Everything You Need to Know About Pregnant Pit Bulls - Simply For Dogs
Pregnant Pit Bulls

Everything You Need to Know About Pregnant Pit Bulls

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Despite the fact that pit bulls are often discriminated against – even being banned in some areas altogether – humans continue to adopt them, buy them, breed them, and love them. This umbrella term “pit bull” covers several breeds, all of which are the most commonly-found dogs in shelters all over the country. While this is sad, and a good sign that pit bull lovers should consider adopting from shelters before buying a puppy, it’s also a telling fact for another reason: it means that new pit bulls are constantly being born.

If you are a long-time reader, you’ll know that I breed Boxers. Janice and Leroy have had a few litters now, and I’m always excited to share the Boxer love with the people who adopt the puppies. We’ve talked a lot about breeding and adopting on the blog before; this article won’t be a debate about that. Instead, I just want to address anyone who may have a pregnant pit bull. If you are about to have a litter of pit bull puppies on your hands, you may want to know a few things about the process. We’ll cover caring for your pregnant pit bull, how many puppies a pit bull may have, the health of the puppies, and several other topics in this post.

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How Long Does a Pit Bull Stay in Heat? And Other Questions About Pit Bull Breeding

Wondering how long a pit bull stays in heat? Want to know how to breed pit bulls? Let’s talk about the initial process of breeding.

Pit bulls, like any other dog, can breed when the female is in heat. Female pit bulls go into heat twice per year, for about three weeks each time. The signs of heat include:

  • Swollen vulva
  • Reddish or brown discharge
  • Growing smell
  • Hyperactivity or being unusually anxious

It takes about two weeks into the heat cycle before a dog can be bred. At this point, you’ll need to introduce the female to a stud (a male dog that is not neutered), and let nature take its course. Generally, pregnancy cannot be confirmed until about a full month after the breeding took place. So you likely won’t know if the breeding worked until your pit bull is out of heat.

Pregnancy is confirmed by a blood test, but your vet may also do an ultrasound at this time. If the breeding didn’t take, you’ll have to wait for the next time the female goes into heat to try again.

How often a dog should be bred, when breeding should start, and if you should skip cycles or even full years, between litters, are all controversial topics in the world of dog breeding. I would recommend you consider reading the AKC’s information on dog breeding, and check out the books and other resources they recommend in that guide.

Related Content:

The Real Truth About Pit Bulls
9 Vital Weeks – Caring for Your Dog During Pregnancy and Whelping
10 Dog Breeds Mistaken for Pit Bulls

The Pregnancy Process: What to Expect and How to Care for a Pregnant Pit Bull

Once your pit bull’s pregnancy has been confirmed, you’ll have to make sure that the pregnant pit bull is well-cared for, to keep the puppies and the mother healthy. How long do pit bulls stay pregnant? Most large breed dogs will stay pregnant for around 71 days. If your dog is pregnant longer than 72 days, your vet may decide that it’s best to induce labor. Here’s the timeline that you can expect:

 

  • Three weeks: At around three weeks into the pregnancy, your pit bull may begin to be nauseous, and may not eat as much. It’s right around this time that the blood test or ultrasound can be done to confirm pregnancy.
  • One month: At about one month into the pregnancy, your pit bull can have an official blood test to truly confirm pregnancy without a doubt, and you’ll start to see changes in her body. Her stomach will start to look rounder, and she may start to have swelling in the nipples.
  • 45 days: At 45 days into the pregnancy, the puppies should be able to be counted by a vet, or an experienced breeder.
  • 66 to 71 days: Somewhere from a week to a day before labor, your dog may start to develop milk. However, this isn’t an absolute rule. Some dogs don’t get milk until after they have a litter.

Caring for your pit bull during pregnancy isn’t necessarily hard, but it does require some attention. The most important thing is that your dog be fed a very high-quality diet. She won’t need to eat any more for the first month of pregnancy, but from the fifth week and beyond, her appetite will likely increase. Many breeders switch a pregnant dog to puppy food, so that she can get extra nutrients that help encourage milk production and give her the extra energy she needs.

The second thing to know is that even when heavily pregnant, your dog should be given some exercise every day. Keep her exercise regular throughout the early stages of pregnancy, and make sure she’s at least getting a short walk every day in the later days of pregnancy. This ensures she’ll have the strength and stamina to give birth.

Keep an eye on your dog for any sort of discharge, especially anything that looks brown, red, or green, coming from the vaginal area. Monitor her behavior and pay attention if she starts to act like she is in pain, or if she suddenly refuses to move, drink water, or let you touch her. In these cases, you should contact your vet.

Otherwise, just keep your dog protected from extreme heat or extreme cold, keep her well-fed and hydrated, and make sure she’s getting exercise. That’s really all you need to do.

Pregnant Pit Bulls

Preparing for the Labor Process

Before your dog goes into labor, you do want to start preparing. You can just let your dog give birth in her crate, but this isn’t always the most ideal place. She may not want to give birth in her crate, and it may make it hard for you to keep her sleeping area clean. Instead, building a “whelping box” is an option.

A whelping box is really just a place for your pit bull to give birth, that has been created with the needs of a birthing mother dog in mind. It doesn’t have to be a box – it could be a dog kennel, part of a room sectioned off by a short gate, or even a whole room. Here’s what you need in the whelping area:

 

  • Absorbent material to keep the floor or surface clean. Puppy pads can be a great thing, but a layer of newspaper can also work. You can also find washable whelping mats that are specifically made for this purpose.
  • A heat source. Either keep the area warm with your indoor heating, or consider placing a heating lamp or space heater nearby. The whelping area should not be cooler than 85 degrees for the first few days. After the first few days, you can let it sit at about 72 degrees, but never lower than that. Pit bull puppies do not have the ability to regulate their body temperature.
  • Water for the mother dog. She’ll probably want to eat away from the puppies, but be sure she has water in this area.
  • Something to keep the puppies rounded up. A short gate that allows the mother to get over, while keeping the puppies in place, is a good idea. This is why many people do in fact use the whelping “box” – it keeps puppies in an area so they don’t roll away.

Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: In a kennel that is too small, the mother dog could accidentally crush one of the puppies by laying on them. This often happens when a puppy gets unto the corner of the kennel or box, and the mother lays down. There are specific whelping boxes that are made with a sort of gutter all the way around the sides, so that if a puppy gets into the corner, they don’t get squished.

How to Handle the Birthing Process

The birthing process is mostly something that the dog will take care of by herself. A healthy pit bull that has no problems will be able to give birth without issue, clean up the pups, and be in great shape afterwards. Be aware that it can take some time to have all the puppies. You may think that she is done, and then one more pup may show up. So be sure that you don’t rush her through the process or do anything till you’re positive she’s done.

Here are the signs that your dog is going into labor:

  • Restlessness
  • Panting heavily
  • Hiding from you
  • Nesting by digging at the blankets or whatever is laid down in her whelping area

The dog takes care of getting rid of umbilical cords and embryonic sacs. You may have to jump in and help a dog clean away the fluids from a puppy’s nose and mouth in some cases, but give her a chance to do it first. Puppies tend to come about every 20 minutes during a birth, but it could be as much as a full hour between puppies. Don’t worry unless you see her straining.

The only time you need to call the vet, or worry, during the birthing process is if you see part of a puppy hanging out of the vaginal area, but the rest isn’t coming out (like a leg hanging out, but no progress is being made), or if your dog is having dark discharge before the puppies are born. Dark discharge is normal after puppy birth.

One important thing to do during the birthing process is to try to count the placentas, or the dark grouping of discharge that comes out with each pup. Make sure you count one placenta for every pup – if it seems one is missing, and you are sure your dog didn’t eat it, it could be still inside her, and this is dangerous for a dog.

Once you are positive all the puppies have been born, and everyone seems happy and calm, it’s time to call the vet and schedule a checkup for the whole family.

Caring for Newborn Pit Bull Puppies

Now that you have a litter full of pit bull puppies, you probably have a lot of questions. How much are pit bull puppies? When do pit bull puppies open their eyes? How should I feed them? What should I do if they aren’t breathing?

First of all, pit bull puppies can cost as much as any other pure bred dog, if they are fully pit bull. It just depends on the demand for them in your area. I would recommend looking into other breeders in your area to see what this breed can be sold for, if that is your intention. If you get a pit bull from a top breeder, these dogs could go up into the thousands per dog. But most home breeders will sell purebred pit bull puppies for several hundred dollars each.

As for your other questions, stay tuned. Later this month, I’ll post an article all about how to take care of pit bull puppies, starting at birth. This will include everything you need to know about weaning, vaccinations, socializing, and more.

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Last update on 2018-08-20 at 00:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Final Word

Having a new litter of puppies in the house can be a lot of fun. But it also means you’ll have to do a little bit of rearranging of your schedule. Puppies cannot be left alone for long periods of time, and you do need to keep an eye on how the mother is taking care of them. Be sure you are handling the puppies from day one, and that you continue to keep an eye on the mother dog’s health.

About half a year later, your pit bull should go into heat again. Once you decide how often you want to breed your dog, you can begin the process again, and have even more puppies around!

Related Content:

The Real Truth About Pit Bulls
9 Vital Weeks – Caring for Your Dog During Pregnancy and Whelping
10 Dog Breeds Mistaken for Pit Bulls

Sources:

https://vitaminsforpitbulls.com/pitbull-is-pregnant-having-puppies/

https://www.wikihow.com/Breed-Pit-Bulls

About the Author Ash