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Yorkie Pregnancy

Yorkshire Terrier Pregnancy

Yorkie pregnancy information is very important. When you learn that your Yorkshire Terrier is pregnant, there is much to know about. 

This will be an exciting time; yet one that goes by very quickly.

Knowing the signs of pregnancy in a Yorkie is vital; the dam will need extra care right away. Preparations must be made to ensure a smooth delivery. 

Let's discuss all aspects of Yorkie that is pregnant.

Can a Yorkie Get Pregnant the First Time She Mates?

Yes! If you are not planning on having Yorkie puppies it is extremely vital to have her spayed.

Spaying also greatly decreases the risks ovarian and mammary cancer. It is suggested to do this before the first heat. If your Yorkie has not been spayed and a male dog was able to attach to her, she can get impregnated that first time! 
litter of Yorkies
Photo courtesy of Tammy Lyons
Signs of Pregnancy with the Yorkshire Terrier

There may be variable conditions in which you do not know if your Yorkie is pregnant. Perhaps she got out of the house while in heat and a male dog found her. This is the circumstance in which most Yorkie owners will become worried. You will want to know if your dog is pregnant, as soon as possible.

You could ask your veterinarian to perform an ultra sound or x-ray; though this will not be able to be done until late in the pregnancy. Blood tests are another option, but will not be accurate until more than 3 weeks have passed.

Here are the first signs that your Yorkie is carrying pups:
  • She will act sluggish, sleepy and not as active as usual
  • The stomach will just be a bit firmer than normal
  • Her nipples will grow very large, again, this happens fast
  • Nipples that were previously unseen, may begin to pop out, this will happen more and more as the weeks pass
  • She may groom herself more extensively than normal
  • She may begin to “nest”, gathering items, trying to make a quiet and soft area for herself
Later signs
  • By the end of week 3, beginning of week 4, the abdomen will be noticeably larger
  • Her appetite should increase
  • Weight gain - A Yorkshire Terrier will gain roughly 30% of her ideal weight during pregnancy. This means a gain of 1.2 to 2.1 lbs. is considered normal.
Pregnancy can be confirmed at the vets via a blood test which is usually accurate after day 22. By day 42. an ultrasound can detect the fetus and check for any abnormalities. After day 45, an x-ray will be able to show how many fetuses are growing (bones have not fully calcified until this time).
The Average Size Litter for Yorkshire Terriers

On average, there will be a litter of four. This can vary, of course. The litter size will range from 1 to 5. When a litter is very large (over 5 pups), there is a greater chance that some of the pups will be stillborn or pass shortly after birth.
How Long Yorkies are Pregnant

Canines in general are pregnant for an average of 63 days. However, as few as 58 days and as long as 68 days of pregnancy is considered normal for a toy breed dog. If a Yorkie has not delivered by day 67, it will be time to call the veterinarian.
pregnant Yorkshire Terrier, 50 days
Hannah,4 yrs. old, Day 50 into her pregnancy and doing great!
Photo courtesy of Bruce Duncan - Cedar Springs, MI
Pregnancy Care

Ideally, you will want to have a full health exam done before any mating...This allows for testing to rule out possible genetic issues that could be passed down through breeding...Some dogs will not be given the okay to be bred. However, in a case of accidental breeding it is important to bring the dam for a full and complete check up right away. Everyone who comes into contact with your Yorkie must be exceptionally gentle with her. Proper care and feeding should always be provided and one must be keenly aware of her needs at this time. 

She should be given a warm, soft and comfy area to rest; if you do not already have this for her. As the weeks pass, she will want to spend more and more time in this quiet area, retreating to nest. Even a dog that normally wants to be very close to their human family members often will now want an area that is a bit separate...perhaps in the corner of a quiet room. 

As her appetite increases, be sure to offer enough food.  It may be best to switch from scheduled meals to free-feeding. However do be sure to keep the food fresh. Do not just 'top off' the bowl, but instead scoop out the older food at the bottom as this may accumulate over time. Once per day, wash both food and water dishes with hot water and dish soap.

You'll want to keep exercising the dam so that she is in good shape for the delivery, however do limit runny and certainly limit jumping.  A nice 15 to 20 minute walk twice per day on relatively level sidewalks is best.

Do not offer any extra supplements at all unless you first check with the veterinarian. Giving a pregnant dog extra calcium during pregnancy can leave her very vulnerable to an Eclampsia infection post-pregnancy. 
How to Know When Labor Will Begin

You will know that your Yorkie is going to have puppies within 24 when her internal temperature drops below normal. Starting one week before the expected due date, take her temperature at least twice per day.  Use a canine rectal thermometer and lubricate it with petroleum jelly. Insert it about a half inch. Leave it for three minutes. Your dog’s normal temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.17 Celsius) . When your Yorkie's temperature drops below 100 F (37.77 C), she should give birth within 24 hours.

As she begins to enter labor, she may resist eating, she may vomit (this should be acute and not last for very long) and as contractions begin, she may whine. While crying is typical, do keep a close eye for signs of problems.
Red Flags

While most pregnancies and deliveries go just fine without problems, it is important to not be caught up in the moment and to be very aware of how the dam is behaving and what is happening in case of a rare but possible complication. This includes but is not limited to:
  • She has been pregnant for more than 70 days
  • It has been 24 hours since her temperature dropped but no pups have been pushed out
  • One puppy came out, but it has been more than 2 hours without any more coming out (and you know there are more pups)
  • She appears to be experiencing severe and overwhelming pain
  • There is excessive blood or fluid loss
  • On-going vomiting, weakness or any other signs of distress

The dam should be put into a whelping box as labor begins. This can be a cardboard box with one side cut out in order to "flap down". Another option is a canine bed (a Perla bed without the cushion, but lined with soft cloths can work well). If the sire or any male dogs are in the home, they should be removed and safely separated to a different room. 

Having lots of layers of clean newspaper or small sections of sheets lining the whelping box will allow you to keep pulling soiled and soaked sheets away, leaving a new layer of clean paper or sheets.

The puppies may come out one right consecutively or there may be a time span of up to 2 hours in between the puppies emerging.  Each will be born encased in its own amniotic sac. In some cases, this rips open as it passes through the birth canal, but more often than not, it remains intact and will be gently torn open by the dam. She will also bite the umbilical cord and lick the puppies to clean away mucus and stimulate breathing. 

Once all the pups are born, it is perfectly natural for the dam to ingest the umbilical cords, amniotic sac, placenta and other tissues.

Any puppies that do not find their way to her tummy to nurse should be carefully moved there. Keep an eye out for a newborn puppy that is very small and being pushed out of the way by larger littermates.  All puppies will need to be closely monitored to make sure that they are adequately nursing.  If not, bottle feeding may need to be done as hypoglycemia can quickly set in 

Cleaning bedding should be put down and a heating pad, set on "warm" should be put under the blanket.

Care for the Female Yorkie Afterward

The dam can be given a warm sponge bath her clean and settled down into clean, soft blankets, allowing her to rest with her litter. While she may not be immediately hungry, water and food should be available at all times.

There may be some light discharge for up to a week. This should be any color ranging from pink to red or even a bit brown. If the discharge is excessive or if it is an odd color (green or black), contact the vet right away. 

The temperature in the whelping box should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the 1st week and 82 degrees Fahrenheit the 2nd and 3rd week. Take care that there are no cool or cold drafts.
More, Important Yorkshire Terrier Pregnancy Information
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