How to Take Care of Your Pregnant Shih Tzu

Updated on February 19, 2016


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.

This is Angel, a 6-year old female shih tzu. She is approximately 20 days pregnant when this picture was taken.
This is Angel, a 6-year old female shih tzu. She is approximately 20 days pregnant when this picture was taken. | Source
Daday is 3 years old and could be also pregnant. She was stud February 27, 2012.
Daday is 3 years old and could be also pregnant. She was stud February 27, 2012. | Source
Daday and Angel playing in the park. Taken March 11, 2012.
Daday and Angel playing in the park. Taken March 11, 2012. | Source


First and foremost, the dam should be healthy. A month before ovulation, she should be de-wormed.

Sultan, my male shih tzu, and Tenkay, a chocolate female Labrador.
Sultan, my male shih tzu, and Tenkay, a chocolate female Labrador.

First Three Weeks

Physical signs of pregnancy are not visible during the first three weeks, but there are some early signs.

  • Changes in behavior is noticeable though, but 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 ten 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 50% puppy food and 50% adult dog food for small breed, added with two to three pieces of boiled chicken liver or gizzard.

Four to Six Weeks into pregnancy

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 are 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.

I still walk the dogs but at a slower pace and 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 her 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.


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    • TENKAY profile image

      TENKAY 5 days ago from Philippines

      Camryn, your dog is still too young to be mated... the dam should be at least 1 year old before it could have puppies.

    • profile image

      Caroline Robinson 6 days ago from United States

      I also had a dog. When I was a child her name was boby and I loved him very much. If you want to know and learn more about dogs, have a look at this site

    • profile image

      camryn swearengin 2 months ago

      my dog is only 5 months old can she still have babys

    • profile image

      camryn swearengin 2 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Bodong Bugtai 10 months ago

      Thank you,this is very helpful...

    • profile image

      tenkay 18 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Oreo 18 months ago

      Dear author,

      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.

    • profile image

      makull 23 months ago

      wow great post

      It's very helpful, the tips in this post helped me very well

      I was reading this article:

      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

    • profile image

      Dog lover 2 years ago

      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 profile image

      TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

      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.

    • profile image

      Shihtzulover 4 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Gip 4 years ago

      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 .

    • profile image

      Stu 5 years ago

      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.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      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 profile image

      TENKAY 5 years ago from Philippines

      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 profile image

      TENKAY 5 years ago from Philippines

      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?

    • profile image

      scoobyscooby dooo 5 years ago

      That was so thankful because my shittzu is pregnant by a pomchi

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      Tabetha 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      TENKAY 6 years ago from Philippines

      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.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 6 years ago from USA

      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.