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Pomeranian Pregnancy

The First Signs

You waited until your female was ready to breed, you found a great mate for her and things seemed to go well. Now what? Not sure if your Pomeranian is pregnant?  Here are the first signs that your Pomeranian is with pregnant with pups:
  • Her stomach become firm; a couple of weeks later, it will begin to enlarge
  • Her nipples will double in size and those previously hidden will "pop out"
  • She will clean herself more thoroughly than usual
  • Nesting behavior will begin
  • She may become lethargic or a tad moody (retreating or becoming clingy)

By a Pom's behavior (nesting, mood changes), slight popping of nipples and a firmer stomach, you will start to have suspicions by Week Two. 15 to 30 days after conception, her stomach will be visibly swollen enough for you to know that she is carrying pups.  

There are 4 methods for confirming that a dog is pregnant:

• A blood test that checks for a hormone called hormone called relaxin. This can be accurate as early as Day 22; however you may want to wait until Day 27 when results are more dependable. 
• An ultrasound can confirm pregnancy as early as Day 28 
• Palpation (the vet feels the abdomen) can also confirm pregnancy as early as Day 28 
• An x-ray can confirm pregnancy as early as Day 42 it takes this long for bones to calcify enough to be shown), however it is suggested to wait until Day 55 for an accurate reading of how many puppies to expect.
Important Pregnancy Facts

1) A female can become pregnant during the first heat cycle and this is often much too early for a growing puppy. As soon as a female enters puberty and has her first heat cycle she is able to conceive. This can happen as young as age 4 months or as late as 12 months (some late bloomers will enter heat as late as 15 months).

2) During the estrus phase of the cycle, the female will be receptive to males. This time period lasts anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks. The most fertile time is generally from day 10 and day 10, counting from the day that discharge first started appearing.

3) If you are planning on breeding your Pom, the AKC does not accept litters that are born to dams less then 8 months old. We, however, suggest to wait until at least the 2nd heat and until the Pomeranian is at least 2 years old. This allows her body to be fully mature (maximum pelvic width). 

4) A female can become pregnant by two different males at the same time. This is called 'double sired' or 'multi-sired'. This is possible among canines because the ova (eggs) remain for several days. Hypothetically, one egg could be fertilized by a male on a Monday and another egg by a different male on a Wednesday.
Pomeranian dam and litter of newborn pups
Coco and her babies; Photo courtesy of Sam
5) About a month into the pregnancy, a pregnant Pom's appetite will begin to increase. She should begin to eat about twice as much as she used to. Your Pomeranian's body will be needing these extra calories as her body begins milk production.  Toward the last couple of weeks, she may be ingesting 3x the normal amount of food. Home cooking is great but if you chose to buy a commercial brand, please opt for a high-quality dog food brand without fillers, additives or coloring. If you are already offering a high-quality brand, speak to your vet about switching to puppy food. Often, for tolerance (since there may be some 'morning sickness' nausea,  staying with the same brand, yet switching to the puppy formula works well. 

How Much Weight a Pomeranian Gains During Pregnancy

In general, the dam will gain approximately 20% of her normal body weight.

Litter Size

The average size litter of Pomeranians is between 1 and 5 pups.

How Long Pomeranians are Pregnant

Canines in general are pregnant for an average of 63 days. However, as few as 58 days and as long as 70 days of pregnancy is considered normal for a Pomeranian. If a Pom has not delivered by day 71, it will be time to call the veterinarian. 
Newborn Pomeranian puppy
Helping Your Pomeranian Give Birth

You can allow your Pomeranian to give birth at home and you do not need to worry. Over 98 % of all Pomeranians deliver their puppies without assistance or complications. However, do be prepared for emergencies.

What you will need:

1. A thermometer
2. Sheets, towels or newspapers
3. Floss or thread
4. A suction bulb - the type that is used to suction out mucus from human babies
5. A cardboard box or canine bed
6. Heating pad
7. Patience and ability to stay calm in intense situations
About to Deliver:

Pomeranian pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days. Two weeks before your dog’s due date, begin to take her temperature. Have your Pomeranian in an area where she feels safe and comfortable. Use a canine rectal thermometer. You should lubricate it and insert it about a half inch. Leave it for three minutes. Your dog’s temperature normal temperature will be between 101 and 102.5 Fahrenheit (38.33 and 39.16 C).

When your Pom's temperature drops below 100 F (37.77 C), she should deliver the Pomeranian pups in less than 24 hours. At this time, she should be moved to the whelping box.

If your dam does not go into labor within twenty-four hours after her body temperature drops to below 100 F (37.77 C), bring her to the vet ASAP.
Stage 1 of Labor:

During the first stage of labor the cervix will dilate and contractions begin. This element of Pomeranian pregnancy can be painful. She will be uncomfortable, restless and quite possibly pacing, shivering and panting. She may also vomit.
It is very important that you do not give her food during this stage. If there is a need for an emergency C-section, her stomach will need to be empty of food

It will be normal to hear her whining. This is the most vital time to have her in a safe, soft whelping box. This is the longest stage of labor, lasting 6 to 18 hours. When this stage is complete, your Pomeranian is almost there! During this period keep the dam’s environment quiet and calm.  

Stage 2 of Labor:

As this stage progresses, a white fluid may be passed. Pups will usually be pushed out every half-hour or so after ten to thirty minutes of forceful straining. Each puppy will be born surrounded by its own amniotic sac. As each pup is born, the dam will tear off the sac (and often ingest it) and lick the pups. 
Pomeranian nursing newborn pups
Lemon and her newborn pups
Photo courtesy of Ekachai Chuchuen and Norman Allin, Bangkok Thailand
Pomeranian with litter after giving birth
A happy new mother, right after giving birth. This cream's black newborn puppies are suckling as she proudly smiles for the camera.
The rough licking of the dam stimulates the puppies to breathe and it gets their circulation going. She will also bite off the umbilical cord.

If she does not remove the amniotic sac, you will need to do this asap. If she does not lick the pups, use the suction bulb to gently remove fluid and mucus from the nose and mouth. If she does not take care of the umbilical cord, you will tie off 2 sections with the floss and snip in between those 2 sections with a sharp scissors.

It is normal for many puppies to be born feet first or sideways. If you see the rear legs of a puppy protruding from your Pomeranian, you must help your Pom by gently pulling the puppy in a downward and rearward arcing motion. 

Gently! Pomeranian puppies are very fragile and easily hurt.
Stage 3 of Labor:

Once all the puppies have been born the dog enters this third stage of labor during which time the uterus contracts fully, expelling any remaining placenta, blood and fluid. It will be normal for the dam to ingest the placenta, remaining sacs or any other tissues. Once you are sure that all puppies have been pushed out, you can then begin cleaning the area. Once everything is clean, allow her and her pups to cuddle and snuggle on new and clean sheets or blankets. A heating pad should be placed under the sheets or blanket; do not allow pups to lie directly on the heating pad.
Danger Signs -Call the Vet ASAP: 

• If more than 4 hours have passed without a puppy and you are certain more puppies are present 
• If your Pomeranian is straining for more than 1 hour without a puppy coming out
• If you see the puppy is stuck 1/2 way out and you can not help the Pom pup out
Aftercare for both Dam and Pups

A dam will usually lose her coat (a fairly noticeable thinning of the fur) after giving birth. This is known as "blowing the coat". Typically, it will take several months to regrow back to its normal thickness.

Some dams will have difficulty producing milk before their puppies are weaned. This can happen with an older Pomeranian or if the dam has certain health issues. If this happens, you'll want to contact the vet immediately and begin to bottle feed the newborns. 

You will know if your Pomeranian is not producing enough milk if the puppies are not gaining weight (they should be weighed at birth and then each day to ensure that they are gaining weight daily) or always trying to suck on objects near them, as they search desperately for milk. 

If she has a fever of over 102.8, is drinking excessive water, seems depressed or shows any other signs of something bring wrong, bring her to the vet. It is normal for a dam to have a copious vaginal discharge following birthing and lasting for weeks. If the discharge is exceptionally strong and bad-smelling, this can mean there is an infection and you should bring your dam to the vet. 
dam licking newborn pomeranians
Lemon loving looking after her babies
Photo courtesy of Ekachai Chuchuen and Norman Allin, Bangkok Thailand
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