What happens in week 6 of a dog’s pregnancy?

What happens in week 6 of a dog's pregnancy?

And now, the penultimate stage of your dog’s pregnancy. In this series of posts, we’re taking a look at what happens throughout your dog’s pregnancy.

We’ve discussed the different stages of your dog’s pregnancy, as well as some of the potential signs of early pregnancy and what happens in the later stages as well. But, what happens in week 6 of a dog’s pregnancy?

During this stage near the end of your dog’s pregnancy, how will your pooch’s behavior change when they’re pregnant? How will the puppies develop?

How will your dog’s body change during this 6th week? And, what sort of symptoms should you look out for? In this article series, we’re taking a look at what will happen during your dog’s entire pregnancy, from week 1 right up to week 9!

Can you feel puppies move at 6 weeks?

Did you know it’s actually possible for both you and your vet to feel obvious movement from your dog’s puppy fetuses starting at just 4 weeks? Your dog, too, will have been feeling the pups moving around inside them since this stage.

However, an untrained person should not touch a dog’s belly during early pregnancy, whether to confirm pregnancy or to count the puppies. Not only will your very hormonal pregnant dog not appreciate this, but touching your dog’s puppies without knowing what you are doing could also cause irreparable harm to the developing fetuses.

Instead, take your dog to the vet if you want to confirm pregnancy. Your vet can show you every last one of the puppies using ultrasound or can count them by trained palpation if an ultrasound is not yet feasible.

What size are puppies in the womb at 6 weeks?

During the sixth week of your dog’s pregnancy, the puppy fetuses will develop a lot. The pups will go from being something around the size of a hazelnut to something that starts to look like a proper newborn puppy.

The fetuses already had eyes, their heads, and their first vertebrae and bones. But at 6 weeks, the puppies will develop much more. The rest of their organs will develop, with their skin and unique skin pigment and markings. The puppies will develop their sexual organs too. If you go for an ultrasound, you will see all this new detail. 

What should I feed my pregnant dog? 

Throughout your dog’s pregnancy, and after, it is important to feed your pooch a high-quality, balanced food. This means a good amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat too. 

During the third trimester of your dog’s pregnancy – during the 6th, 7th, and 8th weeks of pregnancy – their energy requirements are actually the highest they may ever be. Your dog may need anywhere from 30% up to 60% more energy than a normal adult dog needs.

And yet, your dog’s abdomen is simply full of puppies during the third trimester. This leaves hardly any room for them to digest food! So, during the 6th week, your dog needs a highly digestible food that supports the growth of the puppies.

You’ll probably need to feed your dog many very small meals at this stage. Even then, your dog may struggle to finish them. Essential fatty acids and folic acid are very important at this stage but do not feed a large breed food.

Get in contact with your vet for the best advice for your dog.

Can I bathe my pregnant dog?

Since your pooch will be giving birth any day now, you need to be so careful. At this stage, your dog can probably barely walk, and is very tired. They may struggle to eat, too. Though your pregnant dog will groom themselves to a certain extent, is it safe to give them a bath? 

Yes, you can absolutely bathe your pregnant dog if you need to. However, you do need to take a few small precautions. 

Before you even run the water, be sure to put down an appropriate non-slip mat or other material. A folded towel could work. During your dog’s 6th week, they likely have hardly any ability to balance. Slipping can be very dangerous for your pregnant pooch. 

Go for a more gentle shampoo, too. Avoid deworming shampoos or medicated shampoos, as these have been found to cause harm to unborn puppies. Take a look at the shampoo’s label to see what it says about using it on pregnant dogs. If in doubt, get a recommendation from your vet.

Our recommended gentle shampoo

As always, handle your pregnant pooch with care. Do not apply excessive pressure. Don’t make any sudden movements, either. Avoid touching your dog’s abdomen, too. 

Listen to your dog’s breathing. If your pooch starts to sound agitated or uncomfortable, or they even try to get out of the tub, end the bath. 

Even if your dog doesn’t tolerate a bath, there are other ways to wash them while they’re pregnant. Try wiping your dog or using a dry shampoo. Any form of bathing can be very relaxing for your pregnant dog! 

Can you tell how many puppies a dog will have by their nipples?

There’s an old myth that you can predict how many puppies a dog will have by the amount of nipples they have. How true is this?

Well, the average number of nipples all dogs have is 8 to 10. This is true among Chihuahuas, Jack Russells, and Labradors. However, Chihuahuas have only been known to have 3 puppies at a time at the most, while Jack Russells typically whelp 6, and Labradors birthing 5 to 10 puppies. 

With all these dogs having the same amount of nipples, and regardless of gender too, there’s really zero link between the nipple amount and puppy count. 

Instead, a dog’s size is what determines how many puppies they can have. It’s a well-known fact that Dalmatians routinely have large and record-breaking litters – the breed’s size is a big factor in this.

And, while it would be worrying for a large breed dog to give birth to just two or three puppies, it’s normal for a healthy West Highland White Terrier or Dachshund to do this.

Check out every week of a dogs pregnancy below

  1. What happens in week 1 of a dog’s pregnancy
  2. What happens in week 2 of a dog’s pregnancy
  3. What happens in week 3 of a dog’s pregnancy
  4. What happens in week 4 of a dog’s pregnancy
  5. What happens in week 5 of a dog’s pregnancy
  6. What happens in week 6 of a dog’s pregnancy
  7. What happens in week 7 of a dog’s pregnancy
  8. What happens in week 8 of a dog’s pregnancy
  9. What happens in week 9 of a dog’s pregnancy
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