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Beagle Pregnancy


This will be one of the most exciting times for Beagle owners and also one of the most nerve-racking. 

Proper care at this time is vital to ensure the health of the dam and the soon-to-come puppies.

There is a lot involved with Beagle pregnancy; we are here to answers the questions that you have and to help you prepare for the litter that is soon to come.

One must keep in mind the health of the dam and the newborns. 

Let's take a look at:
  • The aspects of Beagle pregnancy
  • Beagle gestation
  • Care for the pregnant Beagle
  •  What to expect during delivery
Beagle dam with litter of pups

The First Signs

Many wonder how to know a Beagle is pregnant. The signs become clear very quickly. You will notice:
  • She may act lethargic - not wanting to exercise as much, wanting to lie and rest - this will happen more often as the weeks progress
  • Her stomach start to feel firm
  • Her nipples will grow larger and previously inverted nipples will begin to emerge
  • She will groom herself more thoroughly than usual
  • She will withdraw at random times, wanting to "nest" and prepare for the birth
  • Increased hunger generally does not begin until later weeks

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will a Beagle be pregnant for? All dogs, no matter what the breed, will deliver in an average of 63 days from the time of conception. It is normal for the dog's pregnancy to last any where from 60 to 65 days. If a Beagle has not delivered at the 65 day mark, she should be brought to the veterinarian immediately.

When does a pregnant Beagle's stomach start swelling? Typically you will notice some firmness by the end of week two. By week three, it is larger than normal. By week 4, a Beagle will clearly show that she is carrying a litter.

How many puppies will a Beagle have? There are many opinions on this, and you may read many different answers. This is because the number can range so greatly. The facts are that the average size will be 6 and this number can easily vary from 1 to 10 puppies. It is common that if a dam has a small litter, her next litter will be small as well. On the flip side, if she has a large litter, most likely her future litters will be large as well. However, Mother Nature does have the final say on this.  By week 6, the veterinarian can take an x-ray that will let you know how many pups to expect; having this done before this time will not show anything clearly since bones are not fully calcified until this stage. 

How much food does a pregnant Beagle need? During the first few weeks, a Beagle will either eat normally or there may even be a decrease in appetite. Once the pregnancy is 4 weeks in, there should be a notable increase in hunger.  Most expecting dogs eat 20 to 30% more than normal.

How much weight does a pregnant Beagle gain? Typically, there will be a 15 to 25% gain. Therefore, a 20 lb. (9.07 kg) Beagle will gain anywhere from 3 lbs. (1.36 kg) to 5 lbs. (2.26 kg) during a typical pregnancy. This, of course, varies depending on the size of the litter. This weight gain includes not only the pups but also excess water, amniotic fluid and tissue and the placenta. 

How to Know it is Time

You will know by the increased activity of nesting behavior, however it is the dog's temperature that will let you know that labor will begin in 24 hours.

One week before the expected date, begin to take your Beagle's temperature. Use a rectal or oral thermometer but use it rectally. You should lubricate it and insert it about a half inch. Leave it for three minutes. Your Beagle's temperature is normally between 101 and 102.5 Fahrenheit.

When temperature drops below 100 F, she should deliver the Beagle pups in less than twenty-four hours. If your Beagle does not go into labor within 24 hours after her body temperature drops to below 100 F , bring her to the vet ASAP.
Beagle after giving birth
Bella with her litter of Beagle puppies
Photo courtesy of Julie Allen - Bayou Bluetick Beagles

Supplies Needed for Whelping

Roughly 90 % of all pregnant Beagles deliver their puppies at home without complications. Approximately 96 % deliver without assistance such as having to guide a pup out or remove an amniotic sac. Therefore, it will be your job to supply the correct environment and to be standing by to assist when needed. 

You will need:
  • A thermometer
  • Clean sheets, towels and newspapers
  • An area for the birth, this will usually be a large cardboard box that you have prepared ahead of time, often referred to as the 'whelping box'. However we have also found that using a Perla canine bed also works very well. These are good sized plastic beds (meant to have a mattress placed inside). Since cardboard can quickly become ruined due to fluids, water and blood, this is a good alternative. 
  • Trash bags - for the used, wet and messy newspapers
  • Floss or thread
  • A suction bulb - the type that is used to suctioning out mucus from a human baby's nose
  • It's a good idea to have a helper with you

The 3 Stages of Whelping

Please note that this is an overview. When a Beagle is giving birth, there is a lot of information to know. Care during pregnancy is vital, as there are health issues that only expecting dogs can develop. In addition, post care is very important. For these reasons, this is an overview of what happens and what to expect. For the full & complete details, please refer to the BeaglePro Book.
Stage 1:  During the first stage of labor the dog's cervix will dilate and contractions begin. This element of Beagle pregnancy can be painful to the dog. She will be uncomfortable, restless and quite possibly pacing, shivering, panting and possibly vomiting.

Do not feed her during this stage - if an emergency C-section needs to be done, she must have an empty stomach. This is the longest stage of labor, lasting 4 to 20 hours. When this stage is complete, your Beagle is almost there! During this period keep the mother’s environment quiet and calm.  

Stage 2:  As this stage progresses a white fluid may be expelled. You can gently move the dam to replace the wet sheets or newspapers with dry ones.  Puppies will be pushed out one at a time.  Each will be wrapped in its own amniotic sac.  Just about 50% of all pups are born feet first, so do not worry if this happen. It's best to stay close and watch; do not pull a puppy out unless it appears to be lodged.  Pups can be born anywhere from one minute to 30 minutes apart; though this does usually happen in rather quick succession. 

As the pups are delivered, the dam will bite open the amniotic sac, lick the puppy clean and also bite off the umbilical cord. It is important to let the dam do this. The rough licking of the mother stimulates the puppies to breathe and prompts circulation. It is normal for the dam to ingest the sac, cords and any of the fluids or tissues expelled.

Stage 3Once all the puppies have been born the dog enters this 3rd stage during which time the dog's uterus contracts fully, expelling any remaining placenta, blood and fluid. 

Warning Signs

If the dam does not tear the sac away from the puppy and does not lick them, you must intervene. Gently tear it open, clear away all fluids from the puppy's mouth and nose with the bulb, and quickly yet gently rub the puppy to prompt it to breathe.

If the dam does not bite the umbilical cord, you will need to cut it. Please note that you will need to tie it before you cut it. 

1- Tie a piece of dental floss around the puppy's umbilical cord. This first piece should be about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) away from the puppy's belly. A second piece of thread should be tied 0.25 inch (0.64 centimeters) away from the first piece, toward the placenta.

2- Using sterilized scissors, cut the umbilical cord between the two pieces of thread. 

3- Iodine should be applied to the cut end of the puppy's umbilical cord. It is best to dip the end of the cord into iodine. This can be done by pouring some iodine into a sterilized cup. 

The umbilical cord will then usually fall off within a few days to a week.

Call your veterinarian immediately if:
  • If more than 30 minutes have passed without a puppy being pushed out and you are certain more puppies are expected
  • If a puppy is stuck 1/2 way out and you can pull him or her out
  • The dam is bleeding, has trouble breathing or shows any signs of distress. After giving birth, dogs 'bounce right back'; she should be a bit weary but be happily nursing her pups.
Beagle and her newborn

More Information

This is an overview of Beagle pregnancy to help you have a basic understanding. Full & complete information including:
  • Care During Pregnancy
  • The Health Conditions Only Pregnant Dogs can Develop
  • Exact Birthing Instructions
  • The Health Issues that can Affect a Puppy During the First 2 Months
  • Caring for a Newborn Beagle Puppy
  • Weaning Puppies
  • And Much More... look to The GIANT Book of Beagle Care. In both hard copy & eBook.
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