If you’re planning to become a licensed Chihuahua breeder, the first thing you’re probably wondering is, how to tell if your Chihuahua is pregnant.
The short answer is that it’s not always that easy at first.
Chihuahuas can get pregnant the natural way but artificial insemination may be safer in some cases. I’ll explain more below
How to Tell When Your Chihuahua is in Heat
If you’re planning to mate your Chihuahua, you need to be able to tell when she’s in heat. Due to Chihuahuas’ tendency to obsessively clean, it can be a little difficult, too.
On average, Chihuahuas first go into heat between about six and eight months old.
Some have been known to go into heat as early as five months old and some as late as a year old.
Heat Cycle for Chihuahuas
The average heat cycle for a Chihuahua lasts about 21 days and has four stages.:
This lasts between four and nine days.
Her reproductive tissues will most likely look puffier than normal.
The most evident sign will be vaginal bleeding. Though this can be hard to spot as she will likely be forever licking it away.
Unfixed males will probably try to make their moves on her but she probably won’t be interested in mating yet.
This lasts between four and 13 days. Here, your female Chihuahua is at the peak of fertility.
The bloody discharge changes to pinkish.
She will now be standing with her tail upright and pushed to the side. Which means that she’s now ready to be mated.
This is when her fertility cycle begins to relax. This lasts between 60 and 90 days.
At this time, she will no longer allow a male to mate with her. However, some may display an initial interest in her.
If the mating was successful, the diestrus lasts until the birth of the puppies between 63 and 68 days later.
If it wasn’t, she could actually start displaying signs of a phantom pregnancy.
This lasts between two and three months.
This is when your dog’s ovaries and pituitary glands are preparing for the next estrus cycle. That is, if you choose not to neuter and spay her at this time.
As a licensed breeder, you probably know that it’s essential that your dog gets the best prenatal care possible.
There’s much more to this than just feeding your Chihuahua the right food.
Prenatal care for your Chihuahua might be costly, but the health of your Chi and her pups is vital.
Here are some extra pointers that you need to know before mating or inseminating your dog.:
Do the best you can to keep her fit. Though, never force as it could harm the puppies.
You can feed her special pregnancy kibbles at around the 30-day mark. However, be sure to work with your veterinarian on this.
Especially when she’s close to labor, she’ll start to exhibit nesting behaviors. You can help by placing something like a dog bed or a small cardboard box with padding in it.
Nesting behaviors include your dog walking back and forth to her nesting spot. If she’s panting, she’s in active labor.
If you’re going to have her give birth naturally, it can take between two and 12 hours for the first puppy to show up.
Once it does, she’ll bite at the sack and lick the puppy to give it its first breath.
If she won’t do so or is too slow, you may have to intervene with scissors, gloves, and towels.
If the puppy doesn’t immediately start nursing, you may need to place it at your dog’s teeth.
How Pregnancy in Chihuahuas Can Be Detected in the Early Stages
A few basic signs include a decreased appetite, being less active, having a swollen belly and nipples.
After about the first 20 days, a veterinarian can feel the belly and be able to tell whether there is an unborn litter in there.
However, the above methods are not exactly objective and they could be signs of something like a hormone disorder.
Here are some more scientifically accurate ways that your veterinarian can test for pregnancy.:
An unborn litter can be detected by ultrasound as early as 21 days after the mating or insemination.
However, it’s recommended that you wait until the 25-day mark before driving your Chi in the car for this exam.
The ultrasound is perfectly painless, however, the procedure also involves shaving your dog’s belly.
Both the shaving and the noise of the ultrasound machine can be intimidating to nervous dogs.
The procedure costs an average of $500.
One thing the ultrasound can’t do very well, however, is to distinguish one puppy from another. The 45-day x-ray does that better.
In fact, an x-ray is very highly recommended at that point to also measure the size of the puppies’ skulls.
This determines whether your dog would be better off having a C-section.
Chihuahua Pregnancy Stages
Most Chihuahuas are pregnant for just over two months. Here are the basic mechanical stages.:
- The embryos travel up your dog’s uterine horn after the first week.
- They implant into the uterine lining by the 16th day.
- The fetuses start to form on the 22nd day and then their heartbeats can be detected by around the 29th day.
Some changes to watch for in your dog:
- an increased appetite
- morning sickness
- tiring easily
- enlarged nipples
- showing even more affection towards you. Remember, she’s feeling her vulnerability and is now more dependent on you than ever.
- vaginal discharge showing up at around the fourth week
Every pregnancy is as unique as two snowflakes. Not every pregnant Chihuahua will display everything listed above. Again, those are signs to simply watch for.
- the fetuses develop more rapidly at this time.
- the toes and eyelids show up first at 35 days
- the claws show up at 45 days
- for some reason, the rest of the skeleton and coats develop after that on the 50th day. This is around the time it’s safe to take the x-rays.
Her behavioral changes won’t be as subtle now and her pregnancy will start showing. Signs include:
- her eating habits will probably go down again around the 45th day
- she will urinate even more frequently and have clear vaginal discharge
- she will gain as much as another 50 percent of body weight, her belly will firm and you may be able to see the puppies moving by the 50th day
Most of the final changes start to happen about the last two weeks before she gives birth.
- by the 58th day, the puppies are fully developed and start to move down the birth canal
- by the 62nd day, she is in inactive labor. She gets more easily aggressive, loses her appetite completely, and starts to appear slimmer as her puppies move down her canal.
- usually on the 63rd day but anywhere between that and the 68th day, the puppies are born.
When is a C-Section Recommended
It is usually recommended if your dog is having a couple to a few puppies.
Fewer puppies mean more room in the uterus, which means that they’ll have a tendency to grow bigger before birth.
Since Chihuahuas are small and frail in the first place, bigger puppies mean that a natural birth will likely be difficult if not a threat to your dog’s life.
As a result, veterinarians usually recommend a c-section in those cases.
Final Thoughts on How To Tell If Your Chihuahua is Pregnant
Pregnancy in Chihuahuas can be hard to spot at first. The cycle can be a little bumpy but it’s an overall amazing experience.
The first thing that anyone who’s ever owned a Chihuahua can tell you is that they’re very small and frail.
As a result, pregnancy can really take a toll on their health if you’re not careful.
You will also need to consult with your veterinarian about whether your dog is safe to be mated with or if artificial insemination would be better.
If you’re going to mate your dog, you will need to keep an eye on where her fertility cycle is by watching for bleeding and then pinkish discharge.
Chihuahua females are pregnant between 62 and 68 days.
While she’s pregnant, her appetite will go back and forth, her energy levels won’t be as high and in the end, she’ll exhibit nesting behaviors.
Her nipples will enlarge, she might have morning sickness and will probably show more affection than ever toward you.
Remember, phantom pregnancies are possible and have been known to occur.
It’s important that you prepare a safe and comfortable place for her to keep the puppies once they’re born. Something like a dog bed should do.
Remember, the unborn puppies may not be detectable until the 21st to the 25th day.
Around the 45th to 50th day, it’s advisable to have your veterinarian take an x-ray to see whether a c-section will be safer for your dog.
C-sections are usually recommended if your dog is carrying just a couple to a few puppies.
In those cases, they often take up so much growth room that their heads get very large and they could have a lot of difficulties squeezing through the birth canal.