If you chose a female German shepherd, and now it is pregnant, you are probably wondering how many puppies she can give you and how should you be prepared for this stage of your friend’s life.
Well, you have to come to the right place. This article will answer your questions. Let’s get into it.
How Many Puppies Can A German Shepherd Have?
The average litter size of a German shepherd is 8 puppies per litter, although they can have between 1 to 15 puppies in a litter, with the highest number so far recorded being 17 puppies in a litter.
This is due to the fact that the German shepherd is a large breed and as such the ovaries are able to produce more eggs while the uterus is big enough to harbour many puppies.
What Factors Affect The Number Of Puppies My GSD Can Have?
- The size of your female dog is a huge factor in how many puppies she can carry. This is not about her weight but her body structure, as a larger dog will produce more puppies than a smaller dog. Although the German shepherd is a large breed dog, some dogs are bigger than others, and this determines how many puppies the body can carry.
- Once your female German shepherd becomes pregnant, her diet most certainly must change. There are recommended diets that must be fed to a pregnant GSD to ensure the health of both the puppies and the mother dog.
Without the proper nutrients, some puppies might die, reducing the number of puppies to be delivered. Protein is one essential nutrient that should be in your pregnant dog’s food.
It is recommended that protein makes up between 29% and 32% of your female shepherd’s food. Some will argue that this is puppy standard food. Yes, it is! Yet, that is the more reason she needs to be fed that, to strengthen her and her puppies especially.
Fatty acids are also important, as dogs with lower levels of serum glucose in their amniotic fluid tend to have smaller litter sizes. You should thus feed your pregnant shepherd diets that are high in omega fatty acids.
- The ages of the parent dogs are also vital to how many puppies will be delivered. For female GSD, breeding should be between ages 2 and 5. These are ideal periods, and you can be assured of many puppies. Once your dog gets as old as 7 years, the number of puppies is sure to reduce.
This is the same for male dogs, as their sperm counts reduce with age. Thus, between 2 and 5 years are the best while at 7 years, you cannot be assured of that many puppies.
- The health status of your female dog plays a significant role in how many puppies she can give you and if she’ll be able to give birth safely by herself. Before breeding her, you should take her to your vet for pre-breeding checks to ascertain if she’s indeed ready to have puppies.
- The puppies’ genetics also determines whether they will make it out alive. One of the causes usually associated with genetics is lethal chromosome death, which occurs when certain genetic conditions mean that the puppy grows improperly and never makes it to birth, dying in the womb.
This is usually the case with purebred dogs because they inherit traits from a smaller genetic pool and end up with more genetic abnormalities than mixed-breed dogs.
Most purebred dogs, like the German shepherd, often experience neonatal mortality as the chances of them inheriting something harmful is high, due to the fact that there are often fewer genes for them to inherit.
How Can I Prepare For My German Shepherd’s Birth?
Although German shepherds are self-sufficient during the pregnancy and the birthing process, it is important to provide some things to make it easier for your shepherd friend.
Now, when your GSD is giving birth, you should give it space to prevent her from feeling frustrated as this can harm the process.
Once you notice that your dog is in labour, you should provide a whelping box with a heating pad or a heating lamp to keep the puppies warm, as they cannot regulate their own body temperature at that stage.
You should comfortably place the heating pads under the blanket or towel on which the puppies lie while placing the lamp a bit far from them, so they don’t get burned.
After Birth, What Next?
Respecting the birth moment and the initial few hours when your dog and the puppies are together is crucial. Due to their keen sense of smell, dogs should not be bathed just after giving birth because doing so could confuse the newborns.
The dog basket can be cleaned thoroughly by rubbing it with a moist cloth that has been dipped in warm water. After drying it with some towels, give it back to the puppies.
Your female shepherd won’t feel like eating for the first 12 hours, but it’s crucial you provide her with enough fresh water to stay hydrated. The dog has to have access to wholesome food when its appetite returns.
Before they are 8 weeks old, German Shepherd puppies shouldn’t be taken away from their mother. Their growth and learning may be impacted by this. It is advised to hold off on finding them a new home until they are 10 weeks old.
Life Stages Of A German Shepherd Dog
There are 5 life stages of a German shepherd dog and these are as follows;
The Puppy Stage: This is when the dog is less than 6 years old and has not yet reached puberty. We can say the dog is a juvenile.
The Junior Stage: This is between 6 and 12 months old. It is considered the canine version of a human teenager.
The Adult Stage: Between 1 and 7 years old, you can consider your German shepherd an adult dog. At this stage, your dog is all grown and can be said to be a middle-aged dog.
The Senior Stage: A senior dog is an older dog that has reached the final quarter of its life expectancy. Since a German Shepherd has a life expectancy between 12 and 14 years, it will enter its senior years when it is between nine and 10.5 years old.
The Geriatric Stage: A geriatric dog is one that has reached the end of its stated life expectancy – and is still going strong. It’s when your German shepherd is able to make it to 15 years.
Owning a GSD can be comforting given their loyal, protective and admirable nature. Female German shepherds carry these traits into childbirth and as such know what to do during and after birth. That is how independent they can be.
Yet, if you want more puppies and also ways to ensure a safe delivery for your dog, simply follow the guidelines in this article and you and your lovely shepherd friend will not regret it.
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