So your Shih Tzu is likely to give birth to a baby, and you don’t know how to deal with it? Is this giving you panic attacks?
Well, calm down. They generally take 9 weeks to reproduce a baby.
The fetus starts taking shape in the second week. The brain and spinal cord start forming in the fourth week. During this time, they need utmost care.
Hang on! Do you want to know the entire process, then read this article.
We have bifurcated the entire pregnancy cycle into weeks. Not just that, we have also explained how to prepare a ship Tzu for newborn babies, how many times they can give birth, and many more!
How to tell your ShihTzu is pregnant?
Let us learn various different ways to know if your Shih Tzu is pregnant or not.
1. Psychological changes
Behavior change is a major part of pregnancy. If your dog is pregnant, you can detect her behavior.
Either she will look for extra love, care, attention, or seek isolation and no disturbance.
Isolation is not healthy because it determines that she is in depression.
2. Changes in appetite
As per the stage of pregnancy, the diet of Shih Tzu will also oscillate. You will notice she will throw up food sometimes or eat less food.
On the other hand, you may also notice her eating a lot and still be unhappy with her meal. It is primarily because of changes in hormones.
3. Size of the nipples changes
During the early stage of pregnancy, Shih Tzu’s nipples get enlarged. The areolas will take rounded shapes, which were usually flat before pregnancy.
You will see the color of the nipple will become slightly dark and red. This indicates an increase in blood flow.
Later the nipples will be able to carry milk for lactation.
4. Feeling lethargic
If you notice your Shih Tzu is feeling tired all day and spends the majority of the day taking a nap, then it is also a signal of pregnancy.
If she is ordinarily enthusiastic, this decrease in energy should be carefully considered.
We know it may be challenging to identify a decrease in energy in dogs who are accustomed to sleeping for long periods of time.
But try to pay closer attention to how quickly she tires during walks during such cases.
The next sign for a pregnant Shih Tzu is to look for the swollen vulva.
However, unlike swelling caused by heat, the vulva does not bleed in this circumstance, and the swelling will not subside until the baby is born.
Keep an eye on her if she excessively licks her vulva, which means it is creating irritation, and she is soon going to give you more baby Shih Tzu.
6. Pregnancy Bump
This is a clear symptom of pregnancy, specifically if there is no single reason for sudden weight gain.
During pregnancy, the dog’s abdomen tends to enlarge.
Generally, you will see her baby belly in the starting phase of the third week.
Yes, the speed is pretty slow. This means that by the time you will know she is pregnant, it will be time to take her to the vet for delivery.
7. Nesting Behaviors
Are you wondering what nesting behavior is?
When a female dog gets pregnant, she starts preparing her surroundings for the arrival of new puppies.
When your Shih Tzu is pregnant, she will also start preparing for the birth of her puppies.
For that, she will tear newspapers, rip blankets, and gather toys in a specified location to make a nest and to satisfy her mothering urge.
She may become cranky and reclusive during this period, so it’s better to restrict her contact with your children.
8. Hormone tests
You can also take the hormonal test to confirm your Shih Tzu is pregnant other than symptoms.
If Shih Tzu is going to conceive, then she is likely to release the Relaxin hormone. It is produced only in the placental tissue at the time of pregnancy.
Thus, when you take your dog to the vet, he will conduct the test to look for relaxin hormone.
Note: For the test to be accurate, the mother must be at least 30 days pregnant. Relaxin levels rise throughout pregnancy and drop quickly after delivery.
The membranes that surround each fetus grow to produce fluid-filled sacs as the dog fetus starts developing.
Generally, between the 21st and 35th day of pregnancy, these sacs are palpable.
It will expand and develop into a size of tennis ball nearby around 45 pounds.
Note: The sacs lose their unique structure after a month, and the uterus has a floppy feel that could be mistaken for fat or a pyometra.
You can opt for palpation. It is the most cost-effective and practical method of determining whether or not a dog is pregnant.
The use of X-rays to diagnose pregnancy in Shih Tzu is 100 percent accurate, but the one drawback is that it cannot be used early.
However, in the later pregnancy stage (nearly 55 days) X-ray can help you to know:
How many babies are present inside her tummy and to figure out when the optimal time is to have an elective cesarean.
Ultrasonography can be used to confirm pregnancy in humans. Similarly, puppies can be scanned using ultrasonography.
It is a very helpful method to determine Shih Tzu’s gestation at an early stage.
It can be conducted between 25-35 days of pregnancy. During the ultrasound, you cannot just confirm the presence of the baby but also know their heartbeats.
It can also assist in determining the gestational age of the fetus and filter out many other causes of uterine distension, such as pyometra.
After confirming that your Shih Tzu is pregnant, learn every stage of her pregnancy in the upcoming section.
Let’s understand the week-by-week pregnancy stage of mommy Shih Tzu.
Pregnancy Stage of a Shih Tzu
First and the second week.
In the first week, your Shih Tzu will be inseminated. The fertilization starts taking place in the uterine tube.
The ovum (a single cell that has been discharged from one of the female reproductive organs) starts to divide and goes down into the uterus.
The ovum floats freely in the uterus, and the placenta develops from the ovum’s yolk sac.
At this stage, Shih Tzu will feel a bit sluggish and may face motion sickness.
You may see pink discharge coming from her body. Don’t panic. It is not a sign of miscarriage.
You no need to make any change in her diet or routine.
In this week, the fetus will grow and start taking shape. It will be very tiny in size, nearly around 1 inch long.
The embryo starts sticking to the uterine wall. The central nervous system begins to form.
Yet there is no need to change mommy Shih Tzu’s diet or exercise at this stage. However, she will become more hungry and wish to put in more calories.
It is the crucial stage of pregnancy because there are higher chances of miscarriage. Things will eventually start taking shape.
Your vet can possibly detect babies inside her belly. It will start looking like an actually tiny puppy.
The brain and spinal cord can become visible. The organs, paws, eyes, and face also start developing.
At this time, you must exercise extreme caution. She must not be subjected to excessive exertion or high-intensity activity.
Take care of her food, talk to your veterinarian, and acquire supplements as well.
If you see Shih Tzu’s nipples start swelling and discharging milk, don’t panic. It is normal and expected.
By the fifth week, Shih Tzu will start asking for more food, and her weight will also grow (quite obvious) because by now, puppies will also start sucking out all nutrients from her food.
You must get them quality food to help fetuses to grow healthy.
The vet can also determine the sex of the puppies. Moreover, he can also scan and count how many babies are present inside mommy Shih Tzu’s belly.
Now, it will be clearly visible and accurate that your Shih Tzu is pregnant. Her physical appearance will justify it.
Fun fact: Many breeders claim that the female Shih Tzu becomes visibly larger as the pregnancy calendar progresses.
Shih Tzu nipples start becoming darker, puppies also start growing and developing their unique markings, and they also get nails at this point.
Every week, mommy Shih Tzu will become more hungry.
Few breeders also start adding puppy food into mommy Shih Tz’s diet.
Note: At this point, you must help your dog in the process of nesting. You can make a warm and safe spot where she will feel comfy and better.
Don’t worry if you see a lot of fur at your home. Because, in the seventh week, Shih Tzu will start having hair loss. Basically, her body is getting ready to feed her pup milk.
Again, you have to boost her meal, and by this stage, you must make sure she intakes the appropriate amount of calcium.
The baby will completely take its shape, and for their growth, calcium is indeed vital. It will help in making their bones stronger and healthier.
In case there is a chance of a premature puppy, then it can occur this week.
Generally, it takes a complete 63 days. But if by chance, your Shih Tzu gives birth to premature babies, then you must be already ready for this situation to handle.
You must make sure mommy Shih Tzu takes enough rest by this time. Any sort of physical activity or over-exertion can lead to pre-delivery.
Your Shih Tzu will be nesting now, and traces of the puppies moving around beneath the surface of her abdomen may be seen.
During the eighth week, they will be more active than normal.
Finally, it’s time for the arrival of new puppies. The ninth week is the last stage. So, be ready to take her to the vet
Her diet will gradually decrease, and she will become quiet at this point. You must check her temperature two times a day.
Establish her whelping area, make sure to clean her abdominal and vaginal surface.
Mommy Shih Tzu will whelp within the following 24 hours if her fever dips to around 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do you know Shih Tzu can get anxious with the presence of a newborn baby and may get jealous too?
So, scroll down now to know how to prepare mommy Shih Tzu for her offspring!
How to prepare Shih Tzu for a new baby’s arrival?
Although Shih Tzu can sense pregnancy, she doesn’t have a clear idea of what exactly it is.
Therefore, it is vital to prepare your dog to be ready for the future. So, it becomes easy for her to adjust.
Eventually, decrease giving attention to your Shih Tzu: This is important if it is her first pregnancy.
It is because when the new baby comes, he will eat up a lot of your time and energy, so you’ll have less time for your dog at first.
And, this may make your Shih Tzu jealous and uncomfortable.
Therefore, do not give too much attention to her before the delivery for safety reasons. So, it helps her to adjust later.
Allow your dog to become habituated to hearing baby noises:
The baby will cry once they arrive and Shih Tzu may not handle experiencing sensory overload if she hears a lot of stimuli and makes other noises.
So, all you can do is play some sound of puppies, creating other sounds in the background to help your Shih Tzu get used to the extra noise in the house.
Teach them not to get over-excited when they meet new people: You must train your Shih Tzu to meet with visitors peacefully.
If they get over-excited, make sure to control their activities and command them to calm down. This will help them to stay normal when they meet their new puppy.
Keep Shih Tzu on a leash when they meet their newborn puppy: This is an important and safe practice to control mishaps.
Just in case Shih Tzu gets overly excited, she can jump on the baby when they meet for the first time.
And when you shoo them, it will make them more curious. Thus, it is always better to control her actions with a leash.
How many times can a dog get pregnant?
Generally, a dog can reproduce 2 times in a single year. However, this can vary from breed to breed.
Also, small dog breeds can reproduce at least three times, whereas giant dog breeds can do for 2 times.
What is the approx number of puppies a Shih Tzu can have?
Generally, a Shih Tzu can have 3-4 newborn babies at a time. If she is old, then the chances of litter are more.
On average, 20% of the Shih Tzu gave birth through c-section. Unless they are spayed, young female Shih Tzus will go into heat at the age of six months and repeat the cycle twice a year.
Well, that’s a wrap!
The pregnancy period is a very crucial and critical time for a dog and an owner’s life. Shih Tzu generally takes 9 weeks to reproduce a baby.
But, if she gives birth to a premature puppy, then it is likely to occur in the eighth week. They can give 3-4 puppies at a single time.
To know if your Shih Tzu is pregnant or not, you can take her to the vet. They will either conduct a hormone test or palpation.
During pregnancy, make sure to feed them supplements and high diet food to help her and her baby’s body to grow well.
If you want to know any other thing about the Shih Tzu pregnancy, you can comment down below.
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.