Shih Tzu Pregnancy | The full care guide

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The Shih Tzu is a dog breed that is highly associated with the lion time and again. Even Though it is a relatively small animal with a lively personality. Shih Tzu has a magnanimous personality.

This particular dog breed was always bred specifically to be companions. They are warm, affectionate, and outgoing house dogs that light up the lives of their owners. You will often come across a sweet little Shih Tzu following its owners from one room to another.

From ancient times, these puppies have made themselves a home in the laps of people. The entire breeding process of a Shih Tzu is quite peculiar. Female Shih Tzus require some time before they can be ready to mate and carry puppies.

For a successful pregnancy, ensure that both Shih Tzus are healthy. You have to make sure that both the male and the female are in good shape. They have to be genetically fit to breed further.

Shih Tzu Pregnancy
Shih Tzu Pregnancy Guide

Introduction To A Shih Tzu’s Pregnancy

Contrary to popular belief, rather there being physical changes in your dog when they are pregnant, you will also see behavioral changes. Varying from the general trajectory of how some dog breeds exhibit pregnancy traits.

To know for sure if your Shih Tzu is pregnant through medicinal examinations. To know for sure if your Shih Tzu is expecting, you will need to consult a veterinarian. They will perform certain tests to confirm the pregnancy. There are numerous options which include:

  • a blood test will be precise – By Day 22
  • an ultrasound can give a concrete test for the pregnancy – By Day 28 (however, experienced vets can tell by the palpation of the abdomen as well)
  • due to the calcification of the bones, an x-ray can confirm the status – On Day 42

Although, this is extremely late to test for pregnancy. Usually, at this time, to gauge the number of puppies to expect the test is necessary.

The Shih Tzu female showcases surmountable alterations in their personality. For one, they convert from active dogs to calm ones. Nesting aptitudes might also evolve quite rapidly.

The usual physical changes that a Shih Tzu showcases include the following:

  • Changes in the nipples:

The nipples of your dog will become bigger in size and also more firm. If they were flush before, they would then pop out.

  • Enlarged Mammary Glands:

If a dog has gone through pregnancy before, its area might hang a little.

  • Swollen Vulva
  • Enhanced appetite will generally come into existence by the end of the 3rd week.
  • By week 4, it becomes quite apparent that your dog is pregnant. The belly of the dog will swiftly become bigger.

How To Know For Sure Your Shih Tzu Is Pregnant?

How To Know For Sure Your Shih Tzu Is Pregnant?
Lucy, Pregnant Shih Tzu

So, There are some telltale signs to tell if your Shih Tzu has become pregnant. If you are consciously in the process of breeding your dog, be aware of the early-stage signs of pregnancy.

Numerous signs point towards your Shih Tzu being in or starting labor soon.

The indication of labor starting includes the following:

  • Lying on one side
  • A decline in the dog’s body temperature (the temperature of the rectum will fall below 100 F)
  • Searching for a secure place for whelping
  • Crying or yelping
  • Vomiting
  • Nesting
  • Hints of difficulty in breathing, panting
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Vaginal Discharge (watery)

The stomach of your Shih Tzu can get bigger in size. Within 14 days after the insemination has taken place, the pregnancy should have occurred. You may also notice due to this condition; your Shih Tzu might start showing some behavioral changes. They can become more lethargic.

To determine the pregnancy, many dog owners do not want to wait until 3 to 4 weeks have passed. It is the time when the signs of your dog being pregnant are quite evident.

Although it is a common wish to want to know as soon as it happens, regardless of the size of the dog, whether it’s a toy or a giant reed, the period for development is the same.

If you suspect that your little female Shih Tzu could be expecting, take her to the vet. During the checkup, the vet is able to feel it’s belly. They will be on the lookout for any movement as soon as twenty to thirty days.

How Long Will My Shih Tzu Stay Pregnant?

How Long Will My <a href=
How Long Will My Shih Tzu Stay Pregnant?

The expected gestation period is 63 days. However, there can be a variation on some days. It is an average count that has been prevalent throughout the years. This gestation period is applicable to dogs of all dimensions and is the same across the board.

Another important aspect of deciding is where your puppy will deliver her babies. Consulting a veterinarian is the most important step in the process.

There is preplanning involved when the choice is to go for a C-section. If it is the only possible route, the decision to opt for it depends on the doctor. However, the whelping box should be ready for use in normal cases. You would want the whelping box to be in easy accessibility for the dog.

Also, it should be in an area that offers the Shih Tzu some sort of privacy during the process. Possible options include the corner of the living room, kitchen, or sunroom.

The entire labor process may last for a while. The minimum time it takes is 3 hours, and a maximum of 12 hours. Furthermore, this happens in three individual stages.

The Process of Delivery

Stage 1

In this initial stage of labor, your Shih Tzu’s cervix will dilate. It is being made ready to give birth. Your dog might exhibit signs of discomfort, such as lying on its side. It may pant and vomit during the dilation process.

In this stage, the puppies will form a line and be ready to come out into the world. This stage generally lasts for about 12-24 hours. Although the uterus of your Shih Tzu is starting to constrict, it will not be apparent from the outside.

This part may persist in being discreet for the people present there. Customarily the nest will tightly settle the female. They will not want to eat. Also the further they go into labor, the more watery vaginal Discharge will come out, as the cervix opens up.

Stage 2

In this second stage, there will be active straining occurring. The primary puppy may enter the world within 2 hours. Now there will be apparent and powerful contractions. They might cause the female Shih Tzu to pant or yelp.

Step 3

This final and third stage of labor comprises making sure no puppies are still inside. Another core factor to be aware of is ensuring that all the placentas have been successfully delivered.

A large proportion of female dogs generally follow the process of delivering the puppy, then the placenta, and then the next puppy. However, it is also possible that 2 or 3 puppies are born, and then the same number of placentas comes out.

In this entire process, the most critical step is never to lose count of the number of puppies born and the placentas. If the number does not match, that could indicate a piece is still inside. It could actually be extremely risky for the mother dog.

What To Do In An Emergency situation?

Normally, dog births are straightforward and do not involve complications. The interference of people should be within limits. People should be there for the moral support of their dogs. Especially in case, they need to step in if there is an issue.

The signs to look out for that could be symptoms of an issue or stalled labor is:

  • The inability to go into labor within 70 days after ovulation
  • Signs of pain or being under stress
  • An uncanny loss of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Dark green vaginal Discharge

The first thing to remember when this issue occurs is not to panic. Stay calm, and the best thing to do is to arm yourself with information about the issue. Mental and physical preparation for the situation will ensure proper dealing with everything. Manage the symptoms at home, and in case of uncontrollable issues, go to a vet immediately.

The time from conception to delivery is quite less. This time goes by quite swiftly; This is why when the initial signs of the condition exhibit themselves, the need will be immediate action. It is necessary to make sure the Shih Tzu goes through a healthy and happy pregnancy.

How Many Puppies Will My Shih Tzu Have?

How Many Puppies Will My Shih Tzu Have?
How Many Puppies Will My Shih Tzu Have?

The factor affecting the time variability of birth may be due to the breed of the dog. Normally, dogs with narrow heads go through a speedy delivery.

These include Dobermans and Collies. Although dog breeds with round heads, which comprise Bulldogs or Pekingese, go through a challenging phase.

The expected average number of puppies that your Shih Tzu can deliver at a given time is 3 to 4 puppies at one time. The typical time between the delivery of one pup from the next can take 30 min to an hour.

Shih Tzus, who are older, will have the tendency to be able to bring more puppies. Around 20 percent of Shih Tzus give birth through C-section, while the rest go through the normal process.

The young female Shih Tzus will enter their first heat when they are generally around six months old. The repetition of this process will be two times every year. Spraying will negate this issue altogether.

Special Care During Shih Tzu Pregnancy?

Certain areas will require special care for the Shih Tzu from the owner. When it comes to feeding, you should give them a balanced diet. It is the foundation for good health during pregnancy.

The recommendation is to decide to go for one of the better dog food brands for the Shih Tzu breed. Vets also suggest a puppy formula that is higher in healthy fats.

Unless your dog seems to be hungrier than normal, do not feed her any extra food. However, it will not be the choice of action until Week 3. After this, the food intake will be 25% enhanced. Introducing bigger servings every coming week.

Also, avoid giving your Shih Tzu any excess calcium, either through supplements or food; the extra calcium can lead to eclampsia, challenging deliveries, soft tissue calcium deposits, or joint issues in the puppies.

There is a possibility for the female to go into premature labor. The dam (which is the female) may go through a premature delivery. It is similar to how things happen to us humans.

Also, immediate action will be critical if the labor process does not start naturally. Inducing labor will be the next best option. However, this might be a rare occurrence.

The labor process is entirely different from when your dog is in the position actually to push. The delivery time is variable. Clear your calendar for the day because this process does take some time.

After Birth Care From A Shih Tzu

After Birth Care From A Shih Tzu
Lucy the Shih Tzu after delivery

Postpartum care is quite important for a dog as well. It is ideal for keeping your Shih Tzu on a diet plan that is high in calories. They should have access to fresh food and water, particularly when the dog is lactating.

Build a private space for your dog and its puppies. They must be critically kept in a clean, quiet, low-traffic area. Newborn puppies require nursing every one to two hours, which is why you must monitor their feed consistently.

Wrapping Up: Living With Your Growing Shih Tzu Family

Giving birth is a natural process and one that is extremely taxing on the animal. As a dog owner, you should be grateful for the life that comes into the world and the role you play in it.

You have a responsibility to make sure you provide a sustainable environment for your pet Shih Tzu. It is applicable to pre and post-birth times.

Your dog requires attention, effort, and assistance when they are in the phase of growing and giving birth. Provide your Shih Tzus with a nurturing and loving environment for them to spend a quality life with you.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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