Keep reading to have all your questions answered about Dachshund pregnancy through the whelping process. Breeding dogs of any breed or variety is not for everyone, you need to know the risks involved and what to expect during your Dachshund’s pregnancy.
You will also need to prepare for when the time comes and your Dachshund goes into labor including what to watch for and how to help the puppies thrive during the first few days of life.
Professional breeders know what to expect, however, the novice breeder will want to keep reading to learn all they can to be prepared for new puppies.
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Who Should Breed?
Breeding dogs is not just a simple matter of putting a male and female together and letting nature take its course. Professional breeders spend years researching their breed or breeds. They understand the breed standard and can identify faults and virtues in their dogs and pair them with a mate that does not possess the same faults.
Professional breeders also have to understand the genetics of their breed. Through genetic testing and regular health screenings, you know the health of your Dachshund and whether or not they should be bred.
While professional breeders have gained a wealth of knowledge through years of research and experience, novice breeders may need a helping hand.
Novice breeders, those who have not whelped very many litters of puppies, will seek the advice of more experienced breeders so they are prepared when labor begins and puppies start arriving.
While some professional breeders cannot be bothered to pass along their knowledge, you will want to find an experienced breeder to be your mentor.
Should I Breed My Dachshund?
With advancements in genetic testing and health screening, there is no reason for any person considering breeding to not have their Dachshund health screened. Health screening will help you determine if your Dachshund should be bred.
If your Dachshund’s health screenings come back with good results, you will want to find a male that also has had the proper health screening to ensure you are not producing inferior or unhealthy puppies.
Research your dog’s bloodlines and know the bloodlines of the Dachshund you are planning to breed to, you do not want to breed two dogs that are closely related. You will also want to touch base with your Dachshund’s breeder and ensure that you have full breeding rights for your dog.
Many breeders will have you sign a sales contract that states whether or not you can breed your dog and may even spell out which male you can breed to. If your Dachshund was sold as a family companion and not as a breeding prospect, you will not be able to breed your dog without the breeder taking legal action.
When someone asks me about breeding their dog, I have them read Dog Breeding for Professionals by Herbert Richards. The book was originally published in 1978 but the information regarding what to expect during pregnancy and labor is still relevant and it is still one of the best books, in my opinion, on this topic.
Everything about Dachshund Pregnancy
Once you have determined you can breed your Dachshund and have chosen the right male. You will want to begin preparing for her pregnancy. Start researching everything from nutrition to length of the gestation period.
You will have many of your more common questions answered and hopefully, give you a better understanding of what to expect as your Dachshund begins expanding and preparing to become a mother.
What Do I Do If My Dachshund Gets Pregnant By Accident?
Accidents do happen and if your Dachshund becomes pregnant, you will want to know the breed and size of the dog they mated with so you can determine whether or not your Dachshund will be able to safely deliver the puppies. Even accidental pregnancies will need to be closely monitored and a safe whelping area prepared.
Large puppies will be difficult for your Dachshund to deliver and a c-section may be required. Your veterinarian will help you determine if your girl will be able to whelp the litter naturally or if the intervention will be required. If the pregnancy poses a health risk for your Dachshund, the difficult decision to end the pregnancy may need to be made.
Hopefully, your Dachshund accidentally bred with another Dachshund so you will at least have purebred puppies. However, if this is not the case, you will have a bit harder time finding loving, responsible homes for the puppies.
When Do Dachshunds Start Showing?
When your Dachshund starts showing signs that they are for sure pregnant will vary depending on the physical condition of your Dachshund as well as back length and number of puppies they are carrying.
Generally, I can tell if one of my Dachshunds is pregnant by week five or six. Sometimes, especially with larger litters or smaller females, I can tell a bit earlier. And sometimes if it is a smaller litter and a bigger female, I cannot tell for sure if she is pregnant until week seven or eight.
What Are The Signs A Dachshund Is Pregnant?
Physical signs to look for when you think your Dachshund might be pregnant include:
- An expanding midsection
- More pronounced nipples
- An enlarged vulva
- Milk production
- Increased appetite
- Body temperature will drop about 24 hours before labor begins.
Environmental signs to look for when you think your Dachshund may be pregnant:
- Creating a den
- Burying their food and water dishes
- Avoiding the other dogs when in a pack
- Staying close to the whelping area
If you suspect your dog may be pregnant, look into getting one of these dog pregnancy test kits.
What Age Can A Dachshund Get Pregnant?
Dachshunds can get pregnant during their first heat cycle which is usually around six months of age. This does not mean you want to breed your Doxie that young. They are not mature enough in the body to carry a healthy litter.
At that age, they are still puppies themselves. Pregnancy can be difficult on an adult Dachshund much less one that is still growing and developing.
You will want to wait until at least the second heat cycle or first puppy before you consider breeding your Dachshund. This generally is around one year of age. I prefer to wait until their third or fourth heat before I allow them to carry a litter for the first time.
How Many Litters Can Female Dachshunds Have?
Technically, a Dachshund can have up to two litters each year until they go through menopause or stop ovulating. This is very difficult on their bodies and as your Dachshund ages; they will have a harder time recovering from pregnancies and rearing litters than when they were younger.
I generally only allow my females to have three to four litters in their lifetime. Other experienced breeders allow more litters as long as the female is in optimal health and has rest periods between litters.
How Many Puppies Do Dachshunds Have?
Dachshunds can have as few as one puppy to as many as nine or more. Genetics does play a part in how many puppies your Dachshund will have. If her mother and grandmother produced smaller litters, you can expect a smaller litter, whereas if they produce larger litters your girl may also produce larger litters.
How Long Is A Dachshund Pregnant For?
The general rule is to nine weeks from the first mating. Gestation is actually 58 to 68 days from the time she is ovulating and the eggs are fertilized.
How Do I Stop My Dachshund Getting Pregnant?
The easiest way to ensure your Dachshund does not get pregnant is to have her spayed. Of course, this is a permanent fix and if you are not sure you are going to breed in the future, this is not the best option.
Keep your female separate from any males during their entire heat cycle will also ensure they do not get pregnant. Generally, their cycle will be 21 days and you will need to keep her away from males during the entire 21 days.
How Many Puppies Do Miniature Dachshunds and Standard Dachshunds Have?
I have had as few as one puppy and as many as eight puppies. Miniature Dachshunds, like the Standard Dachshund, can have small litters or larger litters depending on their egg production and the motility of the male’s sperm.
Can You Breed a Father Dachshund to His Daughter?
The technical answer is yes, you can breed a father to his daughter; this is called inbreeding. It is different from line breeding and should only be done under strict supervision by an experienced breeder and only after all health testing has been done on both dogs.
Experienced breeders will inbreed from time to time to create a breed type or create a specific look they are hoping to replicate through the generations. Most breeders that are in-breed will grow the entire litter for several months or even years before they place them into homes.
By monitoring the growth and temperaments of an inbred litter, a breeder will learn a lot about their dogs and their breeding program. They will also ensure that the puppies are healthy and able to transition into a new home without complications.
What Changes Occur to a Pregnant Dachshund’s Nipples?
The nipples become enlarged and/or discolored. You will also notice the nipple becoming rounded and becoming much more noticeable. As the pregnancy advances, you may notice her teats becoming larger and milk leaking from the nipples.
Should My Dachshund Have an Ultrasound Before Birth?
Ultrasounds are a great tool to gauge the size and position of the puppies and even determine how many to expect. However, they can be expensive and are not necessary unless your Dachshund is having difficulty during her pregnancy.
Stages of Dachshund Pregnancy Week by Week
- Fertilization: Actual gestation begins when the female’s eggs are fertilized by the male’s sperm. An embryo is formed and is located high in the uterus. The embryos then begin to migrate down to the uterine horns.
- Nidation: During this stage, the embryos have become embedded in the lining of the uterus. The embryos from a protective membrane and placenta that provides the necessary nutrients from the mother for proper growth and development.
- Foetal Stage: Day 35 begins the foetal stage and the organs are now beginning to develop. The embryos are now called foetus. Each foetus will increase in weight by about 75%.
- Skeleton Develops: Day 42 is when the skeleton and claws begin to solidify, the foetus increases in weight quite rapidly during this stage. Your Dachshund will require a higher amount of protein in their diet during this stage.
- Hair Develops: Around day 45 the first hairs will appear on the foetus. Bones will continue to solidify during this time. The hair and bones are the last to form during pregnancy.
- Milk Production Begins: About a week before your Dachshund goes into labor they will begin to produce milk. Some Dachshunds will produce a lot of milk and there will be leaking from the nipples; others will produce a small amount until labor actually begins.
- Temperature Drops: Your Dachshund’s temperature will drop about 24 hours before they go into labor. It is not uncommon for their temperature to dip to 98-99 degrees instead of the normal 101 to 102.5 degrees.
Diet and Nutrition for Pregnant Dachshund
Your Dachshund will need high-quality food to ensure there are enough nutrients for her and the puppies that are developing in her uterus. As the dog’s pregnancy further advances, her food intake will noticeably increase.
What Should I Feed My Pregnant Dachshund?
A high protein, quality kibble is usually all your Dachshund will require when they are pregnant. You will want to be careful feeding a raw diet as some raw foods can carry bacteria that will not normally harm your dog but can be problematic to unborn puppies.
Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about the quality of the kibble your Dachshund is currently eating. I prefer to have my pregnant Dachshunds on a kibble that is 26% protein and 18% fat.
Should I Give My Pregnant Dachshund Prenatal Supplements?
If you are feeding a quality diet that is high in protein and fat, your Dachshund should be getting plenty of vitamins and minerals without needing additional supplements. Your veterinarian may recommend a prenatal supplement if your Dachshund is beginning to look poor and not eating well.
Are Bananas Good for Pregnant Dachshunds?
I absolutely love feeding bananas to my Dachshunds and will even peel them and freeze them for a great frozen treat for the pregnant dogs, that is loaded with nutrients and vitamins. Bananas are fat-free and offer a low-calorie snack for pregnant Dachshunds.
Is Milk Good for Pregnant Dachshunds?
While giving a tablespoon or two of cow’s milk or even goat’s milk can be a delicious treat for your Dachshund, larger quantities are not good for your pregnant Dachshund. Cow’s milk contains lactose which can be hard for adult dogs to digest in large quantities. Your pregnant Doxie should be offered plenty of water during pregnancy and rearing the puppies.
Are Eggs Good for Pregnant Dachshunds?
While many people will say it is perfectly fine to just crack an egg over your dog’s food and let them chow down, I lean more towards scrambling an egg or two and mixing with their dog food first. I do not use any oil or milk when cooking eggs for the dogs but will toss in a little shredded cheese for added calcium.
Eggs are rich in Linoleic acid and Vitamin A, both very good for pregnant Dachshunds. Give them one egg a day mixed with their food to give them a nutritional boost.
Dachshund Whelping: The final stages of pregnancy
Whelping is the act of giving birth to puppies
Pregnancy is probably the easiest part of the entire ordeal if your Dachshund is in optimal health and body condition. The nerve-wracking part begins when your female’s body temperature drops and labor is imminent.
Before labor begins you will want to assemble your dachshund pregnancy whelping kit and have it near your Dachshund’s whelping box. You can even order a pre-made whelping kit online and have it shipped right to your home or you can assemble your own kit.
Whelping kit should include:
|Exam gloves||Nitrile disposable gloves||These gloves come in 6 different sizes, are latex-free, and high quality|
|Hand sanitizer||Germ-X hand sanitizer||Germ-X is a trusted name brand that will not break the bank|
|Scissors||Safari dog safety scissors||Easy-grip and compact size fit perfectly into a whelping kit, the blunted tip is ideal when snipping umbilical cords|
|Dental Floss (non-wax)||GUM butler weaver unwaxed||200-yard dental floss that is strong and works great for tying the umbilical cords prior to snipping|
|Forceps/Hemostat||Apical set of Kelly forceps||Locking forceps that are the perfect size of clamping umbilical cords set of 2, one curved and one straight|
|Iodine prep pads||Povidone iodine prep pads||Box of 200 individual 10% povidone-iodine prep pads to disinfect wounds and umbilical cords|
|Stethoscope||FriCARE dual head stethoscope||Lightweight design with comfortable earpieces makes it easier to use and quickly find heartbeats on newborn puppies|
|Milk replacer||PetAg PetLac puppy milk replacer||Power milk replacer has a longer shelf life than the liquid milk replacer so lasts longer in your whelping kit|
|Bottles||PetAg complete nursing kit||Includes bottle and various size nipples to find the right nipple for the puppies|
|Feeding tube/hand feeding kit||Sezons complete whelping kit||Has the feeding tube, syringes, bulb syringe, nipples, and bottle; all you need to feed your puppies when they cannot nurse|
|Calcium supplement||Breeders’ Edge oral cal plus||Helps maintain strong and consistent contractions during whelping and helps the mother’s milk to fully drop to provide enough nutrition for puppies|
|Bulb syringe||Honbay 3 pcs squeeze bulbs||Durable and easy to use, these bulb syringes are great for suctioning out a newborn puppy’s lungs|
|Digital thermometer||Vet-Temp rapid digital thermometer||Flexible design makes it more comfortable for your dog when you begin taking your dog’s temp prior to whelping|
|Premade whelping kit||LTM deluxe whelping kit||If you are in a hurry or are not sure what to put in your whelping kit, order the deluxe premade whelping kit so you have everything you need|
|Digital scale||Brecknell MS-16 pet scale||You will want to weigh each puppy when they are born and then each day for the first few weeks to ensure they are gaining weight|
You want the whelping box to be easily accessible so you can closely monitor the delivery. It needs to be in a warm room with no drafts and there should be plenty of light. You also want it to be in a quiet part of the house so the mom-to-be feels safe and secure.
I like to use a plastic crate that I take the top off and prepare the bottom as the whelping box. You can also order a pre-made whelping box that fits your Dachshund without giving them too much room to roam. Your Doxie does not need a deluxe penthouse until the puppies are older and able to move about and find their mom for nursing.
Newborns do not have the ability to travel far to find their mother for nursing and they also cannot maintain body heat for long periods of time. Look for a whelping box that is 28-34 inches long and 28-34 inches deep.
Whether this is your first litter of puppies or you are a seasoned pro, you want to have your veterinarian on speed dial when you are whelping a litter. If your veterinarian does not handle after-hour emergency calls you will also want to contact an emergency clinic and have their number on hand should the need arise.
Reviving a Puppy
Many times a puppy will be delivered and the mother does not take them out of the bag causing the puppy to swallow birthing fluid. You will need to peel the bag from the puppy’s head and then begin vigorously rubbing the puppy.
Using a bulb syringe, suction the puppy’s airway and then keep rubbing. Hanging the puppy upside down while rubbing will help clear their lungs. It can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes or more to revive a puppy. You can also have your Dachshund lick her puppy to help stimulate them and revive them.
Why Do I Have to Monitor the Whelping Process?
Many people believe that dogs can just deliver their puppies without any assistance and everything will be fine and the mother will mother the puppies immediately. And many times this is the case. However, there are instances where a puppy does not come through the birth canal in the right position and you have to help or a puppy needs to be revived.
There are also cases where labor can stall and the female can become weak and distressed. If labor stalls or does not progress as it should you will want to contact your veterinarian immediately. Give your Dachshund a little Nutri-Cal to give them an energy boost if she becomes weak.
How Do You Know When A Dachshund Is In Labor?
Your Dachshund will become anxious and begin digging or moving their bedding around. They will also start panting a bit. I have even had some cry or howl at the beginning of their labor. Keep a check on her body temperature and when it drops to below 101 you know labor should begin within 24 hours or so.
Do Dachshunds Have Problems Giving Birth?
Dachshunds can have problems especially if there is a noticeable size difference between the male and female with the male being much larger than the female. Puppy size will also determine whether or not the female can easily deliver the puppies.
Sometimes a c-section is required and this is why it is important to closely monitor your Dachshund when they are in labor. Puppies can die if in the birth canal too long and your female can even die if she has trouble giving birth and veterinary assistance is not immediately sought.
Can Dachshund Puppies Be Stillborn?
Yes, stillborns do happen especially if the labor is prolonged or your female is an older female. Closely monitor the births and be ready to try to revive each puppy as it is born.
Can Dachshunds Die Giving Birth?
Yes, your Dachshund, like any other dog, can die while giving birth to her puppies. You will want to closely monitor her labor and if she becomes weak or distressed, get her into a veterinarian immediately. Her life is not worth taking a chance that she may eventually deliver a puppy. Take a proactive approach to ensure she is safe.
How Long is a Dachshund in Labor?
Labor can be anywhere from a few hours to an all-night ordeal. I have had females deliver four puppies in three hours and I have had females deliver six puppies in 14 hours. Closely watch as your Dachshund labors and if you notice any stress or distress contact your veterinarian immediately.
Diet/Supplements After Whelping a Litter
Keep your Dachshund on a high-quality kibble that is high-protein, you can even mix their regular kibble with a quality puppy food so your female has plenty of nutrients to feed her new puppies. I also like to add a tablespoon of cottage cheese to their food twice a day to add calcium to their diet for the first two weeks after whelping.
Other breeders will add a calcium supplement formulated for lactating females but I am a bit old-school and most of my new mothers do not need a lot of extra calcium, they just need a slight boost which is what the cottage cheese is for.
After your Dachshund weans her litter, you will want to decrease her food intake and increase her activity levels to get them back into their pre-pregnancy, weight gain and body condition.
Books on Whelping a Litter
- Dog Breeding for Professionals by Herbert Richards
- Dog Breeding, Whelping and Puppy Care by Gary England
- The Ultimate Dachshund Hound Book: Guide to Caring, Raising, Training, Breeding, Whelping, Feeding, and Loving a Doxie by Patricia O’Grady
Caring for a Newborn Dachshund Puppy
Caring for a newborn puppy is relatively easy when you have a female Dachshund that has great maternal instincts. A great mother will take care of everything and all you have to do for the first week or so is monitor the growth of the newborn puppies to ensure they are growing properly.
If you have a mother Dachshund that is not very maternal or there is a problem such as illness or injury, you will have to step in and intervene. Sometimes you have to hand-raise puppies and that takes a lot of energy and patience.
As the puppies grow and begin exploring the world around them, you will want to begin socializing them so they become well-adjusted companions. You begin by touching them, cuddling them, and letting them smell you and hear your voice.
Breeding dogs should not be done without properly researching and learning all you can to ensure that your female Dachshund is safe and you are prepared to care for the puppies. When you breed a dog, you take on a great responsibility to care for the puppies until you can find them wonderful forever homes. Breeding just to make puppies or money is not the right reason.
Dachshunds that are pregnant really do not require much extra care except to get plenty of exercises and eat a balanced high-quality diet. The real work begins when your Dachshund goes into labor and the puppies start to arrive.
Be prepared for any situation when your Dachshund goes into labor and know what to expect so you can step in and help her if needed. You will also want to have your veterinarian and/or an emergency veterinarian on call just in case she has trouble delivering her puppies.