The earliest sign of pregnancy in a Shih Tzu is often behavioral changes. She may demand extra attention or she may become depressed, lethargic and withdrawn. In these cases, try to give her as much emotional support as possible to help her retain the pregnancy. Gestation last about 63 days.
Other changes you may observe might be in the way she walks or carries herself. She may appear to move differently once bred. Her appetite can change rapidly, sometimes within a few hours of breeding and conceiving. She can show either an increase or a decrease in appetite as signs of pregnancy. She may even suddenly become very picky about what she eats.
The vet can perform a variety of tests to determine whether or not a female has become pregnant. Puppies can usually be felt by palpation by 21 days past conception. Puppies will feel round and enlarged like eggs. In some of my dogs I have been able to feel movement as the pregnancy progresses. Ultrasound is a successful method of determining pregnancy. The best test is that of “time.”
Once conceived, it is possible for a matron to “withdraw” her pregnancy by either a spontaneous abortion or absorption of the fetuses during the early stage of development. Females can also show all the signs of pregnancy and it actually be a “false pregnancy.”
In most cases, however, pregnancy does occur when bred, and goes along quite normally.
The pregnant matron requires a higher volume of food intake. As she progresses toward the end of her pregnancy term, she will usually demand to eat more and more. I use HealthyPetNet Life”s Abundance All Natural Premium Dog Food. The quality of the food given to a Shih Tzu during pregnancy is much more critical than at any other time in her life. You must use the highest quality of dog food you can find. I have found this kind of quality in the Life”s Abundance food. I say this not as a gimmick to sell the food, as I am a distributor as well, but it is true, Life”s Abundance has produced healthier moms during pregnancy, whelping and nursing and healthier puppies for me. Mom”s skin and coat does not suffer, and I did have this problem especially during times of nursing with other dog foods I fed. I do not recommend raw meat for any Shih Tzu at any time in its life. Hard boiled eggs is a good treat most Shih Tzu enjoy during this time. After the litter is whelped, I like to give a very special treat to my females. Most of them like cottage cheese with rice or hard boiled eggs. Feed soft, mushy types of food for the first 2 days after whelping. My dogs also like Pedigree Canned Puppy food right after whelping. After the first 2 days, I begin to mix back in the Life”s Abundance with the Pedigree Puppy Canned food.
Do not allow your pregnant Shih Tzu to become overweight. Overweight matrons may have more difficulty delivering puppies. Do try to exercise your pregnant Shih Tzu. If she is reluctant to run and play on her own during this time, take time to walk her on a leash. Exercise can help her to maintain energy and good muscle tone during whelping. Inertia (just plain shutting down from fatique) is one of the greatest cause of sillborn puppies. Moderate exercise during pregnancy is very important.
I don”t feed anything more than HealthyPetNet Life”s Abundance and the Daily Supplement to my pregnant Shih Tzu. I feed no other supplements during this time.
As long as your pregnant Shih Tzu”s appetite is good, don”t be alarmed if she does become a little depressed or withdrawn. Most usually the behaviors are from hormonal changes rather than something going wrong with her or the pregnancy.
Most pregnancies progress along normally and without adverse incidents. Most Shih Tzu are free whelpers.