Breeding dogs is a challenge I embrace with passion, and witnessing a dog giving birth is—for me—a miracle.
A female dog's pregnancy should be carefully monitored whether it is accidental or planned. It is the responsibility of the dog's owner to make sure both the dam and the puppies inside her womb are healthy.
Note: First and foremost, the dam should be healthy. A month before ovulation, she should be de-wormed and receive a physical exam.
My Experience With the Stages of Shih Tzu Pregnancy
Here is what you can expect during a Shih Tzu's pregnancy.
First Three Weeks
Physical signs of pregnancy are not visible during the first three weeks, but there are some early signs.
- Changes in behavior are noticeable, but they may vary by dog. Angel, my six-year-old Shih Tzu, gets more affectionate and becomes lethargic and lazy. Daday, the younger dog, gets angry easily and gets very jealous when attention is not wholly given to her. Both dogs sleep progressively more during their pregnancies.
- Another sign that my dogs are pregnant is that they feel nauseated after 10 or more days from the time they were studded. At this phase, hormonal changes are wreaking havoc inside their body.
- Vomiting occurs on some occasions and the dam usually loses their appetite, but after a day or two, they should eat normally again.
I don't increase the amount of food given to the pregnant dogs at this stage. Their diet is a mixture of 50% puppy food and 50% adult dog food for small breed, with two to three pieces of boiled chicken liver or gizzard added.
Four to Six Weeks
At this point, there are more physical signs of pregnancy:
- The Shih Tzus eat more than their usual ration.
- The abdomen looks full and distended.
- The fur around the nipples or the belly area gets thinner.
- The nipples are markedly full.
- Both of my dogs wanted to be petted all the time and were very affectionate. I had to give attention to each dog separately. Daday gets overly jealous and tends to attack Angel when I go near them.
At this stage, I still walk the dogs but at a slower pace and for a shorter duration.
Bathing them requires careful handling. I use warm water, and I do it fast. I wash them once a week. Combing their fur is required every other day or every day if necessary.
Seven to Eight Weeks
- Angel is a big eater, so I have to control her food or else either she'll get too fat and have small puppies or the puppies will get too big and it will be hard for her to give birth.
- Daday gets more aggressive as the days pass. She eats enough for herself and the puppies, and she doesn't beg for more food.
- I normally feed the dogs twice a day, morning and evening only. During pregnancy, I added a noon-time meal. Their diet at this stage of pregnancy would include mixed dog food as stated above and small amounts of one of the following: ground pork, ground beef, chicken (meat, liver, or gizzard).
- I encourage you to walk your dogs until the day they give birth. This is to build strong muscles that will help them when whelping time comes.
- Usually the dam goes into labor for three to eight hours. The duration of whelping depends on the number of puppies she produces and how strong the contractions of the abdominal muscles are.
Last year, Angel, on her fifth litter, had seven puppies. It took her five hours of whelping. Daday, on the other hand, had six puppies, but it took her longer (six hours) to give birth to all her puppies.
Two or More Days Before Delivery
- The dams will keep on grooming themselves.
- They will start to look for a dark and secluded place where they can give birth.
- Angel and Daday have their own cage where I put them every night. When they are almost due, I put old clothes (mostly old cotton shirts) in their cage.
- On the day they give birth, they don't eat or drink water. When this happens, I know it's a matter of hours before they start whelping.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 TENKAY
Jackie on April 04, 2020:
My shitzu is always hungry how often and how much should I feed her how much water should she be drinking and is dry dog food ok for her pregnancy
tenkay on October 28, 2019:
smile chris, please go to the nearest vet. It's possible your shihtzu is pregnant.
smile chris on October 27, 2019:
my shihtzu mated for the first tame 2 weeks before now it was not drinking water not eating any food from 3 days what should we have to do
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on August 19, 2019:
cher ching, i hope you could find a vet who could help you. There's a big possibility your shih tzu is pregnant.
cher ching on August 17, 2019:
my shih tzu had mated a month ago, now some liquid discharging from her vagina, doesnt have foul smell, later, i bring her on a clinic, i did tell her shes mated a month ago, and asjk if my shih tzu is pregnant, the doc doesnt know too. she hold my shih stomach and shes not sure. later she gave my shih a amoxicillin, been feeding my shih for 5 days, and then i also bring my shih to another check up, diff doc, advice me to go ultrasound, later when we are doing ultrasound theres two shape, but the doc also not sure if its fetus or infection.
Tyise on December 20, 2018:
Can i give a dog peroxide doing her pregnancy
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on April 19, 2018:
Camryn, your dog is still too young to be mated... the dam should be at least 1 year old before it could have puppies.
camryn swearengin on February 19, 2018:
my dog is only 5 months old can she still have babys
camryn swearengin on February 19, 2018:
my dog has been very lazy when before she was lazy when ever i called her she came but now when ever i call her she will not come!
Bodong Bugtai on June 09, 2017:
Thank you,this is very helpful...
tenkay on October 12, 2016:
Hello Oreo, please don't give your female shih a bath after having her mated. I usually give my dog a bath a week after the last day of mating. To make sure my dog get pregnant, I have her mated three times, every other day. From my experience, a dog usually has mild fever after a bath... hence no bath for mated dogs.
Oreo on October 12, 2016:
May i asked when can i bath my female shih? Can i bath her after mating? Can i bath her every other day? She was mated or being stud last October 9, 2016. Your prompt response is highly appreciated.
makull on May 30, 2016:
wow great post
It's very helpful, the tips in this post helped me very well
I was reading this article: http://dogzia.com/shih-tzu-grooming
before I came here, and I'm now asking myself how can I groom my shih tzu while pregnant ?
If you can write about grooming while pregnant this will be great
make sure to notify me
Dog lover on February 29, 2016:
Hello tenkay I know u are a Filipino so I will use Filipino words,salamat sa post mong yun nakaka kaba sa una nung nabasa ko to nag ka confidence ako na mag breed ng shih Tzu ko 3 years old na sha pero di ko PA alam kung kailangan pa so yun,pati OK lang ba young male Kong shih tzu sumama sa pregnant Kong female na shih Tzu?
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on January 22, 2014:
Hello shih tzu lovers, dog lovers... Mary615, Stu, Gip, and Shihtzulover. Thanks a lot for taking the time reading this article and commenting. I do love my dogs, there are 6 of them now. Its not only for the money, I have a full time teaching job, but for the challenge of raising healthy pups. It's difficult for me to express the joy I get when my dog gives birth. It's like seeing a miracle... the joy of seeing the pups grow strong and healthy so fast and then later see them being well-cared by the new owners. My pets are my "children", my "medicine", my stress antidote. Rest assured their health is my main concern.
Shihtzulover on January 15, 2014:
As someone who loves shih tzus I did a ton of research before breeding. My male has 19 championships my female is a good size and age. All the research says never breed before 2 years or 2 heat cycles and never breed after 5 years of age. However I am sure everyone is an expert. Some of the advice was sound but she is a breeding contradiction. With two dogs pregnant you can see it boils down to turning a profit. After the age of 5 every pregnancy is a high risk. As for the owner of the nine month old shame shame for breeding on the first heat cycle. Big breeder no no universally.
Gip on December 25, 2013:
Can not believe some sad git is on about your grammar .Also can not believe someone can be so cruel to make there dog have 5 ore 6 litters.This person is no dog lover, just a Greedy person making cash at the cost of there dogs well being . 1 litter is good for your dog 2 is enough and three litters is the max. As for the women with an 9 month old pregnant bitch, is an absolute disgrace to dog owners. Poor dog will have no life with an owner like that .
Stu on February 19, 2013:
Timetraveller2 seriously...I know you were thanked for your editing advise but this blog is about caring for your pregnant Shih Tzu not an English lesson.Get a grip ...its the little Shih Tzu's we're worried about not your writing skills.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 16, 2012:
We just lost our beloved Shih Tzu 5 days after giving birth to 5 puppies. We are heartbroken to say the least. I wrote a hub about that experience: I invite you to read mine when you have some time. The Vet seemed to think she had a dead pup left in the uterus, and she became toxic.
I vote the breed; they are just the sweetest dogs in the world.
I enjoyed reading your Hub, and voted it UP, etc.
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on October 01, 2012:
Scooby... I hope your shihtzu is going to have an easy pregnancy and birthing. Keep in touch with your vet to be on the safe side.
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on October 01, 2012:
Hello Tabetha, I hope your shih tzu is doing fine and had healthy pups. I haven't been checking my hubs for the past few months so I missed your comment. So how are you coping up with your pets?
scoobyscooby dooo on September 29, 2012:
That was so thankful because my shittzu is pregnant by a pomchi
Tabetha on June 28, 2012:
Thank you very much for this page. I have a 9 month old shih-tzu and she is pregnant. She is going to be 8 weeks on 6/30/2012. The only change in behavior is that she is a tad more loving. But I try to stop her horse playing but it is impossible she is full of energy and always running and monkeing around. I try to have her calm and relax, but she doesn't want to. I am very nervous, since she is a puppy I do not know if she will reject the pups, we'll see. Once again Thank you very much.
TENKAY (author) from Philippines on March 14, 2012:
Oh yes, I can see now what you mean. On the first editing, I checked on spelling and subject-verb agreement. Then the next day I read the whole thing again, there was this gut feeling something was not right. Thanks for pointing it out.
Thank you again for giving me some of your time.
Sondra Rochelle from USA on March 14, 2012:
This was good information, but you need to work on your sentence structure a bit. Subject then verb is the simplest way to structure sentences. Try not to begin your sentences with gerunds (ing words). Also, you need to stay on topic: this hub is about caring for your pregnant dog. How you love your dog is a different topic. The more you write, the better you'll do. This hub is a good start. Keep up the good work.