Despite their frail-looking size and appearance, Chihuahuas can mate naturally. However, if you have been trying to breed your Chihuahuas without artificial insemination, it’s not always clear whether the mating has been successful and whether they are pregnant yet.
But there are some early pregnancy signs you check for which will help you to understand if your Chihuahua is pregnant or not. These include the early signs of gestation, plus each stage of a Chihuahua pregnancy outlined in brief – all of which are lower down the page.
What are the early signs if your Chihuahua is pregnant?
Some of the easiest ways you can know if your Chihuahua is pregnant is by ticking the following points off this checklist:
- Does your Chihuahua have a decreased appetite?
- Does your Chihuahua seem tired and less active?
- Does your Chihuahua have swollen nipples?
- Does your Chihuahua have a swollen belly (which can happen after just 14 days)?
Even during the first 20 to 30 days, a vet could feel your dog’s belly and might be able to say whether she is pregnant or not.
None of the methods above are particularly scientific, so that the accuracy can be all over the place. With that in mind, below are the best ways to tell if your Chihuahua is pregnant with more certainty.
How to tell if a Chihuahua is pregnant more accurately
There are two fail-safe tests you can get a vet to use that will 100% tell you if your Chihuahua is pregnant or not.
1. Chihuahua ultrasound 25 days after mating
A Chihuahua ultrasound scan is the quickest way to check if your planned mating and conception worked. Vets recommend you do this pregnancy test as early as 21 days after the mating or artificial insemination occurred – but it will be best if you can wait at least 25 days.
An ultrasound is non-invasive and painless but can be scary for timid dogs. The vet will need to shave a little hair away from your Chihuahua’s belly; this might stress her out a little due to the noise.
A Chihuahua ultrasound procedure can cost up to 500 dollars, which in the UK money currently converts to around 380 pounds. It’s not cheap, so you might want to wait for the following method.
2. Blood test 5 weeks after mating
If you tried to breed your Chihuahua 5 weeks ago or more, you can also pay for a blood test. The blood sample will be checked for pregnancy hormones and will be a lot cheaper than an ultrasound.
It’s essential to not do this test less than five weeks after mating because the results can be harmful, even with a Chihuahua in the early stages of pregnancy.
Which Chihuahua pregnancy test is more reliable?
For the most accurate pregnancy test, choose the ultrasound after at least 25 days since mating. As well as being more precise in telling if your Chihuahua is pregnant, you will also be able to see the puppies on the screen and scans… an exciting time!
While you can see the puppies, you still might not be able to tell precisely how many there are at the early stages, as the body shapes can overlap. Only an X-ray further down the line where the vet can count skulls will give you an accurate number on the litter size.
An X-ray can be performed after 45 days of pregnancy and will let the vet have a better look at how the puppies are developing in the womb.
As well as the skull count, your vet will also be able to see how large the puppy heads are, indicating whether natural birth or C-section is preferable (for safety reasons).
Chihuahua pregnancy stages
Once you know if your Chihuahua is pregnant, you must prepare. Here’s what to expect with each stage of the pregnancy, with tips on how you can help her out.
Stage 1: the first month
There’s not much going on visually during the first month of a Chihuahua pregnancy, and you might not even know your Chihuahua is pregnant without an expensive ultrasound.
However, a lot is going on internally, both physically and mentally:
- After seven days: the embryos travel to the uterine horns.
- After 16 days: the seeds are embedded into the uterus lining.
- After 22 days: fetuses start to take shape.
- After 29 days: vets can detect heartbeats with an ultrasound.
Towards the end of month one, you might start to see some subtle changes in your pregnant Chihuahua, such as:
- Her appetite will start picking back up, taking on board more calories.
- Her nipples will have become enlarged.
- She can show more affection towards the owner can increase.
- She could have a clear vaginal discharge during the fourth week.
- She might start to be less active and more sedentary.
- She could even show signs of canine morning sickness.
Not all Chihuahuas will exhibit the pregnancy signs listed above, and they can even be exhibited during a phantom pregnancy – yes, this can happen!
Stage 2: the second month
Your Chihuahua’s pregnancy is progressing very quickly now, as the growing fetuses look more like puppies. Here’s what you can expect:
- After 35 days: the fetuses develop toes and eyelids.
- After 40 days: the fetuses develop claws.
- After 50 days: the fetuses develop a skeleton, and the coat starts to form.
- After 50 days: vets can do an x-ray to tell how many puppies are coming.
- After 58 days: your pregnant Chihuahua will start her nesting behavior.
Changes in your Chihuahua’s appearance and behavior won’t be as subtle now, with some undeniable signs of pregnancy, including:
- She will noticeably eat more (but this will decrease again around day 45).
- She will show apparent weight again, perhaps as much as 50%.
- She will be urinating more regularly.
- She will have a clear vaginal discharge.
- Her stomach will get firmer by day 50.
- You might see the puppies moving under her belly skin by day 50.
Stage 3: the third month
She will start getting ready to have her puppies in the third month. On average, they will end up getting into position before arriving on the 63rd day. Here’s what you can expect in month 3:
- After 58 days: the puppies are almost fully developed and move into the birth canal.
- After 62 days: she will lose her appetite completely, become agitated, and even appear slimmer as the puppies move into position.
- On average, after 63 days: your pregnant Chihuahua will give birth.
How to prepare for a Chihuahua pregnancy
Your Chihuahua will be pregnant for between 58 and 68 days, with the average delivery date after 63 days. Most of her physical changes will happen during the last 14 days before giving birth.
As an owner (or breeder), there are some ways in which you can help her have as comfortable a pregnancy as possible such as:
- Diet: after 30 days, you can feed her kibble for the puppies. Speak to your vet about a specific diet plan.
- Exercise: do not overdo it as she will not have as much energy and could harm her unborn puppies.
- Nesting: she will want to create a nest, and you can help her with this by finding a safe and comfortable place for her in the home.
When it’s time to give birth, your Chihuahua can start to look agitated, pawing at her nest, walking back and forwards to it, and then panting before settling down.
It can take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours to see the first puppy coming through.
Once a Chihuahua puppy comes out, the mother will bite at the sack and lick the new arrival to start his breathing off. If she cannot do this or is too slow, you might need help.
If the puppy does not get onto the mother’s teat, you can place it on there to help to aid immediate feeding.
Natural birth vs. C-section
Please consult with your vet on which method he recommends. Sometimes this will depend on how many puppies she is having. If she is only having a couple of puppies, then they will be bigger and could be harder to give birth to, meaning a C-section is chosen.
If a Caesarean is planned for your Chihuahua, it could cost between $640 and 1,300 dollars (£500 and £1,000). There will always be a risk with any surgery.
Now that you know if your Chihuahua is pregnant, you need to get prepared… get ready for the ride, as it’s going to be amazing!
If you find out that your Chihuahua is pregnant, please get in touch; the readers and I would love to see some photos of the new puppies!