Blog post will be UPDATED WEEKLY or more frequently as we progress through pregnancy with Portia!!!!
Also including Dahlia!
Pregnancy Updates With Portia (and now Dahlia)!
French Bulldog Pregnancy Stages Week by Week: A Comprehensive Guide
Are you interested in learning about the french bulldog pregnancy stages week by week? Dive into this comprehensive guide, which covers every aspect of canine pregnancy from conception to birth.
Welcoming new puppies into the family is an exciting journey, filled with hope and joy. Understanding the french bulldog pregnancy stages week by week helps to ensure that the mom-to-be receives the best care possible, fostering healthy development for the pups. This guide is filled with expert insights, advice, and practical tips to take you through the stages of french bulldog pregnancy. We’ll provide you with a week-by-week analysis, complete with fascinating details on each developmental milestone.
Table of Contents – French Bulldog Pregnancy Stages
French Bulldog Pregnancy Stages Week by Week: An Overview
Understanding french bulldog pregnancy stages week by week starts with recognizing early signs and knowing when to seek professional veterinary care. The following sections will delve into these aspects.
French bulldog pregnancy and canine pregnancy is 63 days from ovulation (give or take 1-2 days)
Start your female on a great prenatal vitamin at or before first breeding.
This will help to prevent any folic acid deficiency clefts from forming.
Signs of French Bulldog Pregnancy
In the early stages of french bulldog pregnancy, some signs are subtle but can still be detectable by observant pet owners:
- Behavioral Changes: The dog may become more affectionate or, conversely, more withdrawn.
- Appetite Changes: Either an increase or decrease in appetite is common.
- Physical Changes: Slight weight gain or swelling of the nipples may occur.
These signs can be further confirmed by a veterinarian through various tests.
French Bulldog Pregnancy Tests
A vet can perform several tests to confirm pregnancy:
- Blood Tests: Checking for specific hormone levels.
- Ultrasound: Visual confirmation of embryos around 3 to 4 weeks into the pregnancy.
- Palpation: Feeling the dog’s abdomen for embryonic sacs, though this is often reserved for trained professionals.
French Bulldog Pregnancy Stages
Week 1: Ovulation – 7 days | Fertilization
The beginning of the miraculous journey of dog pregnancy starts with fertilization. Let’s explore what happens in the first week.
Breeding in french bulldogs is a complex process. Progesterone testing is an important part of the breeding process. This is a blood test that measures the hormone “progesterone”.
Progesterone is measured every 3-4 days starting at day 7 of bleeding. Once her levels start to rise tests will become more frequent, every 2 days until ovulation occurs.
Once ovulation has occurred, eggs need 2 days to mature and the breeding process can begin!
Females will usually allow the males to mount once the eggs have ripened.
If you choose to try to allow your french bulldogs to breed naturally, progesterone testing is still a great idea. This will help you to make sure the male has proper timing and allows you to plan for all the necessary events such as ultrasound, x ray, and c section.
As you can see below in Dahlia’s results, they tied/bred naturally before ovulation occurred, even before any sort of rise in hormones. Had I relied on behaviors I would have gotten my timing completely wrong.
With progesterone testing, your vet will be in the know throughout the entire process. So if you plan on whelping naturally vs c section, your vet will need to be able to be reached in case of emergency.
Breed once every 36 hours for a total of 3-4 breedings.
In the videos below:
Progesterone level results Portia:
7/6/23: Less than 1. 2
7/9/2023: 2 .9
7/11/2023: 7 (1 day post ovulation)
7/12/2023: 2nd day post ovulation (eggs are mature) – First Artificial Insemination
7/13/2023: 2nd Artificial Insemination (video)
7/15/2023: 3rd Artificial Insemination
Progesterone Level Results Dahlia:
Starting on Day 7
10/2/23: <1.2 vet cube & 0.5 idexx, first tie (natural breeding)
10/3/23: 2nd tie (natural breeding)
10/4/23: 2.4 – LH surge
10/5/23: 4.0 – Ovulation, First Artificial insemination
10/6/23: 7.9 vet cube & 7.2 idexx
10/7/23: Artificial insemination, final breeding
After speaking with our vet about the natural breeding and first ai at ovulation, further breeding wasn’t necessary as she was adequately covered, but one more ai would be ok if we wanted to.
“you’d be surprised how long it can stay alive in there”
Start your female on a great prenatal vitamin at time of first insemination/breeding
Once breeding is successful, the sperm travels to the oviduct, where it meets the egg. Fertilization occurs, and the journey of life begins.
The first week doesn’t usually show physical signs, but it’s a crucial time for nutrition and care. Considerations like a proper diet can make a real difference during this stage.
Week 2: (7-14 days) Embryonic Development
The second week of dog pregnancy brings embryonic development, with significant changes occurring within the mother’s body.
During this week, the fertilized eggs travel to the uterus and begin to implant themselves into the uterine lining. This process lays the foundation for the growing embryos.
Early Nutritional Needs
A nutritious diet is essential during this stage. Quality commercial dog food or a vet-approved homemade diet can provide the necessary nutrients.
Check out this awsome video by Purina!
Week 3: Recognizing Early Signs (14-21 days)
The third week marks the beginning of visible changes in the pregnant dog. Here’s what to look for:
Changes in Behavior
A pregnant dog may exhibit signs like increased affection or a desire for seclusion. These behavioral changes can be clues to pregnancy.
Week 4: The Formative Stage (21-28 days)
Around this time, a veterinarian may be able to confirm pregnancy through palpation or ultrasound. Regular check-ups ensure both the mother and her developing puppies are healthy.
The fourth week is a formative period where organ development occurs.
You may start to notice thick, slimy, CLEAR discharge, similar to snot.
The embryos begin to form organs and even take on a recognizable shape. They are very delicate at this stage, and proper care and nutrition are crucial.
A gradual shift towards a diet with higher protein and fat content may be necessary. Always consult with your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations tailored to your dog’s needs.
Week 5: Mid-Gestation (28-35 days)
The halfway point of pregnancy is marked by substantial growth and the ability to see the puppies through ultrasound.
Mood and Appetite
Behavior and appetite starts to change and fluctuate. She may experience “morning sickness” or vomiting throughout the day. This subsides in a week or so.
If they don’t experience morning sickness then they usually become extremely hungry!
The puppies’ bones start to form, and their features become more defined. The mother’s abdomen might start to show a slight enlargement.
Fetuses develop their sex organs and begin to look like actual puppies. The puppies’ leg buds lengthen, and toes develop.
Around this time, an ultrasound can provide a clear picture of the puppies, their number, and development. It’s a thrilling experience for many dog owners to see the puppies for the first time.
Week 6: Physical Changes (35-43 days)
In week six, physical changes become more apparent in the mother, and preparation for the puppies’ arrival becomes more urgent.
Expect to see more substantial weight gain during this week. It’s a healthy and necessary part of pregnancy, but monitoring weight with the guidance of a veterinarian is essential.
Day 42 – Feeding mom
Start feeding mom a puppy diet. Increase 10% of energy intake each week. If it is a singleton litter, never exceed 10%.
If mom has a hard time with meals due to a compressed stomach, do not decrease quantity. Spread the quantity out over many small meals during the day.
Preparing a Whelping Box
It’s a good time to set up a whelping box where the mother can comfortably give birth. It should be warm, quiet, and easily accessible.
Week 7: Pups on the Way (43-50 days)
Week seven brings undeniable evidence of the impending arrival of the puppies.
Development of Puppies
The puppies continue to grow, and their fur starts to develop. Their skeleton hardens, and they become more defined.
Regular veterinary check-ups are vital at this stage to monitor the health of both the mother and the pups
Portia update: Ears are very itchy. After our appointment today I asked our vet if there was ANYTHING I could give her to help with the itchy ears.
Unfortunately there is nothing I can do while she’s pregnant and these itchy ears/allergies are an immune response to the bodily changes and hormones. We are using natural lavender wipes to help to soothe the itch.
(fortunately there was no infection, just a lot of hair build up – cleaned out at c section)
Week 8: The Final Preparations (50-57 days)
As you approach the final stretch, there’s a flurry of activity, both inside the mother’s body and in your preparations for the new arrivals. You will start to feel and see the puppies moving inside.
x ray for puppy counts can be done around 56 days
Many pregnant dogs exhibit nesting behavior, where they prepare a spot for the impending birth. You may notice her arranging blankets or other soft materials in a secluded spot.
Nutrition and Exercise Needs
At this stage, the mother’s nutritional needs are at their peak. Continue to follow your vet’s dietary recommendations and adjust exercise routines to accommodate her growing body.
You may start to notice vomiting as space becomes limited. Frequent smaller meals may be beneficial.
Week 9: Birth and Care of Newborn Puppies (57-63 days)
This is the week most dog owners have been eagerly anticipating. It’s time for the puppies to make their entrance into the world.
Check your female for developing colostrum (mother’s first milk), sometimes this doesn’t come in until the moment she goes into labor other times it can come in a few days ahead of time.
The color can range from pale yellow and almost clear to a golden caramel.
Colostrum is rich in nutrients and antibodies that sets your pups up for a great immune system.
Always keep some on hand just in case!
If you struggle with milk production there are a few options to try:
Great postnatal by Breeders Edge Oxy Momma Meat Treats
Fenugreek Capsules, feed 1-2 pills 3x daily until breath smells like maple syrup
Domperidone, a prescription from your vet.
Labor and Birth
Labor can last anywhere from a few hours to a day. The signs include restlessness, panting, and nesting behavior, with vomiting and diarrhea.
The birth process can be awe-inspiring to witness, but be prepared to assist if necessary, and have your vet’s number handy.
French Bulldogs 90% of the time require c sections. This is because they have small hips and puppies have large heads. More often than not puppies can get stuck, causing death of the litter and possibly even mom.
At this past C-Section with Portia, our Doctor also did an ultrasound scan to check for puppy gut mobility (intestines are moving) to make sure it was safe to welcome them to the world.
I would have taken a video but unless you’re a trained professional, you would have no idea what you’re looking at, I didn’t.
They considered giving little Meatloaf a steroid shot to help open the lungs, but he didn’t need it.
I did ask to see the absorption, as discussed in the video above. However, when they absorb that early, more often than not the body completely absorbs it and it no longer exists.
This is exactly what happened with the one absorption we saw at her ultrasound.
IF the absorption would have maintained itself, it would have most likely come out as a sack of dark green goo with a small tiny “mummified” body. (sounds gross but I think it’s interesting)
Again, absorptions happen and it’s nothing to worry about – they pose no risk to mom or litter. We wouldn’t have even known it was there had we not done an ultrasound.
Once the puppies arrive, they will need warmth, nutrition from their mother’s milk, and lots of love. Monitoring their growth and ensuring they’re nursing properly is vital during the first few weeks of life.
Caring for a Pregnant Dog
The wellbeing of the mother is paramount throughout the entire process. Here’s a deep dive into how you can provide the best care for her.
- Proper Diet: Feed a well-balanced and nutritious diet as recommended by your vet.
- Supplementation: Sometimes, specific vitamins or supplements might be prescribed. Always follow veterinary guidance.
- Regular, Gentle Exercise: Light exercise helps keep the mother healthy without putting undue strain on her.
- Avoid Strenuous Activities: Overly vigorous activities should be avoided, particularly in the later stages.
- Regular Check-ups: Veterinary visits are essential to monitor the mother’s health and the development of the puppies.
- Emergency Contacts: Keep emergency numbers at hand, just in case.
Post-Pregnancy: Recovery and Nursing
The period after birth is equally vital for the mother and her new puppies.
- Monitoring: Regularly check that the puppies are nursing well and gaining weight.
- Supplementary Feeding: If needed, consult your vet about supplementary feeding.
- Diet: Continue to feed a nutritious diet to support nursing.
- Rest: Ensure the mother has a quiet place to rest and recover.
- C Section Care– crate rest for 2 weeks and calm leashed potty time. Carry up and down stairs supporting the incision. Follow instructions from your vet regarding proper pain management and antibiotics.
Common Concerns & Solutions
Every pregnancy might encounter some bumps along the road. Here’s what to watch for and how to address common concerns.
Dealing with Complications
- Monitoring for Signs: Be vigilant for any signs of distress or complications and seek veterinary assistance if needed.
- Understanding What’s Normal: Many first-time dog breeders have questions about what’s normal. Don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for guidance.
Different breeds might have unique needs and challenges.
Differences Among Breeds
- Size Matters: Smaller breeds may have different nutritional and care needs compared to larger ones.
Tailored Care Plans
- Specific Guidance: Seek breed-specific advice from your vet or breed clubs for the best care plan.
Understanding Genetics and Puppy Health
A critical but often overlooked aspect of dog breeding is understanding the genetics behind your dog’s breed.
- Screening for Disorders: Ensuring that parent dogs are screened for hereditary conditions helps in producing healthy puppies.
Ensuring Healthy Puppies
- Consider Breeding Standards: Adhering to established breeding standards ensures that puppies are healthy and true to the breed.
Understanding the french bulldog pregnancy stages week by week is a rewarding experience, enabling dog owners to be involved and proactive in every step of this beautiful journey. From the moment of conception to the joyous arrival of the puppies, this guide provides the insights and expertise you need to support the mother and her newborns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the duration of a french bulldog pregnancy?
The average gestation period for dogs is about 63 days, although this can vary by a few days depending on the breed and individual dog.
How can I tell if my french bulldog is pregnant?
Early signs may include changes in behavior, appetite, and slight weight gain. Veterinary confirmation through blood tests or ultrasound is the surest method.
When should I take my pregnant french bulldog to the vet?
It’s advisable to consult your vet soon after you suspect pregnancy to set up a proper care plan and regular check-ups.
What should I feed my pregnant french bulldog?
A well-balanced diet that meets her increased nutritional needs is crucial. Your veterinarian can recommend the best diet for your specific dog.
How can I prepare for the puppies’ arrival?
Preparing a warm, quiet whelping box, understanding the signs of labor, and knowing when and how to assist are key to a successful birthing process.
What should I do if complications arise during birth?
If you suspect any complications during birth, contact your vet immediately. Prompt professional assistance can be lifesaving.