It’s always exciting to have a pregnant dog, because there’s nothing quite as cute as a litter of puppies. Whether you have planned a pregnancy for your Chihuahua or it’s accidentally happened, it can be quite tricky to tell whether she is pregnant or not.
Chihuahuas are characteristically very small dogs. Despite their size, they still have the ability to procreate and reproduce like any other dog.
The smaller ones might need a hand with artificial insemination, but in most cases, they just get on with it and hope for the best.
As their size can make you question whether they are pregnant or not, it’s important to look out for the early warning signs. This is your ultimate guide to tell if your Chihuahua is pregnant, and how to prepare for her pregnancy!
Early Signs of a Pregnant Chihuahua
The average length of the gestation period for Chihuahuas is between 58 and 68 days.
Most Chihuahuas won’t start developing their baby bump until the second or third week of the pregnancy, so it can often be alarming to discover that they are suddenly pregnant and you have a lot to prepare for in a short amount of time.
The most common early sign of a pregnant Chihuahua is a change in character. You will know your dog better than anyone, so you will notice when something is up.
A pregnant Chihuahua will seem tired and less active, and they will have a decreased appetite.
In terms of physical early signs, some Chihuahuas will have a swollen belly at 2 weeks into the pregnancy. Their nipples might also look larger and swollen, which is completely normal. She will also start peeing much more often.
Your Chihuahua’s vulva will naturally be larger when she is in heat, which will shrink back to its original size once she is out of the heat.
If her vulva is still swollen after 25 days (which is how long it stays swollen for in heat), then this is also a sign of pregnancy.
Due to the size of Chihuahuas, they can easily gain and lose weight without being pregnant, so it can often be tricky to determine whether their swollen belly is filled with pups or not.
You won’t be able to feel the puppies move until around week 5 or 6 of the pregnancy, so your best bet is to get your vet to examine her.
How to Know When Your Chihuahua is Definitely Pregnant
So, you’ve got your suspicions, and now is the time to get an accurate answer to whether your Chihuahua is pregnant or not. You can either opt for a blood test or an ultrasound.
The blood test occurs 5 weeks after the Chihuahua mated with its chosen dog. If the mating was accidental, you might not know when she has been pregnant for 5 weeks.
You might want to complete the blood test early, which will only give negative results.
This test is the cheaper option to ultrasounds and works to look for pregnancy hormones.
The ultrasound is the least invasive and fastest way to get an accurate result of pregnancy. This procedure occurs roughly 25 days after mating.
It doesn’t involve any needles like the blood test, but the dog’s belly will be shaved which can be stressful for the dog. The only downside to ultrasounds is that they can be expensive – averaging to $500.
Despite the price, ultrasounds are the most reliable option to tell if your dog is pregnant or not. Not only will it give you a clear result faster than a blood test, but you might be able to see the little puppies inside her belly!
Although, this won’t tell you how many there are. You will have to wait until the big day, or opt for an X-ray closer to the time, to count the little ones.
On average, a Chihuahua will have 3 puppies in a litter. If they have another pregnancy when they are older, they are more likely to produce more.
An X-ray can be performed 45 days into the pregnancy, which will give a clear picture of how many puppies there are (as they can overlap in an ultrasound).
X-rays are optional, but they can give the vet an idea of how big the skulls are, which will determine whether your Chihuahua is capable of a natural birth or not. If the skulls are too big, the other option is a C-section.
As it can take a few weeks before you know whether your Chihuahua is pregnant or not, you’re going to want to know what’s actually going on inside her body during this time.
There are three stages of a Chihuahua’s pregnancy, which are all split into the three months of the gestation period.
Stage 1 (Month 1)
On the outside, not much seems to happen in the first stage of a Chihuahua’s pregnancy. It’s a different story inside the Chihuahua.
In the first week, you should carry on as normal. Continue to feed and exercise your Chihuahua as you normally would. During this time, the embryos will start to travel to the uterine horns.
In the second week, the embryo cells will start to develop in the uterus lining. Your Chihuahua won’t need anything more than her regular food and exercise.
In week three, the tiny embryos will begin to form. At this point, your Chihuahua might instinctively start eating more, which won’t harm her. You still don’t need to make changes to her diet or exercise routine as of yet.
Week four is when things start to get exciting. Your vet will be able to determine if your dog is pregnant through an ultrasound or blood test. They will also advise on whether to change her diet or exercise.
The fourth week is the most important in the whole pregnancy, as miscarriages are more likely to happen here. You should limit her exercise to gentle walks and no rough play.
In terms of her personality, your Chihuahua will become much more affectionate than usual. She will want to relax in her bed or on the couch with you, and her appetite will begin to increase.
It’s not clear to say why her appetite will be minimal in the first week or two, but it’s probably because she’s feeling nauseous.
She also will start producing clear vaginal discharge towards the end of the first month.
Stage 2 (Month 2)
The second month is where the fetuses will begin to grow quickly as they start to develop eyelids, toes, claws, skeletons, and coats after every 10 days.
In week five, she will begin to develop a round belly. This is when her diet should change as she requires more nutrients for her growing puppies. Your vet will recommend changing her diet to puppy food or a pregnant and nursing dog formula.
She will also need more calories than usual, so listen to your vet’s advice and give her more food!
In week six, everyone will know that your once-little Chihuahua is pregnant. Her appetite may change slightly, but she still needs the same calories and nutrients as in week five.
She might feel full more quickly because of the pressure of the fetuses in her stomach. It’s best to feed her small portions little and often – try leaving food in her bowl throughout the day to encourage her to eat!
During this week, you should begin to prepare the whelping box. Your dog needs to be comfortable with their future short-term home, so let her become comfortable with the whelping box in its designated room.
In week seven, the fetuses will resemble puppies. This is when the whelping box should be prepared and ready to go, and you should be ready for whatever happens.
During this time, you might begin to feel the puppies move around in her firm stomach!
Week eight is possibly the most unpredictable week in the gestation period, because your Chihuahua could easily go into early labor.
Your Chihuahua will begin to nest in her whelping box more frequently, so you should have made all of your adjustments to this area in the previous week. You should be able to see the puppies move around now.
Stage 3 (Month 3)
Don’t panic, but it’s going to happen very quickly. Most Chihuahuas give birth on their 63rd day of being pregnant, but you should be prepared for whenever it happens.
She will be nesting very intensely and you shouldn’t move her from this area just in case it happens.
Your Chihuahua might begin to act strangely during this time. You can’t blame her, after all, because she is about to give birth to several puppies.
She might become lethargic and/or restless as she gets into different positions for comfort. During this time, you kind of have to leave the rest to her.
Sit beside the whelping box and keep her reassured by talking in quiet, calm voices. If she shows signs of distress, call a vet immediately.
It is said that if her temperature drops below 100°F, she is likely to give birth within the next 24 hours.
Preparing for a Chihuahua Pregnancy
Whilst your Chihuahua will do most of the work by herself, there are some things that you will need to do to accompany her with a healthy, comfortable, and safe pregnancy.
Your vet will recommend a diet that involves puppy kibble or a pregnant and nursing dog formula. This usually happens in week five as whatever she eats, her puppies will eat.
The vet will also say to monitor her exercise. She will eventually become too tired to exercise anyway, but don’t make her do anything more than a short and slow walk.
Any play fighting can harm the puppies.
Preparing the whelping box will be your top priority. A whelping box is a box where your Chihuahua will have her babies in, and it’s essential that she feels comfortable in it to prevent stress from causing damage.
This box should be in a quiet room with little noise and foot traffic, and needs to be surrounded with comforting smells like a blanket. It should also be easy to clean and easy for the Chihuahua to jump in and out of.
In terms of the size, there needs to be enough room for your dog to move around in.
She will become restless during the birth, which means she could step on a newborn puppy if the whelping box is too small.
Once she has given birth, the whelping box will be a home for her and her puppies until they start to move around.
As we said, your Chihuahua will be restless and agitated when she is in labor. Labor can last anywhere between 2 to 12 hours, so make sure to keep an eye on her throughout the whole process.
When she has given birth to each puppy, she will bite the amniotic sac to free the puppy. She will then lick the puppy clean and eat the sac and the placenta (which is pretty gross but natural).
You shouldn’t help her with this as she needs to bond with her puppy.
However, if she has gone to eat the placenta and not the sac, you will need to carefully rip open the amniotic sac to let the puppy breathe.
If the puppy isn’t breathing, you need to gently rub its chest until it opens its mouth.
The puppies can be born randomly throughout this time. If there has been a break of longer than 2 hours between puppies, you should contact your vet.
Natural or C-Section Birth
Your vet will tell you whether your dog is suitable for a natural birth or not during the X-ray. They will tell how big the skulls are, which will determine whether your dog can push them out naturally.
C-Sections can be expensive (usually around $1000), but they are worth it for the safety of your dog and her puppies.
It can be hard to tell whether your Chihuahua is pregnant or not within the first few weeks since the mating.
After you have proven that she is pregnant, the next few weeks will fly by and everything will move very quickly!
Now you know about the stages of pregnancy and how to help your dog throughout it, we hope it has answered your questions and fears.
Dogs are maternal by nature, and will mostly do the job by themselves. You just have to make sure nothing goes wrong in the process!