Whether you planned to breed your Chihuahua, or you have an unplanned pregnancy on your hands, don’t panic!
Pregnancy can indeed be risky for Chihuahuas, but that doesn’t mean your dog will develop any complications.
To be on the safe side, though, you should get as much information as you can about the Chihuahua pregnancy stages and be prepared for new puppies.
Caring for a pregnant Chihuahua can be very exciting, but at the same time extremely stressful.
Due to their tiny size, Chis often have high-risk pregnancies and end up giving birth via a cesarean section.
And while Chihuahuas can deliver puppies on their own, you should know what to expect from your dog’s pregnancy so you can help in a case of emergency.
To help you understand what your pregnant Chihuahua is going through, I’ve made a comprehensive guide for all nine weeks of pregnancy. Continue reading to learn what will happen to your dog’s body during those nine weeks.
A Week By Week Guide For Chihuahua Pregnancy Stages
Whether you planned to breed your Chihuahua or the pregnancy is the result of unplanned mating, you should keep track of all developments with a canine gestation calendar.
Like all other dogs, your Chihuahua will be pregnant between 58 and 68 days, with an average pregnancy lasting for 63 days.
Being the smallest dog breed in the world, Chihuahuas can have difficulties delivering puppies and many must give birth via cesarean section.
Understanding all the stages of your Chi’s pregnancy and tracking her progress will help you get prepared for the whelping.
Considering that Chihuahuas are at a higher risk of developing birthing complications, you should do everything you can to keep your dog safe and comfortable during pregnancy.
To help you through this exciting and somewhat frightening time, here is a rundown of your Chihuahua’s pregnancy stages.
The first week after conception, your Chihuahua won’t look any different and might not show any signs that she is pregnant.
However, the pregnancy will create hormonal changes within your Chi’s body, so she might behave out of character.
Some Chihuahuas will experience morning sickness in this stage, but this doesn’t necessarily happen to every dog.
Even if you suspect that you now own a pregnant Chihuahua, there is still no need for any lifestyle changes.
So you can continue feeding and exercising your tiny pooch the same as you did before. Also, you shouldn’t offer any nutritional supplements to your Chihuahua at this point, unless your vet says otherwise.
At this point, your Chihuahua has been pregnant for two weeks. During this stage, the cells in the embryo will start to develop and move to the uterus.
These are still the early days of the pregnancy, and the developing embryos still don’t require too many calories for normal growth.
Therefore, you can continue feeding your Chihuahua the same amount of dog food as you did before.
Also at this time, you can still exercise, play, and groom your Chihuahua the same as before and don’t need to change her regular routine in any way.
During the third week of your Chihuahua’s pregnancy, the embryos will start to grow and develop faster, but will still be very small.
Therefore, you won’t notice any major changes in your Chi’s appearance, and she won’t look any different than before getting pregnant.
At this stage, you may notice that your Chihuahua has an increased appetite, but that is completely normal. If your Chi seems like she could eat more food, you should increase her meals a little to help her feel full.
Three weeks into the pregnancy is still too early to make any changes to your Chi’s regular schedule. So just keep doing what you were doing, and exercise and play with your pooch the same as you always have.
At this point, your Chihuahua has been pregnant for almost a month, and now is the time when things really get exciting.
By the end of the fourth week, your vet might be able to confirm the pregnancy and feel the puppies by gently palpating your Chi’s abdomen.
If you haven’t taken your Chihuahua to the vet up until this point, now is the right time for a checkup. Besides confirming the pregnancy, your vet will also give you advice and information about caring for your Chi during this special time.
Now is also a good time to ask your vet whether you need to make some changes to your Chihuahua’s diet.
Your vet might advise you to increase your Chihuahua’s meals to meet the nutritional needs of ever-growing puppies and give the mom strength to support a healthy pregnancy.
Please note, the fourth week is the time of big changes, and there is an increased risk of miscarriage and developmental abnormalities.
To ensure the safety of both mom and her puppies, you should limit your Chi’s exercise and avoid rough play.
By the fifth week, your Chihuahua has been pregnant for a little over one month and, at this stage, the fetuses will start to gain weight more quickly.
At this point, the future puppies will start to form organs, nails, and individual toes. Furthermore, from this point on the risk of puppies experiencing any developmental issues is significantly lower.
During this week, your Chihuahua will start to gain weight and her body will look much rounder than before.
Due to the growing nutritional needs, now is a good time to change your Chi’s diet and start feeding her puppy food or a special formula for pregnant and nursing dogs.
Besides switching to a more nutrient-dense formula, you will also have to increase your Chihuahua’s portion size.
If you aren’t sure how much food your Chi needs, talk with your vet and ask for an individualized meal plan for your dog.
This way, you can rest assured that both your Chi and her puppies are getting all the calories and nutrients they need.
At this point, your tiny pooch won’t be tiny anymore and everyone will notice that you own a pregnant Chihuahua. The fetuses will continue to rapidly grow and develop their distinctive features and skeletons.
Your Chihuahua will also have a bigger appetite, and if you haven’t changed her diet until this point, you will have to do it now.
However, some Chihuahuas can start eating less at this stage due to the pressure the puppies create on their stomachs.
If this happens, offer several smaller meals to your dog and keep the food bowl full so your Chi can eat at any time.
Now is also a good time to start thinking about the actual delivery, and you should consider the best place to set up a whelping box.
If you already have a room in mind, you can let your Chi explore it and give her some time to get used to the idea of delivering the puppies there.
By the end of the seventh week, your Chihuahua has been pregnant for nearly 50 days and she will start to get prepared to deliver the puppies.
At this stage, the puppies will look like miniature Chihuahuas and will develop a coat and form solid bones.
During this week, you should really start preparing for the arrival of your new puppies.
If you haven’t already, set up a whelping box in a quiet area away from all commotion and foot traffic.
You should also encourage your Chihuahua to examine her nursery so she can adapt to the room and feel comfortable giving birth to puppies there.
During the eighth week, your Chihuahua will start to nest and make all the necessary preparations so she can bring the puppies into the world. For some Chihuahuas, the eighth week might be the time when they give birth.
If you need to make some final adjustments to the whelping area, now might be the perfect time to do so.
And since your Chi can go into labor any minute now, you should make sure that the whelping box and the birthing area are completely set up.
This close to birth you might be able to see the puppies move inside your Chihuahua’s belly.
At this stage in the pregnancy, your Chihuahua may go into labor at any time. The puppies are now fully developed and will start moving into the birth canal as they get ready to be born.
Your Chihuahua will make the final preparation for delivery and start nesting more intensely now.
Some Chihuahuas will become lethargic and start to behave strangely as the whelping gets closer.
During this last week, you can start measuring your Chi’s temperature to learn exactly when she will go into labor.
Generally, once your dog’s temperature drops below 100°F, she will likely go into labor within the next 24 hours.
If your Chihuahua shows any signs of distress while in labor, you should call your vet right away. Some Chihuahuas can’t deliver puppies naturally and will have to have a cesarean section performed by an experienced vet.
How To Tell If A Chihuahua Is Pregnant?
If you can’t wait for your Chihuahua to show the telltale signs of pregnancy, there are several ways that can help you figure out whether your Chi is pregnant or not.
Confirming your suspicions early on will give you enough time to get prepared for the actual delivery. The best methods for confirming pregnancy in Chihuahuas are:
Five weeks after mating, you can take your Chihuahua to the vet and ask them to do blood tests.
Your Chi’s blood samples will be checked for pregnancy hormones, and you will know for certain whether she is pregnant or not.
Bear in mind, the test is an accurate way to confirm pregnancy, but only if you do it five weeks after mating.
If blood samples are taken during the earlier stage, they may show a negative result even if your Chihuahua is in the early stages of her pregnancy.
An ultrasound is a noninvasive and very convenient way of determining whether the planned or unplanned mating worked.
A vet can do an ultrasound as early as 25 days into the pregnancy and give you a rough estimate of the litter size.
Although the ultrasound can’t show the exact number of puppies like an x-ray, it can help your vet decide whether to do a C-section or not.
How Many Puppies Can A Chihuahua Have?
On average, a Chihuahua can have one to three puppies in a litter. However, while Chihuahuas are tiny dogs, they can sometimes have five or six puppies within one litter.
According to one study, the smaller the Chihuahua is, the fewer puppies she will give birth to. So, if you have a very tiny pregnant Chihuahua, she will most likely give birth to one or a maximum of two puppies in one litter.
FAQs About Pregnant Chihuahuas
How Long Are Chihuahuas Pregnant?
Despite their small size, Chihuahuas have the same gestation period as other dog breeds. A normal pregnancy will last between 58 and 68 days, with the average length being 63 days after mating.
How Many Puppies Do Chihuahuas Have The First Time?
The first time a Chihuahua gives birth, she will likely have a very small litter. For the first time, you should expect between one and three puppies, but don’t be surprised if your Chi only gives birth to one puppy.
However, as your Chihuahua gets older, she will be able to deliver larger litters. In most cases, Chihuahuas have their largest litters after the third or fourth pregnancy, and then they again start delivering smaller litters.
Is It Dangerous For Chihuahuas To Have Puppies?
Chihuahua puppies have a disposition for larger heads, which means they can get stuck within the birthing canal. It is a well-known fact that Chihuahuas have risky pregnancies and many give birth via cesarean section.
However, this doesn’t mean that your Chihuahua will develop any complications while giving birth.
And while this breed tends to have risky pregnancies, Chihuahuas have delivered puppies on their own for centuries without any major problems.
Can Chihuahuas Give Birth On Their Own?
Due to their small size and a higher chance of a risky pregnancy, it’s often recommended to take a Chihuahua to the vet once the labor starts.
This way, a trained veterinarian can assist a whelping Chihuahua or even perform a cesarean section if necessary. However, this doesn’t mean that Chihuahuas can’t give birth to a healthy litter all on their own.
All dogs know instinctively what to do once the labor starts, and Chihuahuas have the same maternal instincts and can whelp without any help.
What Happens If A Chihuahua Gets Pregnant By A Bigger Dog?
If a Chihuahua accidentally mates with a larger dog and ends up pregnant, she will likely not be able to give birth to puppies on her own. In this case, a cesarean section is the only option and will ensure the safety of both the mom and the puppies.
Since these types of pregnancies have many risks, you should keep a close eye on your Chihuahua while in heat and prevent mating with bigger dogs.
Can An 8-year-old Chihuahua Get Pregnant?
An eight-year-old Chihuahua can still get pregnant, but mating older Chihuahuas on purpose is strongly discouraged.
An older Chihuahua has a higher chance of having a high-risk pregnancy and can develop post-pregnancy health issues.
Pregnancy and birth followed by nursing can be extremely difficult for an older Chihuahua and can create many health problems.
How Do I Help My Chihuahua Give Birth?
Setting up a comfortable whelping box is the first thing you can do to help your Chihuahua give birth to a healthy litter.
If your vet has decided that a cesarean section isn’t necessary, you can opt for an at-home whelping or take your Chi to a veterinary clinic as soon as she goes into labor.
Bear in mind, your dog knows exactly what she needs to do to give birth to healthy puppies, but she will appreciate your help and support.
And if anything goes wrong during delivery, the only way you can help is to stay calm and take your Chihuahua to an emergency clinic.
Getting pregnant always brings certain risks for tiny Chihuahuas, but there is no need for panic.
Understanding what to expect from all Chihuahua pregnancy stages will help you keep track of your dog’s progress and make necessary plans and preparations for the due date.
The most important things you need to remember about Chihuahuas’ gestation period are:
- Chihuahuas can give birth on their own
- The average Chihuahua pregnancy lasts 63 days
- You can use blood tests, ultrasound, or x-ray to confirm the pregnancy
In the end, it’s natural to be a bit anxious when you are dealing with a pregnant Chihuahua.
But understanding all pregnancy stages and having your vet’s help will ensure that your dog’s pregnancy and delivery go smoothly.
Have you ever had a pregnant Chihuahua? If so, what behaviors and changes did you notice during each stage of pregnancy?
Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.