Whether your Shih Tzu is already pregnant or you wish to breed her, you will want to gather as much Shih Tzu pregnancy information as possible.
Since a dog's pregnancy cycle is so much shorter than a human's, it is important to recognize the first signs that puppies are on the way. Caring for your dog and preparing for the big day are vital for the health of the mother Shih Tzu and soon-to-come puppies. The Signs of Shih Tzu Pregnancy
Almost immediately, your dog will show a change in behavior. Different than some breeds, the Shih Tzu female will show a marked change, such as a turn from active to calm or visa-versa
Her nipples will become larger and harder
Her vulva will become and remain swollen
She may show "nesting" activities
Her belly will quickly become swollen This Shih Tzu is soon going to have her puppiesHow Long Will My Shih Tzu Be Pregnant?
All canines carry for approximately 9 weeks. This time moves by quickly; therefore at the first signs, steps must be taken to keep your dog healthy and happy. How Do I Prepare?
This will be a joined effort between you and your dog's veterinarian. Your Shih Tzu should be dotted on more than usual. For this period of time, your dog should be treated like a princess and great care taken to provide her with all she needs for the upcoming birth of her puppies.
Dog food is important now, more than ever! Because dog food formulated for puppies has a high content of fat and vitamins to spur growth, this is recommended. If your dog won't tolerate a change in dog food, be sure to provide plenty of her regular food, along with a full vitamin supplement and healthy snacks. 93% of all Shih Tzu females will have a higher appetite when expecting; it will be your job to make sure her cravings are met. Activity
During the first 2 weeks, all may remain the same. However from week 3 to week 9, activity should be cut back. While still providing an outlet for bursts of energy, you should allow your Shih Tzu to go for walks with you. However, any jumping or rough-housing should be strictly prohibited. Vet Checkups
You will want to bring your Shih Tzu to her regular veterinarian at the first sign of possible pups on the way! Most vets will then have you bring her in once a week. By week 4, an experienced vet will be able to feel how many puppies are growing inside your dog's belly simply by touch. Many veterinarians will also perform at least 1 ultra sound during these 9 weeks; it is vital to know if the hips of your Shih Tzu will allow for a natural birth.How Many Puppies Should I Expect?
Some small breed toy dogs only have 1 to 3 puppies. The Shih Tzu, while a toy breed dog, has a relatively much larger litter. The average litter of the Shih Tzu is 5 to 6 pups; however there is no need for concern if the litter is as small as 3 or as large as 10. Of course, a larger litter means a closer eye on the health of the growing puppies and continual regularly scheduled monitoring of their heartbeats. Where Should My Shih Tzu Give Birth?
This should be discussed as soon as possible with your dog's veterinarian. If you do not feel comfortable having your dog have her puppies at your home you should consider other alternatives. Your veterinarian may know of dog owners who have great experience with this and would be willing to come to your home to aid. Alternatively, there are canine clinics where you may bring your Shih Tzu to give birth among professionals; thus offering your and your dog a safe environment for this. If it is determined that a Cesarean section must be performed, of course this will be done at an animal hospital. Preparing For a Home Birth
If you have decided to be in charge or at least have this occur at your home with the assistance of others, be sure to prepare. The last thing you will want is to have to run out for supplies during this exciting and adrenaline rushing time! Your Shih Tzu will need a very quiet area, usually beginning at week 2. She will need a place to retreat to rest, as she will tire more easily as the weeks go by. It is suggested to create an area that not only will serve as her retreat during the 9 weeks, but also will be the area in which your dog will give birth. Therefore, she will feel comfortable with this area.
Being able to give your Shih Tzu her own room, such as a secondary bathroom is optimal. Put a clean cardboard box in the room. The box will serve as the Whelping Box. Your dog will need to feel safe and secure when giving birth to her puppies. The box allows her to feel the safety of an enclosed area and it will help you contain the mess from fluids and other elements. The following is a list of all supplies needed for helping your Shih Tzu deliver:
Clean sheets and towels
Plastic sheets, akin to the plastic sheets put down for painting a room
A plastic syringne
A heating pad
A small dropper
newspaper - a large supply
When Will Labor Begin?
When a dog's temperature drops, labor will begin. Her normal temperature is 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.33 Celsius). A drop of approximately 2 degrees is the signal that you must gently move her to the whelping box if she is not already there. What Will Happen?
Your dog's water may break first, or the sac may be pushed out. As each puppy emerges, your Shih Tzu will most likely tear away the surrounding sac and lick the pup clean. When she licks her puppy, it stimulates blood flow and causes the pup to breath. If she does not do this, you must! Gently rub the pups body and use the bulb syringe to clean out the mouth and nose of fluids. She will also bite off the umbilical cord; if not, this is where the thread will come in. You must tie the beginnings of a knot carefully around the cord, about 2 inches from the body of the puppy. Then in a swift motion, pull each end of the thread which will cut the cord. The part that remains on the pup will dry out and fall off within a week or two. If she rejects the pups, a rare possibility, put a heating pad under some sheets to provide warmth without risk of burns and use a dropper to feed the pups. In the majority of cases, the puppies will only need to you carefully guide them to mom's milk.
Do not be shocked when she most likely eats the sac, placenta and other elements that are expelled. As regal as the Shih Tzu is, pure animal instinct is at play during this time and this is normal and accepted behavior. Many people wonder if a dog feels pain or to what degree. While one can only theorize as to the extent, it will be clear that the dog will be experiencing pain. Many dogs will cry; do keep in mind that many female humans choose to "go natural" and your dog will be find. If having her give birth to puppies is to happen at your home, do have your vet on standby in case she appears to be in extreme duress.
Of course, once all of the puppies have come out, she will need plenty of rest and TLC. This text is from Shih Tzu Information Center