My friend is a proud Chihuahua owner. Last Christmas she was in for a big surprise. Her female Chihuahua, Lola, was pregnant! My friend was shocked beyond belief because this was unexpected and unplanned.
When she realized that, she immediately wanted to know how long is a Chihuahua pregnant for. She panicked because she had heard rumors about how risky Chihuahua pregnancy could be and had read about Chihuahuas giving birth by way of C-section (Cesarean section). She also didn’t know what to expect or what to do first.
Her situation is pretty common and it inspired me to write this article. Whether you’re a Chihuahua owner or a Chihuahua dog breeder, this article will cover everything you need to know about Chihuahua pregnancy so that you know what to expect, what signs to look for, and what steps to take from the moment your female Chihuahua conceive to delivery of her puppies.
Chihuahua Pregnancy: 5 Facts you must know about Chihuahua dogs pregnancy
1. Female Chihuahua dogs’ first heat cycle means she can get pregnant
When your female Chihuahua has her first heat cycle, it means that she has hit puberty! She is able to become pregnant and conceive. Smaller dog breeds, as well as toy dog breeds, mature quicker than larger dog breeds. For example, Chihuahuas will have their first heat cycle at just 4 to 7 months old!
The heat cycle or canine estrous cycle has 4 stages. The estrous cycle is also known as the reproductive cycle. The second stage of the reproductive cycle is called the estrus phase which can be as short as 5 days or as long as 3 weeks. During this time, the female Chihuahua is receptive to a male dog.
This second stage or estrus phase is crucial because between days 10 to 15, her eggs will release and she can get pregnant. To find out which is day 10, you’ll need to count from the first day that her blood discharge began.
Even if there is no discharge during a Chihuahua’s first heat, she can still get pregnant.
While most Chihuahua breeders will wait for the second heat cycle before allowing their female Chihuahuas to mate with other dogs, some Chihuahua breeders allow their female Chihuahuas to mate during the first heat cycle.
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3. Female Chihuahuas can get pregnant by two different male dogs
Yes, it is true that a female Chihuahua can get pregnant by two different male dogs. When this happens, the litter is called multi-sired litter. So how does this happen?
This can happen because a female Chihuahua’s ovaries can produce more than one egg or ova. These eggs or ova can remain for more than 3 days. If a male dog is with a female Chihuahua dog on the first day of her heat cycle, one of her eggs will be fertilized.
During her same heat cycle, if the Chihuahua or dog breeder isn’t careful, another male dog could be with her on day 2 and another one of her eggs can become fertilized.
Her litter may have puppies from both male dogs.
4. A female Chihuahua can get pregnant by a different or larger dog breed
If a female Chihuahua gets pregnant by a large dog breed, the pregnancy can be risky and the delivery can be dangerous. For this reason, it’s important that Chihuahua owners and breeders prevent unwanted pregnancies and conception. When your Chihuahua is in heat, keep a watchful eye on her and make sure there are no male dogs around.
This is important because a female dog in heat may actively seek out male dogs, especially since their hormones are in full steam and they are very receptive at that time.
While we hear many stories of male dogs trying to mate prior to getting neutered by escaping the backyard or escaping the house, the same can happen to female dogs in heat too. It isn’t surprising to find out your female Chihuahua dog in heat has escaped the house or backyard. This is why many dog owners will build a wireless dog fence or a fenced yard.
If you don’t want an unplanned pregnancy, you can have your female Chihuahua pooch wear a doggy diaper. Although male Chihuahua dogs will still try to seek her out because they have a good sense of smell, your female Chihuahua dogs will be protected when wearing a doggy diaper.
Always keep an eye on your Chihuahua because there can be blood in her urine. A stray dog can smell that there is a female dog in heat and will try to find her. If you’re walking your female Chihuahua dog in heat outside and there is a stray dog, make sure you lift her up immediately so there’s no unexpected pregnancy.
5. There is an average litter size for Chihuahuas
A female Chihuahua will have about 1 to 3 puppies per litter on average. In some cases, she could even have as many as 6 puppies per litter.
Chihuahua pregnancy signs
Whether this was an unplanned pregnancy from an unexpected tie or you are a Chihuahua breeder and would like to breed your female Chihuahua, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of Chihuahua pregnancy. This way, you can provide proper Chihuahua gestation care.
If you suspect your female Chihuahua is pregnant, don’t panic. We recommend that you bring her to the vet for a check-up. To confirm whether your Chihuahua is actually pregnant, your vet may perform an x-ray.
You may be wondering if your Chihuahua dog needs an ultrasound exam and the quick answer is no. Ultrasound is not necessary for female Chihuahua dogs that are expecting puppies. Having an ultrasound done can also put a hole in your wallet. So save that money for an ultrasound to find out how many Chihuahua puppies your pooch is having.
Here are some signs and symptoms that your Chihuahua is pregnant:
- You’ll notice your female Chihuahua is more tired or lethargic than before. She doesn’t care to go for walks or play with her toys.
- Instead, the Chihuahua is resting more often and nesting a lot.
- Loss of appetite. Your Chihuahua may vomit or have an upset stomach. An upset stomach is normal in pregnant Chihuahuas similar to when humans have morning sickness when they are pregnant.
- Female Chihuahuas’ bodies will grow large very quickly compared to large dog breeds. Since they are smaller, the growth of their tummy is very noticeable.
- Not only will the tummy grow large rather quickly, but also their tummy will feel very firm.
- Chihuahua dog owners or breeders will notice the chest growing and appearing.
- Lastly, a female Chihuahua dog will lick herself more frequently than before. This is a way for her to clean her body.
Pregnancy in chihuahua and the gestation period can be very quick in Chihuahuas. Within the range of 15 to 30 days after the cells in the embryo start to develop or conception, the Chihuahua’s tummy will become swollen.
It’s important to bring your Chihuahua to the vet for a checkup at around the 28 to 35 days mark. This would be the 5th week of pregnancy in your Chihuahua and the x-ray can help you find out how many puppies your Chihuahua is expecting.
Before the 9th week of your Chihuahua’s pregnancy, be sure to prepare the nesting area or the whelping box. This will ensure that your Chihuahua will have a comfortable and safe area while she is in labor and giving birth to her puppies.
You can expect your female Chihuahua to go into labor between days 60 and 65. Note that the average length of pregnancy for a female Chihuahua is usually 63 days.
Preparation during your Chihuahua’s pregnancy
The vet should be informed of a Chihuahua’s pregnancy the moment the dog owner or breeder finds out. If your female Chihuahua is pregnant, be sure to contact your vet or bring your pooch in for a check-up so that your vet is aware.
This will allow the vet to give you advice on how to properly care for a pregnant Chihuahua such as:
- What additional nutrients or protein your pregnant Chihuahua needs.
- How much food to feed her. A pregnant Chihuahua will eat much more food than before. If she needs food, don’t deny her food.
- How much exercise is enough so she could get her much-needed rest. It is not recommended that a pregnant Chihuahua exercise excessively or jump or run.
- Other tips on staying healthy during their pregnancy.
Routine visits to the vet are necessary when your female Chihuahua is pregnant. During these vet visits, your vet will perform exams like an x-ray to find out how many puppies your Chihuahua is having. This way, you’ll know if your female Chihuahua has pushed out all of her puppies.
During these visits, you can discuss with your vet whether a c-section is necessary since the heads of the puppies are large and your female Chihuahua is small in size.
In most cases, the vet may tell you to wait until your Chihuahua is in labor to decide whether a cesarean section is necessary. You can also ask your vet if you should bring your Chihuahua into the vet clinic when she enters labor or if it is safe to deliver her puppies at home.
It’s crucial that Chihuahua owners and breeders prepare week by week since the Chihuahua pregnancy can fly by very quickly. Chihuahuas are only pregnant for 9 weeks or up to 65 days from conception to delivery of the puppies.
For Chihuahua owners who were not expecting this, it may not be enough time for them to prepare. You may not be prepared for your pregnant Chihuahua’s mood swings or change in behaviors. Speak with your vet on what you can do if your Chihuahua wants to nest or retreat to their nesting area.
It’s a good idea to start preparing the nesting area or whelping box as the 9th-week approaches. Gather old newspapers and lay towels down in the whelping box. You may want a friend or family member to help you during your Chihuahua’s labor and delivery if it’s agreed that the birth can happen at home.
Write down or add emergency numbers to your phone before the 9th week as well. If you come across an unexpected issue and don’t know what to do, you’ll have the numbers handy and at your fingertips.
Chihuahua in labor
To find out when your female Chihuahua will be going into labor, you’ll need to know her body temperature. The good news is that you’ll have 24 hours to prepare for your Chihuahua’s labor since her internal body temperature will drop drastically below her normal temperature.
Here’s what you should do:
- Prepare your Chihuahua’s whelping box so that it is comfortable and safe for her.
- With either an oral thermometer, lubricate the tip. Then insert the tip into your Chihuahua’s rear end. The tip should go in about .5 inches.
- Leave the thermometer inside for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- After 2 to 3 minutes, pull it out and see what the temperature is.
- If the temperature is below 100°F or 37.77°C, then you can expect your female Chihuahua to deliver her pups in less than 24 hours.
Note that a Chihuahua’s normal temperature is around 101°F to 102.5°F. This equates to 38.33°C to 39.17°C.
During labor, a female Chihuahua may cry or vomit. This is completely normal because being in labor hurts. Crying helps to relieve that pain. Make sure you stay at your Chihuahua’s side and stay strong for her. Try not to touch her as she is vulnerable during this time. Touching her can make her feel uncomfortable. Instead, offer her words of encouragement and stay by her side.
While crying, vomiting, or whining is completely normal, there are some signs and symptoms that are not normal and can be life-threatening to your Chihuahua when she is pregnant. They include:
- Being pregnant for more than 9 weeks or 65 days.
- 24 hours have passed since your female Chihuahua’s temperature dropped and she’s still not pushing out any puppies. Instead, she is crying, whimpering, or vomiting.
- Your female Chihuahua isn’t looking good. It looks like she is in a lot of pain.
- Your Chihuahua is expecting 3 puppies and only 2 puppies came out. It has been more than 2 hours and the third puppy is still not coming out.
Labor and Birth of Chihuahua puppies
If your female Chihuahua is having a normal birth, then here’s what you can expect:
- Each puppy will be born in its own amniotic sac. The mother Chihuahua will instinctively lick this sac off of her newborn puppies. It’s natural if the mother Chihuahua eats the sac as well to get rid of the sac from her puppies. Do not stop her if she eats the sac. It’s a natural instinct.
- If the mother Chihuahua does not instinctively lick the sack off of her pups, you can do this for her. Gently tear the sac near the chest of the newborn pup. Then, pull the sac gently off of the pup and over the head. This should be done right away because the sac needs to be removed within seconds of the newborn puppy coming out.
- The amniotic sac can be translucent so you can see the newborn pup inside or it could be a dark purple color.
- It’s normal for the puppies to be pushed out one after the other. However, don’t be surprised or alarmed if you have to wait up to 2 hours for another puppy to come out.
- After each of the puppies comes out, the mother Chihuahua will instinctively lick the sac off, chew away their umbilical cord, and clean her pups by licking.
Licking the puppies not only helps to clean the pups but also helps push the newborn puppies to breathe. Many dog owners or breeders will use an infant suction bulb to gently suck out any fluids from the puppies’ nose or mouth. Doing this is crucial because it helps prevent any fluid blockage in the mouth or nose and clears them away.
If the mother Chihuahua does not chew off the umbilical cord, you can use a sterilized scissor to cut it. Make sure it is 1 inch away from the pups’ stomach. If the cord is still bleeding, don’t panic. Use sterilized thread to tie it off.
Since the newborn puppies are wet, you may want to use a dry towel to wipe the puppies dry. If the mother Chihuahua wants to continue licking her pups, let her do so.
When your Chihuahua is pushing out her last puppy, keep an eye on her. The placenta should be coming out as well after that. The mother Chihuahua will stop licking her puppies to eat away at her placenta. This is completely normal and again, do not stop her from doing so.
This is also an exciting time because you may start to see the Chihuahua puppies’ coat color. The puppies’ coat colors could be the same or different from their mother’s. It depends on the male Chihuahua or dog she mated with as well. There are many Chihuahua colors so their coat colors and patterns can help you identify them.
Labor and Birth of Chihuahua puppies via C-Section
If the vet recommends that your Chihuahua undergo C-section for the birth of her puppies, then she will be given anesthetics. This will cause your female Chihuahua to lose hair and have bald spots. Don’t worry, this is normal and she will grow her hair back within a few weeks of the C-section.
Regardless of whether your female Chihuahua undergo C-section or not, her hormonal levels are all over the place. Because of this, she may experience heavy coat shedding after giving birth to her litter. This is completely normal and it’s called blowing the coat.
Chihuahua false pregnancy
Sometimes, Chihuahuas can have false pregnancies because of an imbalance of hormonal chemicals in their bodies. These chemicals may trick the female Chihuahuas’ bodies and make the bodies think that they are pregnant when they are actually not. The hormonal chemicals can cause the tummy to swell up and the breast tissues to develop. As a result, the female Chihuahua may start to produce milk.
If you suspect any of these signs and are unsure whether your Chihuahua is pregnant, it’s best to bring her to the vet as soon as you can. The vet will inform you whether your Chihuahua is actually pregnant or whether this is a false pregnancy.
Most likely, the chemicals will start to balance out again and these symptoms will go away. Your female Chihuahua will look normal again.
Prevent unplanned pregnancy and keep your Chihuahua safe
If your female Chihuahua is currently not spayed, make sure she is under your constant supervision. If dog owners aren’t watching their unspayed female dogs, they could easily get pregnant from a male dog nearby.
Some female dogs may be in heat even without showing any signs. This is why dog owners need to keep their eyes on their unspayed dogs. It takes less than a minute for a male dog to tie with a female dog.
And never underestimate the power of the dog’s nose. A male dog that is not neutered will want to mate and do anything to mate with a female dog. They can smell a female dog in heat even if they are 3 miles away. So it’s important to keep an eye on your female Chihuahua dog to prevent any unplanned or unexpected pregnancy.
I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!