk about food. Puppy food is often recommended for a dog in the last stages of pregnancy as it is more nutritionally dense per bite. We will be feeding Purina Pro Plan puppy to our puppies but for our expectant mom, we're going different route.


Veterinary nutritionists recommend a pregnant female be fed "a highly digestible, very palatable commercial diet. It should contain at least 29 percent protein and 17 percent fat. High amounts of soluble carbohydrates and a low fiber content are important to ensure adequate energy intake and to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in late pregnancy. Adequate intake of calcium (between 1 and 1.8 percent) and phosphorous (between .8 and 1.6 percent) intake is important for adequate milk production by the bitch so that the pups’ bones form properly." (https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeding/the-care-and-feeding-of-the-breeding-bitch-part-one/)


Normally we feed our adult dogs Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon formula and Inception canned fish recipe, but this week we are transitioning LeeLo to the higher protein, higher fat Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 with the canned Inception. LeeLo is already naturally thin, so we want to be sure we're keeping her at a healthy weight while pregnant and nursing. Compare the nutritional profiles below:


So while puppy food is preferable to an adult formula during pregnancy and nursing, the Sport Formula still has a better profile for a dog that needs the extra macro nutrients. LeeLo seems to like the taste too - she's eating the sport kibble first and leaving the regular kibble in her bowl! By the time LeeLo is in her 7th week, she will be free-feeding only the Sport formula and the canned Inception.


 

Day 45 - Whelping supply restock has arrived! Emergency colostrum, milk replacer, nursing and a post-delivery calcium supplement. Aside from the Oral Cal supplement, it's important to note that we may not need or use everything shown here but as the old adage goes, "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!"


 

Day 48 (below) - Fastidious nipple cleaning, careful maneuvering around the yard, and a hearty appetite at this stage.


 

Day 50 - Yesterday was the first day we saw puppy movement! The movement was distinct but you can tell the pups are quite small. They've still got 10 more days to bake. Today begins LeeLo's pre-delivery deworming regiment - three days of Pancur to ensure no squirmies are passed on to the little ones, mixed in with her favorite canned fish-formula puppy food.



Today we also set up her whelping area in an out-of-the-way bedroom I now use as my office. LeeLo hasn't been in a whelping pen since she was a pup but she waited expectantly outside the pen as I was setting it up. I'll spend some time sitting inside it with her until her delivery. Maybe we'll watch Lady and the Tramp together. We like that movie :) For information on our Standard Poodle whelping pen, see our post on "The Whelping Pen."

 

Day 52 - LeeLo is definitely slowing down, enjoying her resting periods more and more each day. She certainly has that 'maternal glow'.


We've been taking her for slow walks without the other dogs and short car rides. No more jumping on the bed for her - not only has it become more difficult, she seems to prefer the firmness of the floors.

 

Day 54 - Vet visit today! Heart, lungs & pelvis and all look good. In the radiographs we can see at least 9 heads, with a possible 10 and 11. I'm shocked she has room in there for food! Milk has started coming in though there's no 'drip' so we're likely still about a week away.

 

Day 57 - LeeLo now spends most of her time laying on her side and waddling from one room to another. She still follows us whenever we get up but as soon as we stop, she plops down on the floor until we start moving again. There's a substantial amount of laxity in her vulva, signaling her body's readiness for giving birth. While she spends most of her time by my side or at my feet, she's getting more comfortable in the whelping pen which is encouraging - but it also means our relatively quiet days are soon to be quite hectic and lively through the next couple months! Delivery can be expected any time from now through the next week.



 

Day 58 - We are now taking LeeLo's temperature daily and found her temp, normally at 100.8, had dipped down to 98.8 - Delivery within 24 hours! We are not ready! Ok we are, but you always wonder last minute what you forgot.

It seems like a day or two before delivery, our girls have a day of energy; they try to run with the other dogs, roll around happily on their backs, and play like the did before they were too big to do so. Indeed, LeeLo is also doing all these things, including jumping on my bed (a monumental feat at her size!)

 

Day 59 - Today is likely to be the day! LeeLo is nesting crazily, flip-flopping between anxiety and sedation. It's a total contrast in behavior to yesterdays carefree antics. Temp is still in the high 98 degree range. Making sure we have Oral Cal and goats milk on hand. As the evening wears on, her panting increases and we know she's getting close. Her panting is punctuated by minutes of silence and stillness as she's experiencing contractions that we can't yet see. All that will change shortly!

 

Day 60 - Active labor started last night with contractions that began shortly before midnight. Minutes after midnight, the first pup popped into the world - and scared LeeLo half to death! Right after the pup, whom we now call Archie, emerged, he broke his sack and let out a high-pitched wail, scaring LeeLo into running from the little thing attached to her behind and heading right for my bed. Fortunately I was in between the whelping pen and the bed and was able to catch little Archie as LeeLo scrambled across me. The whole incident lasted 3 seconds but talk about a minute of panic!


Once LeeLo had a second to recognize the screaming bundle, she immediately took to cleaning him of the rest of the sack and the delivery of the remaining 8 pups was smooth.

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