Bichon Frise Pregnancy: Duration, How Many Puppies & More

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Bichon Frise Pregnancy: Duration, How Many Puppies & MoreIf you are a bichon frise owner, you perhaps look forward to one of the most exciting periods in a dog owner’s life: raising a beautiful litter of puppies. That said, if you haven’t dealt with dog pregnancy before, it can also be stressful.

To help you plan better and know what to expect, we’ve put together all the essential information about bichon frise pregnancy including how many puppies you should expect, how to find out if your pooch is pregnant, and more.

How Long Are Bichons Frises Pregnant For?

Dogs are pregnant for only about 9 weeks, so it’s important to find out as soon as possible when your bichon frise is pregnant. Then, you can properly care for your pooch and the puppies.

All dogs, including bichons frises, are usually pregnant for 63 days after conception. In some cases, this could vary by a few days. However, knowing the exact time of conception is more difficult than it seems. This is because eggs are typically fertile for 2 days and the sperm has a lifespan of a few days, too. In other words, knowing the exact time of mating will not help you determine the length of pregnancy accurately.

Many breeders, though, opt for tests to find out the exact time of gestation. For instance, you can use find out the potential due date by using vaginal smears and/or blood tests. These measure the hormone levels, helping you have a more accurate potential due date.

How Many Puppies Can a Bichon Frise Have?

Bichons frises can birth a maximum of six puppies with an average of four. This depends on the size of your bichon, too. For instance, a very small pooch may birth from one to three puppies, while a bigger dog may be able to have five or six puppies at a time.

The best aspect of smaller litter size is that it is less likely to go through complications. However, it’s always recommended to care for your pooch during pregnancy and seek vet assistance, regardless of the size of your dog.

How Old Can a Bichon Frise Have Puppies?

For women, the fertile period stops halfway through their life expectancy, or around 40-50 years old. However, all animal species, including bichons frises, do not go through menopause, which means that they are essentially able to reproduce all of their life.

Bichon frise females go through the heat until their death, which means that, technically, all senior dogs are able to have puppies. However, just as expected, going through pregnancy at an older age (typically after 8-9 years) is associated with many risk factors that may endanger your pooch.

For instance, the dog might have a difficult pregnancy, require an emergency C-section, or even have stillbirths (one or even all puppies). Also, an older mother will feel very weak caring for her pups, or it may not be able to produce enough milk to feed them.

How Can You Tell If Your Bichon Frise Is Pregnant?

Just like for humans, there are several tests you can do to find out if your bichon frise is pregnant. In the first days, there may not be any symptoms, so these are highly recommended if you want to know if your bichon frise will be a mother.

All tests must be conducted by a veterinarian. One of the most accurate tests is the hormone test. The vet checks whether the dog produces “relaxin,” a hormone that is produced only during pregnancy, which makes it extremely accurate. However, your bichon frise must be pregnant for at least 4 weeks to have an accurate result.

Next, dog owners can opt for X-rays to find out if their dog is pregnant and how many puppies it has. The pups’ bones (skull and spine) will be visible only after 45 days, so you may want to wait for about 7 weeks to have an exact count of puppies.

Also, for dogs later in the gestation period, palpation is perhaps the cheapest option. As puppies develop, you can feel the sacks full of liquid forming around them. This will make your bichon frise have a flappy-looking belly, which is also often mistaken for putting on weight.

Finally, if you want a test that can be used early in the gestation period, ultrasounds are highly recommended. These can be conducted between 25 and 35 days. Some breeders opt for this type of test because it helps them find out if the bichon frise is pregnant, and if the fetuses are alive (by examining their heartbeats).

If you are not a breeder and you don’t plan to calculate their gestation period with high accuracy, there are numerous symptoms you can watch for to find out if your bichon is pregnant. However, these are less accurate than the tests above, and many dogs have no pregnancy symptoms in the first 21 days.

Most pregnant bichons frises will start having an increased appetite in their first month of pregnancy. Just like humans, they may experience morning sickness. Also, pregnant bichons frises will have enlarged nipples and, towards the end of the first month, you will notice clear vaginal discharge. Pregnant pooches will also be more affectionate towards you and may not be as active as before.

Pregnant bichons frises will start having obvious pregnancy signs during the second month. The appetite will increase considerably, they will put on weight (about 20%-50% more weight) and have a visibly larger abdomen. After 45 days, the appetite will start decreasing, while your pooch’s behavior will be very volatile. They will urinate more and, after about 50 days of gestation, you can see the puppies moving in the abdomen. After 58 days, your bichon frise will actively seek a suitable place (or nest) to give birth to the puppies.

How Often Can a Bichon Frise Get Pregnant?

Bichons frises can get pregnant whenever they go into heat. The frequency usually depends on the dog, but it may be twice or three times per year. When this happens, your pooch will have specific symptoms you can watch for, such as vaginal discharge, a swollen vulva, and affectionate or clingy behaviors.

However, even though your pooch can get pregnant two or three times per year, it doesn’t mean you should breed your dog every time it goes into heat. It’s important to keep in mind that pregnancy is a very difficult period for your dog, it stresses its body, and may lead to major complications. For your bichon frise’s health and well-being, you should not breed it more than three times during its whole life.

Also, if your dog is at a senior age (like 7-8 years) and never had puppies before, you should not breed it at all. If your pooch, at any age, has already had a difficult pregnancy or had any problems with the first litter, you should not breed your bichon frise again. In this case, spaying is the best method of contraception and helps you avoid putting your dog in unnecessary life-threatening danger.

Summary

All in all, bichons frises pregnancy lasts for about 63 days, although it is difficult to know the exact due date. If your pooch is pregnant, make sure you take it to a veterinarian and provide proper care throughout the gestation period.

Depending on your dog’s needs and vet’s recommendations, it may mean that you need to supplement the diet with more nutrients, provide more high-quality food, and check on your dog’s health throughout the whole pregnancy. Some affectionate dogs may not even want to give birth unless they are with their owner, so make sure you have plenty of time and offer your pregnant bichon frise lots of attention.