|Our two mothers-to-be: Mango and Bailey!|
Our girl Mango is beginning to show! Her abdomen area has grown to 31 inches or 78 cm.
Over the past three weeks she has preferred to keep a low profile and takes refuge from the rest of the gang in our bedroom lying by the fire. She is often found on our large doggy bed or seeking refuge from her personal valet, Jazz. Despite not being the father to her litter, Jazz follows Mango everywhere and constantly shows his affection by licking her head. We hesitate to refer to it as grooming because the result is not always appealing. Mango does get some occasional relief and an opportunity to dry off.
Mango is still eating well but usually slower than the other dogs. She is eating very nutritious meals of veggies and fruit, chicken, oatmeal and supplements. Over the next week she will be eating smaller meals more frequently as her tummy will have less room for food.
|Above is an amazing photo b National Geographic of an embryo at 39 days|
Pre-natal period: It is an interesting fact that a dog's tactile perception develops before birth, therefore unborn puppies can detect touch when the mother is petted from the outside of the abdomen. This establishes the basis for puppies to tolerate being touched, when compared to puppies born to mothers that were not petted.
Pregnant dogs that are exposed to stressful events tend to release hormones that can be detected by the fetuses, which can negatively influence their future development. This underscores the importance of providing pregnant dogs a stress free and tranquil environment.
At this stage, the puppies’ eyes and spinal cords have begun to develop and the face is also forming. Fetuses are approximately 1.3 cm. This may seem small but they will triple in size in just one week. Between days 29 and 35, their toes, whiskers and claws start to develop. They are now beginning to look like dogs! Interestingly, their eyes are initially open but their eyelids fuse at around day 35 to protect them from contamination during development and remain closed until approximately 10 days after birth.