So, your Boxer is behaving a little differently and you’re pretty sure that pups are on the way! How long are Boxers pregnant for?
On average, your Boxer will be pregnant for about 60 to 64 days before you’ll have little-bitty new Boxers out and soon to be bouncing around your happy home. It’s a fast gestational period and your Boxer can have litters twice a year!
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the developmental stages of the pups, signs of labor, when you can safely touch the puppies, and more! Read on to learn more about Boxers, birthing, and what you need to know if your Boxer is already pregnant!
How Long Are Boxers Pregnant For?
A Boxer’s gestational period is around 64 days and there’s definitely a lot going on in there. Let’s break it down a bit so that you can get a glimpse at puppy development during this time:
- First 2 weeks – The egg is fertilized, folks, and it’s time to make a fetus! Nestled up against the uterine wall, cells start dividing and puppy spines and heads are being crafted.
- 3 – 4 week mark – Now about the size of a hazelnut, you have a rudimentary pup whose head is getting bigger and you’ve got tiny limbs, the first vertebrae are developing, and the pre-puppies are now getting their eyes and organs. At this time, ultrasound should be able to spot these little guys and gals who otherwise are quite good at keeping themselves hidden.
- Weeks 5 and 6 – Whiskers, nails, teeth, and toes are now present and the organs should be fully developed. Skin is also started to get some color to it and mom is definitely walking a bit differently now, as her weight has experienced a sharp increase.
- Weeks 7 to 9 – At this point, mom’s belly is going to be devoid of fur, so that the new arrivals will be able to nurse a bit more easily. Inside, their skeletons are fully formed at this point, and if you get an ultrasound then what you’ll see inside looks like a fully formed pup, floating in the ‘Zen zone’ with their eyelids tightly shut.
Pups make their entrance anywhere from day 57 to 63 so be sure that you’re prepared, because your home it about to have it’s cuteness factor increased exponentially!
How long until I can touch the puppies?
Wait until the pups are about 3 weeks old before handling them. You want to give them some time to build up their strength, after all, so that they grow up healthy and strong. If mom is abandoning one or it seems sick, however, then this is the exception to that rule.
If this happens, you should contact your vet right away, as you may need to nurse the abandoned pup to give it a chance if mom is rejecting it for some reason. While we’re on the subject we should mention that the ‘no touching until they are 3 weeks old’ rule is not because mom will reject them. Handing the pups won’t cause that.
It’s actually because of their fragility that you want to leave them alone. The first 3 weeks, the pups are blind and deaf, and they can’t regulate their body temperature or even take a potty on their own without mom’s help.
A pup that is away too long can quickly get cold and if it misses a feeding, then the pup might even develop low blood sugar. Their immune systems are also weak, so flu and other contagions that can sometimes transfer from humans to dogs are possible. It’s really safest to wait those 3 weeks!
What are signs my Boxer is in labor?
There are a few signs to watch out for where labor is concerned. Let’s take a look and what you should know to be prepared:
- Temperature – Your dog’s body temperature will drop below 100 degrees when they are close to labor, and the temperature will go back up right before she is going to deliver the pups. A rectal thermometer can be used during the last week of pregnancy, with twice-a-day measurements to catch this sign early.
- Restlessness – Your Boxer will seem a bit restless and might even avoid the nest that you’ve prepared to look for another location. This can mean that labor is starting so you’ll want to be ready.
- Hardening of the abdomen – Check your dog’s abdomen regularly, as it will become much firmer as the due-date approaches.
- Socialization changes – Your Boxer may insist that you are always around or she might do exactly the opposite. Both are normal reactions so don’t take it personally.
- Mammary glands – Mammary glands should be noticeably enlarged in anticipation of nursing the new pups.
- Nausea – Your dog may start vomiting more than in earlier stages of the pregnancy as the time to deliver becomes closer.
- Excessive licking – Your Boxer will start licking at their genitals more frequently as fluids are going to be flowing when giving birth. Watch for this as it could mean she is already in labor and you’ll be seeing those puppies soon!
Why is my Boxer not pushing her puppies out?
There are a few things which may cause this, with one example being Dystocia. Dystocia usually occurs after 1 or 2 of the pups have already come out, but then for about an hour or 2 mom doesn’t seem to be able to push more pups outside.
Sometimes a quick walk can help to increase the strength of the contractions if this is the case. Another possibility is Uterine Inertia. If your dog has been in labor for about 24 hours and yet she hasn’t produced a single pup, then this might well be the case and vet assistance will be required.
This sometimes occurs when a litter is too large or too small and may also be related to a calcium deficiency with your dog. The vet can usually help with medications but a C-section may also be required to safely deliver the litter.
Breech birth is a final possibility, where the puppy has moved around and is emerging rear-first, rather than head-first, and while this is not uncommon, if the puppy is facing such a way that their stomach is pressing against mom’s pelvis then a vet’s assistance is going to be required immediately to safely deliver the pup.
Will my Boxer’s behavior change as a mom?
It is likely that your Boxer is going to show some definite changes. Raising her pups is stressful, after all, and mom is going to be worried about her pups and very protective of them. The behavioral changes depend on the individual dog, but don’t be surprised if your Boxer gets a little snappy about the handling of her pups.
She might even take the opposite tact and bring them to your bed or insist that she is close to you, but there’s really no way to predict how mom will react the first time. The good news if that the behavioral changes should slowly go away over a time span of approximately 60 days.
If your Boxer has puppies again, her behavior will likely be similar or exactly the same as last time, but again there is no guarantees. Various factors, such as the stress of the birth, changes in the environment, or even pregnancy-related nutritional deficiencies may occur, so if you are worried don’t hesitate to call your vet.
If it is related to nutrition or something else that is treatable, then medications may be proscribed and your relieved Boxer will behave a little more like the dog that you know and love. If not, just wait it out… after all, having so many babies to look after would certainly stress even the best of us too!
How many times can a Boxer give birth?
Well, technically, a Boxer can give birth twice a year and many times in their lifetime, but it’s recommended that you allow your dog to birth no more than 3 litters. Birthing pups is stressful work, after all, and even with those 3 breedings, you should have your dog’s health tested if you intend to breed them.
Each litter could be anywhere from 3 to 12 pups and again, as it is so stressful for your dog, after 3 litters you should really consider getting her spayed – otherwise the stress could have health repercussions on both the mom and the litters produced.
The benefits of Spaying your Boxer
Spaying your Boxer is a great idea unless you intend to raise an entire litter on your own or if you will be breeding them professionally. Aside from preventing ‘surprise puppies’ that you’ll have to find homes for, there are a number of benefits from this procedure. Here are just a few:
- Reduced chance of developing breast cancer
- Chances of uterine infections greatly reduced
- Your dog will be better behaved and much more mellow
- Your Boxer will also not go into heat
As you can see, there are excellent perks to spaying your dog, but best of all they’ll have a chance at a longer, healthier life — so this is definitely something that you should consider.
Some final words about birth and Boxers
We hope that you’ve found this article useful and with the tips we’ve shared today, you should have a bit of an edge in telling when mom is getting close to her due date and what you can expect.
Remember, rectal thermometers can help you to check when her temperature drops to anticipate her labor and also that you shouldn’t handle the pups until they are 3 weeks of age – they’re adorable, yes, but too fragile when they’re young. Finally, consider spaying your dog after this litter.
She’ll have a chance at a longer life and you won’t be risking Disney’s ire with a ‘101 Boxers’ scenario in your home. Just something to think about!