Despite their frail looking size and appearance, it is possible for Chihuahuas to 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 (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.
Handy Hint: Whilst it’s possible to feel puppies moving in the belly of a pregnant dog, it’s not often until 5 or 6 weeks into the pregnancy that this is really that common.
None of the methods above are particularly scientific, and so the accuracy can be all over the place. With that in mind, below are the best ways that you can 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
This is the quickest way to check if your planned mating and conception worked; a Chihuahua ultrasound scan. Vets recommend you do this pregnancy test as early as 21 days after the mating or artificial insemination occurred – but will be best if you can wait at least 25 days.
An ultrasound is non-invasive and painless but can be a bit 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 bit due to the noise.
A Chihuahua ultrasound procedure can cost up to $500 dollars, which in UK money currently converts to around £380 pounds. It’s not cheap, so you might want to wait for the next 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 important to not do this test less than 5 weeks after mating because the results can come up as being negative, even with a Chihuahua who is 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 a more accurate of telling if your Chihuahua is pregnant, you will also be able to see the puppies on the screen and scans… an exciting time!
Whilst you can see the puppies, you still might not be able to tell exactly how many there are in 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.
Did You Know? Chihuahuas will have 3 puppies on average in each litter, but the litter sizes can increase as the mother gets older. To find out more, read this guide to Chihuahua litter sizes.
An X-ray can be performed after 45 days of pregnancy and will let the vet have a far 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, giving an indication on whether a natural birth or C-section is preferable (for safety reasons).
Chihuahua pregnancy stages
Once you know if your Chihuahua is pregnant, you will need to get prepared. 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 a lot going on visually during the first month of a Chihuahua pregnancy. You might not even know your Chihuahua is pregnant without an expensive ultrasound.
However, there is a lot going on internally, both physically and mentally:
- After 7 days: the embryos travel to the uterine horns.
- After 16 days: the embryos embed 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 now start to pick 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 (here are more reasons for throwing up).
Not all Chihuahuas will exhibit the pregnancy signs listed above, and in fact, they can even be exhibited during a phantom pregnancy – yes, this really can happen!
Stage 2: the second month
Your Chihuahua’s pregnancy is progressing very quickly now, as the growing fetuses start to actually 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 very obvious signs of pregnancy including:
- She will noticeably be eating more (but this will decrease again around day 45).
- She will show obvious 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
In the third month, she will start getting ready to have her puppies. They will end up getting into position before arriving on the 63rd day on average. 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 being after 63 days. Most of her physical changes will actually happen during the last 14 days before she gives 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 over-do 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, including pawing at her nest, walking back and forwards to it, and then panting before settling down.
It can then take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours before you 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 is unable to do this, or too slow, you might need to help out.
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
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 too, 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 GBP). There will always be a risk with any type of 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, then please do get in touch, as me and the readers would love to see some photos of the new puppies!
You might also like…
I frequently write about Chihuahuas, and here’s some of my more recent content:
- This is how long Chihuahuas are pregnant for in months and days
- How old are Chihuahua puppies when they open their eyes?
- How old are Chihuahua puppies when they lose their teeth?
Image in header from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/chihuahua-dog-portrait-head-eyes-4018429/