Accidental Puppies:  Don't Panic

When clients come into the office telling us they have made the decision to breed their pet, the vast majority of them don't have much of an idea what they are getting into.  Your vet is only looking out for your best interests when she tells you to think twice about this... and then think again.   There are so many inaccuracies and misconceptions involved in beginner dog breeding that they can't possibly be addressed in one page.  This piece is meant, instead, for those who know dog breeding is not in their future but ended up with a pregnancy anyway.  

Look, it happens... sometimes even if you try to take every precaution.  Reproduction is a natural function, so animals are instinctively highly motivated to complete it.  Male dogs will jump over your fence and even enter your house to reach a female dog that is in breeding seaason (and that comes around about twice a year for most, until they are spayed).  Because the actual mating sequence is somewhat lengthy in dogs, the majority of duped pet owners have some inkling of what has transpired.  You will need to do some quick thinking about the commitment involved in birthing, raising, and distributing an unplanned litter of puppies.  Eduate yourself promptly, so that you can know how to proceed.  Were you planning on getting this pet spayed anyway?  It takes more than two weeks for embryos to form and make contact with the wall of the uterus in a canine pregnancy.  Your doctor will sympathize with the difficulties of an accidental breeding and be able to offer some help.

If you are the type to embrace the unexpected AND are capable of taking on the many responsibilities involved with 5-10 (or more) extra pets making an appearance in your home, you will want to make some adjustments.  First, know that not every mating results in a litter, and that this can't be known for sure until well after the accidental event. Remember, the fetuses don't even make contact until more than two weeks have passed, so during that time period there is no possible way to demonstrate their existence.  At about 30 days in, there is a blood test that can be used, but by that time you've made your final decision.  If you don't  have a compelling need to know sooner, you might as well wait until about day 45 and have a radiograph taken to let you know how many pups you're expecting.  

It's probably  worth while to invest in earlier pregnancy testing if your pet was overweight before this happened.  Pregnant dogs should generally be allowed to eat as much of their regular diet as they would like during the pregnancy;  however, they can not be using a diet dog food durng that time.  At a clinic with a good ultrasound machine, you may be able to confirm a pregnancy as early as 3-4 weeks in;  this would allow you resume the diet that's best for your overweight dog as soon as possible, in case of a false alarm.

Dr. M.S. Regan