Pregnancy is a unique, transformative time for both humans and animals. For Border Collie owners, understanding the nuances of their pet’s pregnancy can ensure optimal health for the mother and her puppies.
In this article:
➡️ Signs a border collie is pregnant
➡️ Border collie gestation period
➡️ Week by week pregnancy guide
➡️ Birth process and preparation
➡️ Care tips for during and after pregnancy
➡️ What to expect from a pregnant border collie
Signs a Border Collie Is Pregnant
The first question on your mind might be: “Is my Border Collie pregnant?”
Below are some of the key indicators to watch for:
- Increased Appetite: As the pregnancy progresses, your Border Collie might display a significant increase in appetite. This is her body’s way of preparing to support the growing puppies.
- Behavioral Changes: She might exhibit alterations in behavior, such as increased affection, or alternatively, desire for solitude. Some dogs become more lethargic, while others become restless.
- Physical Changes: Her belly will start to enlarge and her nipples may become more prominent as they prepare for milk production.
- Decreased Activity Levels: Your normally energetic Border Collie might start to slow down and prefer more rest.
Of course, the only surefire way to confirm pregnancy is through a veterinarian’s examination. If you notice the above signs, make an appointment for a check-up.
Veterinarians have a few methods at their disposal to confirm whether a dog, such as a Border Collie, is pregnant. Here are the most common methods:
- Palpation: This method involves the vet carefully feeling the dog’s abdomen. After about a month of gestation, a vet might be able to feel the small, golf ball-sized embryos. However, this method requires skill and experience as it can be challenging to distinguish the embryos from other structures in the abdomen.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound scan is a safe and effective way to confirm pregnancy in dogs. This can be done around 25 to 35 days into the pregnancy. The vet can not only confirm the pregnancy, but also get an idea of the number of puppies.
- X-rays: X-rays are most useful later in the pregnancy, around 45 days or more, when the puppies’ skeletons have started to calcify and become visible. This method allows the vet to see the number of puppies and get an idea of their size and position.
- Hormone Testing: A blood test can also be used to detect the hormone relaxin, which is only produced during pregnancy. This can be a reliable indicator of pregnancy, but it’s not commonly used due to its relatively high cost compared to the other methods.
Border Collie Gestation Period
The gestation period for a Border Collie is typically around 63 days, similar to most other dog breeds. This period can, however, vary by a few days in either direction.
During the first month of pregnancy, your Border Collie’s embryos will be busy developing into puppies.
This is a critical period of development, and your dog may not exhibit many external signs of pregnancy.
This changes during the second month when the puppies grow rapidly, leading to noticeable weight gain and physical changes in your dog.
In the last stage of the gestation period, your Border Collie may become increasingly uncomfortable due to the puppies’ size. During this time, it’s essential to provide extra care and comfort.
Border Collie Pregnancy: Week By Week
Let’s break down your border collie’s pregnancy week by week.
There is nothing better than knowing exactly what will happen on a weekly timeframe. This way you can be prepared for what’s to come, when it’s coming!
➡️ Week 1-2
The first two weeks after breeding involve fertilization, followed by the formation of a group of cells known as a blastocyst. The blastocysts implant in the uterine wall and begin to grow. This early stage of pregnancy is quiet and nearly impossible to detect externally.
➡️ Week 3
By the third week, the blastocysts have developed into embryos. At this point, the key organs and systems of the puppies begin to form. Your Border Collie might experience some morning sickness due to hormonal changes. Some signs include lethargy, reduced appetite, or mild vomiting.
➡️ Week 4
By week four, the embryos have grown significantly. An ultrasound performed by your vet can confirm the pregnancy and even provide an estimate of how many puppies to expect. The embryos will begin developing their spinal cords and faces during this week.
➡️ Week 5
During the fifth week, the fetuses grow rapidly, and their sex organs start developing. Your Border Collie’s belly may begin to appear larger, as the puppies continue to grow. The mother might also display changes in appetite, often eating more to support the developing puppies.
➡️ Week 6
By the sixth week, the puppies have developed even more, and their skin pigmentation starts forming. Your Border Collie will likely have a very noticeable increase in weight. Her appetite may continue to grow as she requires more nutrients for the growing puppies.
➡️ Week 7
In the seventh week, the puppies are nearly fully developed and are now preparing for birth. They start shifting into the birthing position. You may notice your Border Collie exhibiting nesting behavior as she prepares for the upcoming birth. Provide a warm, safe space for her during this time.
➡️ Week 8
During the eighth week, the puppies are fully formed and ready to be born. The mother might become more restless due to the discomfort of carrying fully-grown puppies. You can help by providing comfort, patience, and gentle care.
➡️ Week 9
This is the final week of the gestation period. The puppies are fully developed and ready to be born. Your Border Collie will likely show signs of imminent labor, such as restlessness, panting, pacing, or digging behavior. It’s time to prepare for the arrival of the puppies.
Remember, each dog’s pregnancy can vary slightly, so these stages are approximations. Always keep in close contact with your veterinarian to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy for your Border Collie.
The Birth Process and Preparation
As the gestation period draws to a close, it’s important to understand the birth process and prepare for it adequately.
The delivery, or whelping, can be stressful for both the dog and owner, so being well-prepared can make the process smoother.
➡️ Stages of Dog Labor
Dog labor is typically divided into three stages:
- Stage One: The first stage is characterized by uterine contractions and dilation of the cervix. Your Border Collie may appear restless, refuse to eat, and exhibit nesting behavior. This stage can last up to 24 hours.
- Stage Two: The second stage involves active labor, where puppies are born. Your Border Collie will display visible contractions and attempt to push out the puppies. Each puppy is usually delivered 30 minutes to an hour apart, and the mother will break each puppy’s amniotic sac and clean them.
- Stage Three: The third stage of labor is the delivery of the placenta, which usually happens after each puppy is born. It’s important to ensure that all the placentas are delivered to prevent infection.
Always have your vet’s contact information on hand during this process, as complications can arise.
➡️ Whelping Boxes and Nesting
A whelping box is a must-have when preparing for the birth of puppies. This is a safe, confined space where your Border Collie can give birth and care for her puppies during their first few weeks of life.
The box should be easy to clean, have sides high enough to prevent puppies from wandering off but low enough for the mother to come and go as she pleases.
Here are a few tips to prepare the perfect whelping box:
- Choose the Right Size: The box should be big enough for the mother and puppies to lie and move comfortably, but not so big that the puppies can move away from their mother and get cold.
- Use Safe Materials: Make sure the box is made of a non-toxic material that can be easily cleaned. You can line it with newspapers initially, then add softer bedding once the puppies are born.
- Place the Box in a Quiet, Comfortable Area: The area should be warm and away from daily household traffic. This will provide a stress-free environment for the mother and her newborn puppies.
When your Border Collie starts showing signs of nesting, it’s time to introduce her to the whelping box.
She might start looking for quiet places to give birth, so guide her towards the whelping box. This way, she’ll understand it’s a safe place for her to deliver and care for her puppies.
Remember, each birth is unique, and while most go smoothly, complications can happen. Always be prepared to contact your vet or an emergency veterinary clinic if necessary. Monitor your Border Collie closely throughout the birth process to ensure both her and the puppies’ safety.
Care Tips for During & After Pregnancy
Let’s run through some basic, yet important tips that should help you care for your border collie appropriately both during and after their pregnancy.
➡️ During Pregnancy
- Nutrition: As her nutritional needs increase, you might need to adjust your Border Collie’s diet. Consult your vet for advice on the best diet plan.
- Exercise: While she should still get gentle exercise, avoid intense activities like running or fetching.
- Regular Vet Checkups: Ensure your dog gets regular veterinary care to monitor her health and the puppies’ development.
➡️ After Pregnancy
- Nursing Care: Monitor the mother and puppies closely during the first few days to ensure all puppies are nursing and the mother is caring for them adequately.
- Post-Pregnancy Diet: Consult with your vet for a post-pregnancy diet plan to support lactation.
- Post-Birth Checkup: A post-birth checkup is crucial to ensure the mother’s health and confirm all puppies are healthy and thriving.
Understanding and supporting your Border Collie’s pregnancy can be a rewarding experience. Always remember, a veterinarian should be your first point of contact for any health concerns or questions you may have during this time.
What To Expect From a Pregnant Border Collie
During pregnancy, your Border Collie will go through significant changes physically and emotionally.
As the puppies grow, she will gain weight and her appetite will increase. She may also display changes in behavior, such as seeking more affection or privacy.
In the later stages of pregnancy, she will begin to nest, seeking out a quiet, comfortable place to give birth.
You can assist her by providing a warm, quiet area with soft bedding. Her activity levels will decrease, and she may appear uncomfortable or restless due to the puppies’ size.