Whether you are purposely and carefully breeding your female Boxer or you think your Boxer may be pregnant due to an unplanned tie, it is important to notice the subtle signs as soon as possible.
It will only take 9 weeks for your dog to go from conceiving to having her puppies; it is vital to give her special care as soon as you know she is expecting.
The Signs of Boxer pregnancy are not glaringly obvious immediately. However, you'll know, just by the physical changes, within the first 10 days.
If you have suspicions, look for the following:
Her nipples will become enlarged & new nips will pop out
Her stomach will show a bump very quickly, especially if your dog is not overweight. You'll take a step back and wonder, "Does her stomach look a bit rounded out?" and then within a day or so, you'll know.
She may begin to show dominance around the home; to other pets and even try to show this to her owners
She may be moody; wanting to be left alone and rest as opposed to her normal wanting to play, etc.
Decreased appetite; even though in later weeks she will be ravishingly hungry and will eat more food
that normal after the birth.
Confirming Your Suspicions
As soon as you think your Boxer may be carrying pups, a veterinarian can confirm this. If you truly do not want your dog to be pregnant for valid reasons (such as a health condition in which carrying pups could prove dangerous, etc) many veterinarians can end the pregnancy. This is done if caught early. The dog will be given a medication equivalent to a human "Morning After Pill".
The veterinarian will confirm by taking blood tests and/or taking an ultra sound or x-ray. This is important to have done at least once during the pregnancy, since you will want to know how many puppies to expect. It is not unheard of for a puppy
to to not be pushed out along with his littermates and therefore owners should know how many pups to expect. Experienced vets can actually feel pups by touching the mother's uterus, however this is not 100% accurate.
How many puppies does a Boxer have? Anywhere from 3 to 12 is considered average; so there is quite a wide range. A Boxer may have less or even more. Can you imagine 14 Boxer puppies running around your home?
This is an overview of care for the expecting Boxer dog:
From the time that you learn your Boxer is pregnant to several weeks after the birthing of the pups, your dog will need special care.
Her increased appetite after week 6 will be the most obvious sign and the one that you will need to tend to. A Boxer in this state will normally eat about 3 times the amount she normally does. Although she will be eating more in the last 3 weeks, be sure to spread out meals (3 to 5 times per day) so that bloat
does not occur.
Do not give her additional calcium.
Do not give her additional vitamins A and/or D. Too much of these can cause birth defects in the puppies.
Look for any discharge from your dog. Even a small amount is not normal. It can be a sign of a very serious infection including Pyometra, which an be deadly if not treated.
Do not be surprised if your Boxer's stomach does not appear to be too big. A large Boxer carrying a small litter will not have a drooping stomach.
During the last week, you should not attempt to exercise your Boxer. She will need to rest.
Knowing it is Time
Your Boxer's veterinarian can tell you exactly how far along your dog is via an ultra sound. Knowing that the day is approaching, beginning on day 55 you can take your dog's temperature.
This is done rectally. A dog's normal temperature is 100.5 F ( 38.5 C) to 101.5 (38.61 C). When her temperature goes down to 98 F (36.66 C) you will know that puppies will be born in 8 - 24 hours).
What is a Whelping Box?
A whelping box is the area that you will prepare for your dog to give birth. It must be a confined area that:
Is placed in a quiet area; she will nest here and rest as well as have her puppies
Has at least 15 layers of plastic on the floor of the box. As she goes through the delivery process, you can roll up and put each plastic layer into a large, strong trash bag. This will create new, fresh plastic sheets throughout the delivery.
Crumbled up or shredded newspaper should be placed on top of the plastic and in between the plastic. You may also put some blankets. Expect this to be a very, very messy area.
There must be heat. Keep the room warm; but additional heat must be supplied to keep the newborn puppies warm. Many owners use heating pads, placed under a blanket. The optimal temperature is 85 F (29.44 C).
Helping to Bring Boxer Puppies into the World
What you should do when your dog gives birth? While this is a natural process of life, an owner should never make an attempt to go this alone! You should have 2 assistants. 1 assistant is the minimum. You must prepare yourself:
You must trim your nails very short, file them so that they are smooth
Take all rings off of your fingers
Put on clothes that you have no problem with throwing away afterwards
Your Boxer will not want to eat right before she is ready. Do not try to force feed her. Keep all other pets, especially a male dog, out of the room. Allow her to lay down in the whelping box. Contractions will begin. Do not panic if your Boxer cries while giving birth; this is natural although a bit heartbreaking. Keep in mind that it is temporary. Do not attempt to give her any medication.
As each puppy begins to crown, be ready in case you need to help pull them out. If you do, your grasp but be firm yet gentle. If a part of the puppy is showing, hold on to it so that it is not pulled back in. Allow nature to work, but if a pup is truly stuck you will then need to step in and help.
Each of the Boxer puppies will have a thin sac surrounding them and will be attached by the umbilical cord. Normally, the dam will tear away the sac, bite the cord and lick the puppy. If she does not do this, it is time to step in.
Carefully remove the sac, using sterilized thread cut the cord by tying the thread around it and pulling on each end. Rub the puppy to stimulate blood flow and breathing. If the puppy has difficulty making it to mom, help him or her reach her to suckle.
How I Know All The Puppies Have Come Out?
Your Boxer's veterinarian should have been able to tell you how many puppies were due. However, to make sure: after what you believe is the last puppy to come out, feel your Boxer's stomach. You should be able to feel if there is another pup inside.
Remove the mess. Take away the sheets of plastic until you have a clean area. Lay down more blankets. Allow both mother Boxer and puppies to be left alone. Do not try to cuddle a newborn puppy. His or her place must be with the dam.
The dam will actually be producing Colostrum during the first few days. This is a highly nutritional fluid that supplies the puppies with antibodies to fight against infection and disease.
Keep an eye out for any puppy who does not seem to be getting this nutrition. Your Boxer may not want to eat right after giving birth. Allow her a day or 2 to get back into an eating schedule. She should have a rather big appetite during the time that the pups are suckling.
When to Call the Vet - Emergency Situations
While we all hope that the birth of puppies happens without complications, one must be prepared in the case of emergency. Your Boxer's veterinarian should be called when your dog is about to deliver. Call for emergency help if:
Your dog's temperature dropped but more than 24 hours have passed without any puppies
There is a greenish colored discharge coming from your dog
A puppy is truly stuck in the canal
More puppies need to come out, but more than 1 and 1/2 hours have gone by without another pup showing
Your Boxer has difficulty breathing at any point
If you sense any negative feelings or worry. It is so much better to be safe than sorry.
Health Issues that can affect a pregnant Boxer dog
Exact Care for the Pregnant Boxer
How to Deliver a Litter
How to Register a Litter
Care After the Delivery
Female Health Issues
All of this and much more is in the most helpful Boxer book