How to Take Care of a Pregnant French Bulldog? - TomKings Blog

How to Take Care of a Pregnant French Bulldog?

Pregnancy in French Bulldogs is a remarkable yet delicate phase that demands special attention and care from breeders. To ensure a smooth and safe delivery, it’s vital to know how to support your beloved Frenchie through this extraordinary journey. In this article, we will offer valuable insights and guidance to care for your pregnant French Bulldog to ensure the health and happiness of both the mother and her precious pups.

Insemination: natural or artificial?

When it comes French Bulldog breeding, the question of insemination method is pivotal: natural or artificial? While the first might seem like the obvious choice, the unique body structure of Frenchies makes natural mating a challenging option due to their narrow hips and short legs. As responsible breeders, we firmly advocate for artificial insemination as the ethical and practical choice for breeding these adorable companions.

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Artificial insemination offers numerous advantages, with convenience topping the list. One significant benefit is that geographical distance is no longer a hurdle when searching for a suitable French Bulldog stud. This flexibility allows the owner of the dam to find the perfect mate for their female Frenchie, no matter the location.

Furthermore, artificial insemination enables breeders to source semen from stud dogs worldwide, reducing the risk of inbreeding and introducing new bloodlines. This contributes to the overall health and genetic diversity of the French Bulldog breed. Read our Guide to French Bulldog Stud Service to learn more about the topic!

How does artificial insemination work for French Bulldogs?

Artificial insemination is always conducted by a licensed vet or experienced breeder. It starts with the collection of semen from the male Frenchie, which is typically frozen and stored in a refrigerator if not utilized within a day. The advantage of chilled semen is its ability to be shipped globally and preserved for an extended period, offering breeders flexibility and accessibility.

The next crucial step involves the veterinarian. Using a specialized long tube, they carefully insert the stud’s semen into the uterus of the dam. To optimize the chances of success, a series of blood tests are performed on the female Frenchie. These tests monitor her progesterone levels and help determine the precise timing for insemination, typically occurring 2 or 3 days after the results indicate peak fertility. 

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How do I know if my French Bulldog is pregnant?

While it may not be as obvious as in humans, there are several signs that can help you identify pregnancy in your beloved Frenchie.

Early signs and symptoms

  • One of the initial indicators is a change in your French Bulldog’s eating habits. She may become more selective or lose interest in food.
  • The nipples of a pregnant Frenchie will typically darken and enlarge as the pregnancy progresses.
  • You might notice alterations in her behavior. She may become more affectionate or, conversely, seek more solitude. 
  • An expectant Frenchie may spend more time resting or sleeping.
  • As the pregnancy advances, her abdomen will expand, becoming more noticeable.

Confirming the pregnancy: Ultrasound

The most accurate way to confirm pregnancy is through a veterinary examination involving an ultrasound. You should schedule it with our vet around the 28th to 30th day of pregnancy, when the developing fetuses become visible in the images. To ensure accurate results, it’s vital to ensure the mother is calm and relaxed during the procedure, as anxiety or fear can potentially influence the outcome.

Additional ultrasound examinations throughout the pregnancy are generally not recommended, especially towards the end. Frequent ultrasounds can stress the mother, so it’s best to avoid them for the safety of both her and the puppies.

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Choosing the right veterinarian

Selecting the right veterinarian is absolutely essential for a successful pregnancy and safe delivery for your Frenchie mom. Here’s a checklist to guide you:

  • Seek a vet with expertise in artificial insemination and C-sections, as they should be knowledgeable the unique requirements and challenges of French Bulldog breeding.
  • Confirm that your chosen vet has access to the necessary facilities and equipment required for artificial insemination and C-sections.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from fellow dog owners and breeders who have experience with your chosen vet.
  • Prioritize a veterinarian who listens attentively to your concerns and provides clear explanations. Feeling comfortable with your vet is essential.
  • Ensure that your chosen vet is readily available, both during regular hours and for emergencies. Since the timing of delivery can be unpredictable, having access to a vet who’s available even during nights and holidays is vital for peace of mind.

Pregnancy stages and its length

Pregnancy in French Bulldogs, like in all dogs, lasts between 58 and 63 days, although that may vary from dog to dog. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep a record of the pregnancy dates to know when the puppies can be expected, and prepare yourself for the possibility that they may arrive earlier.

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Understanding the stages of your Frenchie’s pregnancy is vital to providing the best care for her and her developing puppies. Let’s explore the three primary stages of pregnancy.

Stage 1 – Early Pregnancy (Days 1-25)

During the initial days of pregnancy, it can be challenging to detect any visible signs. However, behind the scenes, significant developments are taking place. After mating, fertilization of the eggs occurs, and they start to divide rapidly. Around day 10, the fertilized eggs travel down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus, where they will eventually implant in the uterine lining.

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During this stage, the mother may not exhibit any noticeable physical changes, but there can be subtle behavioral shifts. Some Frenchie moms may experience a mild decrease in appetite or display slightly increased tiredness.

Stage 2 – Mid-Pregnancy (Days 25-45)

As the pregnancy progresses into its second stage, you might begin noticing some physical changes in the mother. Her abdomen may start to slightly round as the growing puppies take up space. Around day 28 to 30, it’s advisable to schedule an ultrasound with your veterinarian. At this point, the veterinarian can confirm the pregnancy and visually assess the well-being of the developing fetuses.

Stage 3 – Late Pregnancy (Days 45 to Birth)

In the final stage of pregnancy, the mother Frenchie experiences significant changes as she prepares for the arrival of her puppies. Her abdomen becomes noticeably enlarged as the puppies continue to grow. She may start exhibiting nesting behavior, such as seeking out quiet, secluded spots to give birth.

Pregnancy care

Welcoming a litter of French Bulldog puppies into the world is a remarkable experience that comes with responsibilities. Just like any expectant mother, your beloved Frenchie mom requires special attention and care during pregnancy. In this section, we’ll explore the essential aspects of pregnancy care.

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Food and supplements

Until you know that the mating was successful for sure, there is no need to change the amount or type of food your female Frenchie gets. Once her abdomen starts to round slightly (after a few weeks), the food portion should be minimally increased, but you should avoid overfeeding.

A Frenchie mom requires more nutrients during pregnancy to deliver healthy puppies, so it is important to pay attention to her diet. Around the midpoint, approximately one month into the pregnancy, we recommend switching to the Royal Canin Mini Starter Mother & Babydog food, which provides all the necessary nutrients. 

Feed your Frenchie mom twice a day and provide fresh cold water every morning. Avoid giving raw meat and raw eggs to your pregnant dog!

As for supplements, we recommend the following:

  • Selenium (dosage recommended by the manufacturer, corresponding to the dog’s weight)
  • Omega-3 fish oil (purchase in pump form and add to the food, dosage according to the manufacturer’s instructions)

It’s important to note that consulting a vet is highly recommended when it comes to supplements, as the dosage may vary depending on the mother dog’s health condition and nutritional needs.

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Physical and mental well-being

Regular exercise is important for an expectant Frenchie mom, but it should be gentle and tailored to her needs. Long walks should be replaced with shorter, leisurely strolls, especially during hot weather. Engage in shorter walks and engage in interactive play sessions to keep her active and mentally stimulated. Shower her with extra love and attention during this special time.

It’s important to shield her from stressful situations and loud noises that could cause anxiety. Keep her away from unfamiliar dogs to minimize the risk of illness.

Remember, continuous monitoring is essential. Keep a close eye on her health and behavior throughout the pregnancy. If you notice any concerning signs or issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for immediate assistance.

As the pregnancy progresses and she enters the final weeks, create a calm and tranquil environment for her. Provide a cool and quiet space where she can rest comfortably. Minimize stressors and ensure she feels secure and at ease.

How Frenchies give birth?

For French Bulldogs, giving birth naturally is not recommended due to the puppies’ large heads relative to their bodies, which can pose significant risks during delivery, including the potential for puppies to get stuck in the birth canal. 

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Therefore, a planned C-section, performed by an experienced veterinarian, is the safest approach to ensure a successful delivery and the well-being of both the mother and the puppies.

Caesarean Section (C-section)

During a C-section, the mother dog is placed under anesthesia. The veterinarian makes an incision on her abdomen to access the uterus, and removes the puppies one by one. Then they cut the umbilical cord and cleans the puppies. Finally, the vet stitches up the incision, and the mother dog gradually wakes up from the anesthesia.

During the caesarean section the owner is not allowed in the room. The procedure is relatively quick, usually taking about half an hour for the puppies to be delivered. The incision on the mother can be painful and sensitive, requiring careful attention. The stitches will be removed after 10 days.

After anesthesia, the mother dog may be disoriented and trembling, unaware that her puppies have been born. It is the owner’s responsibility to introduce the puppies to her and help her understand the situation.

Since the anesthesia also affects the puppies, they are born asleep and may not cry or move much, which can be distressing even for an experienced breeder. It takes time for them to wake up, cry, and start moving. Rubbing them gently can help stimulate them, the assistants will help with that.

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Once all the puppies have woken up and are healthy, they should be taken home separately from the mother. The puppies need to be transported in a box, covered and kept warm, while the mother is transported in a crate.

After the birth: Caring for the mother Frenchie

After the delivery of her puppies, the mother dog requires attentive care to ensure her well-being and the health of her newborns. Here are essential tasks and considerations:

Monitoring the mom: Keep a close eye on the mother dog immediately following birth. Ensure she is fully awake from any anesthesia and alert. She should gradually recover her awareness, allowing her to bond with her puppies.

Introduction of puppies: Introduce the puppies to the mother only when she is fully awake and aware. Have someone assist you in carefully placing the puppies near her. Supervise closely during this initial interaction to prevent any unintentional harm to the puppies.

Nursing guidance: While the puppies may not need milk in the first few hours, guide them gently to the mother’s nipples to initiate nursing. Always stay with them during this time. When the puppies are done nursing and fall asleep, remove them from the mother’s side.

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Feeding schedule: In the initial period, bring the mother to the puppies every three hours to ensure they are well-fed.

Hygiene: Wipe the mother’s paws and nipples with a warm, damp cloth before allowing her near the puppies. Practice thorough handwashing and hand sanitization each time you handle the puppies.

Bonding: Praise the mother dog when she licks and cares for the puppies. It’s normal for her behavior to change within 1-2 days if she initially shows no interest in them. However, if you observe any aggression towards the puppies, correct it immediately.

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Supervision: Never leave the mother dog alone with the puppies during the first week. Accidental injuries can occur, and she may inadvertently lie on top of them. Place the mother dog in a lying position and ensure the puppies remain near her nipples. Avoid placing them near the sides of the whelping box to prevent trapping and suffocation.

Limit Activity: Due to her recent incision, limit the mother’s physical activity. Prevent her from jumping or engaging in strenuous activities, and keep her in a secure area away from the puppies.

Dietary Needs: Pay attention to the mother’s diet as her milk production depends on her food intake. Offer food in the morning and evening. If she refuses her regular food, consider cooking for her. Boil lean white meat in plain, unsalted water, and mix it with a small amount of cooked rice. You can also add cooked vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, or pumpkins if she enjoys them.

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Stitch Removal: After about 10 days, the stitches from the mother’s incision can typically be removed. Consult with your vet and carefully follow their instructions for this procedure.

Gradual Independence: As the puppies grow, you can gradually leave the mother alone with them, depending on her behavior and attachment to the puppies. This typically happens as they enter the second week of life.

Continued Care: Keep providing the mother dog with care, love, and attention as she recovers from the birthing process and tends to her puppies.

If you’d like to learn more about Frenchies, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences!

The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.

FAQ

How to tell if my French Bulldog is pregnant?

The most accurate way to confirm pregnancy is through a veterinary examination involving an ultrasound. You can also look for subtle signs like changes in appetite, behavior, and physical appearance.

Can a French Bulldog get pregnant naturally?

Natural mating for French Bulldogs can be problematic due to their unique anatomy, including narrow hips and short legs. Therefore, artificial insemination is often the ethical and practical choice for breeding Frenchies.

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