Pugs Giving Birth: How To Prevent Pug Pregnancy Problems


Watching newborn dogs grow is a very rewarding experience. If your pug has been blessed with pups, then you’ll need to ensure that they have a safe pregnancy and birthing process. That’s because pugs can face many complications if not careful, since it’s such a delicate process.

When a pug is pregnant, it’s vital that owners cater to their changing behaviors, hormones, weight, and physical needs. Owners need to know the signs and be prepared for it. Difficult deliveries are not uncommon when pugs give birth, so C-sections can be an option if there are complications.

The problems associated with pug pregnancies can be prevented if owners know what signs to look for and prepare accordingly. Besides knowing how to support their pug during delivery, you will also need to know how to care for your dog and her pups during the nursing period. This will help ensure a successful birthing process for all!

The Whelping Process

Whelping is a term that refers to the action of dogs giving birth to pups. Your pug is most vulnerable during this period, and it’s partly because of it being a brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed. Knowing what to expect could help you keep check of any red flags that could indicate trouble for your pug.

In order to give your pug the best possible chance for a healthy birth and pregnancy term, owners need to closely consider the following:

  • Knowing the signs to detect whether your pug is pregnant.
  • Preparing appropriately so that your pug doesn’t develop any complications during pregnancy.
  • Ensuring that your pug has a safe whelping process with adequate care.

As a bonus, we’ll also provide you with tips on what to do if you want to prevent your pug from getting pregnant. More information to come in later sections.

Signs: How Do You Know If Your Pug Is Pregnant?

If you’ve noticed your pug displaying unusual behaviors like being lazy, having large or discolored nipples, eating less, or displaying nesting behaviors, then the chances are that they are pregnant. If your pug is displaying these behaviors and is otherwise happy and healthy, then you’ve got to be prepared to have some puppies coming your way.

However, it would be good not to rush to conclusions since some of the signs could also indicate illness. During this period, the safe thing to do is to have them checked out by a veterinarian, especially if these signs seem to be escalating. Regardless of the results, your pug will be happier you made that decision. Below are some key signs that you’ll need to look out for.

Your Pug Becomes Less Active

The first indication that your pug may be pregnant is that your pug may feel more lethargic, get exhausted more often, and will take more naps than they normally would. Pugs are typically energetic and playful, especially when you come home after being away for extended periods of time. So if you notice shift in how they respond to you, then it’s worth getting them checked out.

That said, pugs do like to snooze whenever they aren’t active. Plus, different pugs have different personalities and lifestyles. This could make it hard for you to apply this information, as it’s not exactly black and white. It’s up to you as your pug’s owner to take notice any new behaviors since you know your dog best. Look out for patterns to judge whether your pet has undergone any recent personality changes.

Changes In Appetite

This also goes hand-in-hand with personality change. Pregnant pugs can experience fluctuations in appetite depending on how far along they are. You may notice your pug eating less and vomiting earlier or midway through their pregnancy; their human equivalent of morning sickness. If you notice them eating less and vomiting, then this can be a possible indication that they are pregnant.

However, you have to note that this particular sign is not law, since other dogs may end up eating more and getting less satisfied with their meals. Some of them may even end up not vomiting. Plus, their appetite fluctuations could be caused by other factors like a reaction to their food. You may need to take them to the vet to have them checked out, especially if this behavior persists.

Unusual Behaviors

If your pug is pregnant, you may begin to notice signs of unusual behavior, especially if it’s their first time. They may need more of your attention, expressed by their need to cuddle or by following you around constantly. If you notice this, ensure that you take some time and give them your attention, so that they feel happy and cared for.

However, since not all pugs are similar, your pug may begin to seek isolation and not want to be bothered. They may also seem depressed or even become irritable when you try to give them attention. The most important thing you could do during this period is to ensure that you provide them with everything they may need and ensure that they are comfortable.

Discolored And/Or Enlarged Nipples

Female pug nipples are normally small. If you notice your pug’s nipples have grown in size, get more rounded, and has become a little discolored, then it could be a sure sign of pregnancy. However, your pug’s nipples may not always become discolored. Sometimes, they may also turn slightly darker than usual. This happens because they experience an increase in blood vessels (capillaries) in preparation for nursing the puppies. You may also notice their nipples occasionally lactating and leaking milk during later phases of the pregnancy.

An Enlarged Abdomen & Weight Gain

You may notice your pug developing an enlarged abdomen as the puppies inside her grow. This is the clearest indicator of their pregnancy, especially if there’s no other practical reason for your pug to gain weight. However, you’ll notice this sign later on in their pregnancy, along with other signs. If you do, then it’ll be the perfect time to take them to the vet for examination.

Nesting Behavior

If you notice your pug shedding its bedding or any other materials to create a nest, then they are in the latter stages of their pregnancy. Your pug may also become more withdrawn and irritable during this period. If this happens, you’ll need to limit their contact with children to avoid any accidents. You’ll also need to take them to the vet, who’ll provide you with more directions on how to proceed.

Note: Your pug’s gestation period is relatively short compared to humans. Therefore, acting quickly whenever you notice these signs, especially for pugs, could help ensure that your pug gets comfortable and goes through a safe birth. After adequately examining them, your vet will instruct you on how to proceed and take proper care of your pug.

How To Prevent Pug Pregnancy Complications

During their pregnancy, it’s vital for owners to know how to care for their pug. Your pregnant pug will experience hormonal changes, changes in appetite, weight, and behavior like humans do. If you’ve had your pug checked out and have confirmation that they are pregnant, you’ll need to prepare yourself to ensure that they have a safe and comfortable experience.

To begin with, you’d want to speak with your vet to examine the following:

  • How many pups she’s carrying through an ultrasound.
  • Check any irregularities in their blood sugar levels.
  • Evaluate and determine if her pelvis and hips are wide enough to support natural delivery.

From there, your vet will likely provide you with a detailed plan on best practices and which path they recommend taking in regards to the pregnancy and subsequent birth. It’s crucial to note down all instructions, so you know how to approach things like diet, medications, and exercise. So, how do you go about it?

Feeding Your Pregnant Pug

If your pug is pregnant, then they’ll need to feed her high-quality nutritious foods to provide them with lots of energy. This will help the mum and her unborn child grow at a healthy rate. You could stick to their usual adult formulas, but the vet may also recommend mixing it with puppy food to help provide the extra nutrients needed.

Puppy food contains more calories, nutrients, and proteins that’s needed for your pug during this period. The other advantage is that puppy food is easily digestible, which is essential for your pregnant pug, and they could pass on these nutrients to their puppies while they develop in the womb.

You could begin intruding the new blended mix to your pug from the sixth week of their pregnancy. Ideally, you’d want to do it gradually and in increments over a one week period to help her adjust to the new diet. You’ll need to consider your pug’s size and alter the rations accordingly depending on what type of food your dog consumes. Please don’t add any supplements to their food because it may cause problems later.

Dry foods often contain more calories per serving than wet foods. Therefore, if your pug is on a wet-food diet, then you’ll need to increase her serving size or increase the number of daily meals you provide. You also have the option to mix some dry rations with some wet rations to give your pug a much needed energy boost.

It would be good to feed your pug their standard rations for the first six weeks. Expect changes in feeding behavior like nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite. Increase their food intake slowly each consecutive week so that by week nine, they get to eat about a third more than they normally would. However, be mindful of overfeeding, as this can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Exercising Your Pug

While the pug’s brachycephalic features already limit their amount of daily recommended exercise compared to long-snouted dogs, pregnant pugs have an even rougher time. Please don’t involve her in strenuous exercises since this may cause them lots of stress. Pregnant pugs need extra attention, care, and love during this period.

It would be best to take her on short walks and to stick to lighter activities. You’ll want to do just enough to get their muscles moving, so that they don’t get obese during this period. If you have any other dogs in the household, you’ll need to separate your pregnant pugs from them to prevent potential accidents and the possibility of contracting any illnesses or parasites.

Medical Treatments

If your pug needs any vaccines or medication, it would be good to take them to the veterinarian. Avoid administering any vaccinations yourself to prevent any chances of harming her unborn puppies. If you suspect that your pug has parasites like roundworms or fleas, then you’ll need to take her to a vet for treatment. Otherwise, there is a risk that these parasites can be transferred to her puppies at birth.

Some treatments, like heartworm prevention medications, are safe and can be continued during pregnancy. However, it’s best to run it by your vet so they they can green light any medication you administer to your pug.

Pugs Giving Birth: Whelping & Pre-Whelping Care

Your pug may become more attached to you during the last few weeks of your pregnancy, and some dogs may not even whelp if you aren’t there. Therefore, you need to be mindful of this and avoid making any plans that could coincide with your pug’s whelping. Your pug will seek a safe, secluded area for the birthing process.

If this isn’t their first time and they haven’t had any problems with whelping, then you could allow them to whelp by themselves. However, if this is their first time or if they’ve experienced some problems before, your veterinarian may recommend giving birth by Caesarean section (C-section).

A C-section is quite common for the pug breed due to the size of their larger heads, wider shoulders, and smaller hips. All of this, combined with their narrow birth canals, means that C-sections would be the most efficient and safest way to deliver the newborn pups. C-sections can also help alleviate physical exertion and stress for pugs due to their known breathing limitations.

The best option would be to take your pregnant pug to the vet in case of any unexpected birthing problems. Either way, you’ll need to prepare yourself for whelping by providing her and her puppies with a comfortable whelping box. You’ll need to layer the box with newspaper and any other material that will absorb the birth fluids that your pug will release during birth.

During the labor process, your pug may show the following signs to indicate that they are ready to whelp:

First LaborSecond Labor
Appetite lossWhimpering or whining
Nesting behaviorHeavy panting and straining
A drop in their rectal temperature
below 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Watery discharge

Preparing Supplies

If your vet examines the pug and determines that their birth canal and hips can accommodate birthing, then all you’ll have to do is be there for your pug and provide them comfort while monitoring their progress. You should also prepare yourself with some supplies in case your pug needs them. Some of these include:

  • Sterile thread
  • Clean towels
  • A heating pad
  • A suction bulb
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors

What To Expect

If all goes well, your pug’s first puppy will come out head first with the amniotic sac covering their head. The sac often tears during delivery, but the mother may tear it open if it isn’t. Your pug will lick her puppy vigorously, cleaning any amniotic sac remnants and mucus off them while simultaneously stimulating them to breathe.

Your pug may chew the umbilical cord and eat the placenta after birth. However, if you took your pug to the vet and it doesn’t chew off the umbilical cord, the vet will use the sterilized thread and tie the umbilical cord tightly before quickly cutting it off. If your pug doesn’t expel the umbilical cord, your vet will use the suction bulb to expel the mucus from your pup’s mouth, wipe it clean, and place it in the whelping box with the mother.

If your pug’s puppies are whimpering or crying within one minute or two after birth, then it’s a good sign and everything is normal. If your pug delivers at home and you find out that the puppy is coming out with the tail and hind legs, first ensure that you contact your veterinarian immediately before intervening.

Difficult Deliveries

Pugs are prone to experiencing difficult deliveries (dystocia) while giving birth because they are a brachycephalic breed. Pugs (in this case, their puppies) have large heads and shoulders that have been known to strain their mother’s pelvic, leading to a challenging whelping experience. Signs of dystocia you’ll need to look out for include:

  • Instances where the whelping process doesn’t begin within 24 hours after a temperature decrease
  • If your pug hasn’t delivered the first puppy within three hours of starting active labor
  • If any subsequent puppies aren’t delivered within two hours after active labor
  • If the first puppy doesn’t appear within 15 minutes of consistent strain
  • If your pug’s labored straining appears to be over before the expected number of puppies are delivered.
  • If a puppy doesn’t seem to go through the birth canal entirely despite several minutes of constant strain

If your pug shows any of these signs, then it means that they are experiencing dystocia and should be considered a medical emergency. You’ll need to get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as possible. However, there are steps you could take if you can’t get to your veterinarian in time.

Helping The Puppy Out

If your pug’s pup seems to be stuck along the birth canal, some quick thinking on your part could help save their lives. However, before intervening, it would be good to ensure that the pup is stuck and not just midway through the process. Stay on the phone with your vet if possible so they can guide you through the process.

Your pug’s labor often lasts for about 12 hours and happens in three stages. Puppies are usually born in the second stage and within twenty minutes of each other. You need to take some extra precautions and ensure that the pup is actually stuck because there could be a chance that the mother may only be taking a break.

If the mother has tried pushing with no success, then you can intervene by helping her pull the puppy out. Use some gloves and hold on to the part of the pug puppy that you can reach, usually the head. This is done to avoid instances where the puppy retreats within the mother’s birth canal.

You’ll need to apply some lubrication, i.e., K-jelly or dish soap, and apply it onto the puppy. Hold on to the skin at the back of their neck and twist it back and forth carefully to help the mother expel it. Remove the sac from their mouth and pump out the mucus from their mouth using a suction bulb to allow them to breathe after they’ve been expelled before you help the mother with the second pup.

The Nursing Period: Post-Birthing Process

There are steps that you’ll need to follow after your pug gives birth. Pugs are a special care breed, and following these steps ensures that your pug remains healthy after delivery, and so they can return to normalcy as soon as possible.

Clean Them Up

Begin by cleaning up your pug as soon as you can without upsetting her. Use some warm water and a soft piece of cloth, ensuring that you don’t use any soap or disinfectant unless your dog’s vet instructs you. You could also go ahead and remove any dirty newspaper from their whelping box.

Your pug may choose to spend most of her time in the whelping box. However, it would be good if you got them out for a walk, which also gives them an opportunity to use the bathroom outside. Do not be afraid to use a collar on them while you take her on a walk.

You could take this opportunity to clean up her whelping box. Ensure that you check her vulva and nipples to ensure that there’s no bleeding or foul-smelling discharge. It’s recommended that you also check your pug’s puppies to see if they are warm and suckling properly, especially if it’s her first time.

Take Her To The Vet ASAP

If your pug gives birth at home, then the first thing that you’ll have to do is to take the pups to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will advise you on how to take care of your pug and her puppies. They may also vaccinate your puppies during this visit.

Monitor Your Pug

You’ll also have to monitor your pug routinely and check if there are any signs of illnesses. You’ll need to check their nipples for infection. Additionally, look out for signs like bleeding, redness, and pain. Ensure that you check their temperature regularly, schedule them for check-ups, and ensure your pug is clean and healthy.

Feeding Your Pug During Nursing

Your pug’s pups will require lots of nutritious vet-recommended canine milk as they grow. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that your pug has an appropriate diet filled with nutrients if you want your puppies to grow healthy and strong.

You could achieve this by maintaining your pug’s pregnancy diet, but you’ll need to start decreasing the serving sizes while increasing the number of times you feed them throughout the day. You could increase the daily meals gradually to two, then three, and finally four.

Your pug may nurse its litter for 6 to 8 weeks, but you can start introducing the pups to solid foods from week 3 to 4. Reduce your pug’s food intake gradually until they are done nursing their pups. If you aren’t sure how much you should feed your pug during this period, please consult with your vet.

Pug Pregnancy Prevention Methods

If everything that you’ve read sounds too troublesome for you to handle, and you’d rather avoid your pug from getting pregnancy altogether, then there are some ways to do this. While some of them are temporary, others are more permanent. Take your time and analyze your options and speak to a vet before choosing the method that suits you best.

Spaying

It takes a short time for your pug to get pregnant. However, you could have her spayed to prevent this. Spaying is a procedure that involves having your pug’s uterus and ovary removed. This process can be done in the early stages of pregnancy and even when your pug isn’t pregnant. However, you’ll have to note that the process is permanent, and it could lead to complications at a later stage.

Injections

You could use the “mismating” injection if you don’t want a more permanent option. The injection terminates the growing cluster of fertilized eggs and is quite effective if given early. It’s still possible to administer it during later stages of pregnancy, but it may not be as effective.

Veterinary Abortion

The last option is to have your pug’s pregnancy aborted. While veterinary abortions are viable and effective, this option isn’t one to be taken lightly. It poses a higher risk of developing complications compared to the other two methods, and should only be done when there’s no other option to prevent your pug’s pregnancy.

The abortion could be done as a surgical procedure or through abortifacient medication. It’s worth noting that this procedure can cause considerable strain on your pug, so they may have to stay in observation for up to 7 days or more. While the procedure is effective, it’s also quite costly. It also won’t prevent your pug from getting pregnant a second time.

Related Questions

How many puppies can a pug have? The average litter size for a pug ranges between 4 to 6 puppies. But they can have as many as 9 in a single birth.

How long do pugs stay pregnant? Approximately 9 weeks (63 days), but it can end earlier by up to a week.

Can pugs give birth naturally? Yes, but C-sections are quite common due to the size of their larger heads, wider shoulders, and smaller hips. All of this, combined with their narrow birth canals, means that C-sections would be the most efficient and safest way to deliver their newborn pups.

At what age can a pug get pregnant? Female pugs can get pregnant at 6-12 months old as this is when they go through their first heat cycle. Vets recommend that you wait until they are at least 24 months old to avoid complications.

References

PDSA, 2019. Whelping – a guide to your dog giving birth.

Playforth, L., 2021. My dog’s whelping, what should I do if she suffers labour complications?

Stephan, J., 2018. How to Care for Your Dog After She Gives Birth.

WagWalking, 2021. How to prevent dog pregnancy after mating.

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