Us Labrador Retrievers do require a lot of care, even more so if you have the wonderful opportunity to care for a mother-to-be of Labrador Retriever puppies! However, it's very important not to forget that caring for a pregnant Labrador Retriever is a huge responsibility, since you are responsible for the well-being of the unborn puppies as well. A Labrador Retriever will be very appreciative of your care, and we will do much better if you research the best care methods. If you learn about how to care for a pregnant Labrador Retriever, you will be able to dramatically improve the quality of life for her future puppy litter.
Female Labrador Retrievers are very similar to human females, as they will give many key signs that signal they are pregnant. Your Labrador Retriever may seem listless, and she might not show as much enthusiasm at mealtimes. Decreased appetite is a common sign that a female Labrador is experiencing the early stages of her pregnancy. Of course, this will make you worry, so it should be a good opportunity to visit the veterinarian! This is the equivalent of "morning sickness" in a pregnant female dog, and normally will disappear some time after the first trimester. During this time, it is highly recommended to start giving your pregnant Labrador Retriever some prenatal vitamins.
Swelling of the tummy is another key sign that your female Labrador is pregnant. This seems like a fairly obvious sign, but many people mistake it for their dog becoming overweight. During this time, some dog owners even stop feeding their female Labradors their normal food, or begin a weight loss program. This can harm the unborn puppies! Even if your female Labrador Retriever has been spayed, it's still possible for her to become pregnant. The spaying operation is usually very successful, but should not be assumed to protect your dog 100% against pregnancy. If your female Labrador Retriever is beginning to become a bit chubby around the middle, be sure to take her to the veterinarian first, before making any assumptions of whether or not she is pregnant.
During the second and third trimester of your Labrador's pregnancy, she may begin to engage in a behavior commonly known as "nesting". This is the same type of behavior that some human mothers experience before giving birth. With this behavior, your female Labrador Retriever may begin to constantly rearrange or paw at her bedding. She may also carry some of her favorite toys or treats over to her bed area. It's best to let her alone when she does this, as she is simply preparing her sleeping area for giving birth to her puppies. Most female Labradors will display nesting behavior soon before giving birth.
When you have confirmed your female Labrador Retriever's pregnancy with your veterinarian, there are many important prenatal care steps that should be followed. Since your Labrador is now also supplying nutrients for her unborn puppies, it's highly recommended to start giving her a prenatal vitamin. Try to give her the best prenatal vitamin that you can find, since cheap or poorly formulated prenatal vitamins can actually be deficient in important vitamins needed by your dog and her puppies. A good prenatal vitamin can be purchased online, from a pet supply store, or prescribed by your veterinarian.
After your female Labrador Retriever has gotten over her "morning sickness" of the first trimester, she'll begin to eat... a LOT! The average pregnant female Labrador will consume from two to three times her normal food amount. It's much better to divide her meals throughout the day, to ensure the maximum absorption of the nutrients found in the food. At this time, it is also wise to switch to a premium high-nutrient dog food, of the best quality that you can comfortably afford. Remember, your female Labrador is supplying nutrients for the proper development of her puppies, and it's your job to help her get all of the nutrition she needs.
Since Labrador Retrievers are very affectionate, we will need additional attention when going through a situation such as pregnancy. Try to keep your female Labrador as comfortable as possible, and don't forget to schedule regular check-ups during her pregnancy with your veterinarian.