In reality, there is no exact number of puppies that any female can have in the same pregnancy, nor is it possible to determine for sure if they will all survive.
For planning purposes, it is useful to estimate an average of 5 puppies per litter, if it is a small breed female.
In this way you can plan the needs of home and owner, in case you have to put them up for adoption; or space needs, if you want to keep them at home.
Realize that every new puppy will need to be vaccinated, dewormed, and fed in the near future.
Ultrasound for dogs
There are ultrasounds for dogs, but they are also not reliable to know the exact number of puppies that are on the way. The vet will be able to make an estimate, of course, but it will only be that, a prognosis.
Even so, it is advisable to carry out this type of study to rule out problems during the gestation process that may affect the mother or the offspring.
How long does a dog go into labor?
If it is a first-time female, labor can last between 2 and 12 hours. The first puppy is the one that takes the longest to come out, this is normal. Also, it is completely normal to find a greenish fluid during labor.
How many puppies can a dog have according to its breed?
Now, depending on the race, the average can change considerably.
Small breeds have between 2 and 4 puppies. In fact, there are times when a female Chihuahua has only one baby per birth, especially if she is a first-timer.
Large breed females can be more prolific and give birth to an average of 8 puppies. Such is the case of farmers. And a female of the Great Dane breed can give birth to between 9 and 14 puppies. These are the data for other breeds:
- English Bull Terrier: They can have between one and up to 15 puppies.
- Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier: Between 2 and 6 puppies.
- Pinscher: From 2 to 3 puppies.
- Shin tzu: From 6 to 10 puppies.
- French Bulldog: From 1 to 4 puppies.
- German shepherd: from 4 to 9 puppies.
- Labrador: From 8 to 10 puppies.
- Dalmatian: from 6 to 8 puppies.
- Husky: Between 4 and 6 puppies.
Postpartum advice from the bitch
Hygiene, feeding and care of the breasts are the three most important aspects after the birth of a female.
That is why it is necessary to avoid the contact of the new mother with other adult dogs, since these can transmit infections that will affect the puppies. Also prevent cats, insects, rodents or other wild animals from approaching the bed where the dog feeds her puppies.
The nutrients that the bitch receives are crucial for the puppies to receive quality lactation. Her croquette bowl must always be full, as hunger can attack your dog at any time. Water must always be available and in optimal clean conditions, as this will prevent the transmission of parasites to the puppies.
Take care of the bitch’s moms
Examine the state of your pet’s breasts, they may be injured due to the lactation process. This is very important when the litter was large.
When the breasts are too hard or inflamed they can indicate canine mastitis. If you identify this problem, you can treat it early by applying hot compresses.
Puppies’ teeth erupt as quickly as a month after birth. She supervises that the female’s breasts are not injured and, if not, she consults the veterinarian.
In the first few days, the dog may be irritated and even defensive. Avoid bothering her too much and be patient with her.