If you have a pregnant American Bully, you need to know exactly how to best care for your furry friend.
From knowing the right types of food to feed your dog to learning what to expect all throughout the weeks of pregnancy, you are the primary caregiver for your dog during an important time in her life.
Regardless of whether you have bred your American Bully or if your dog has become pregnant unexpectedly, you need to know what to do.
We have compiled all of the important information about American Bully pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know.
How Long Is An American Bully Pregnant For?
American Bullies are pregnant for the same amount of time that most dogs are on average, which is about 63 days.
It is just an estimate as there can be some give and take with the actual amount of time that an American Bully will be pregnant.
The estimate can be even harder to make if you do not know the exact date of conception with your dog. If it was a planned situation with breeders, then the date can be easier to figure out.
If it was more of a random occurrence, you will have to go off of the date that is supplied by your veterinarian.
American Bully Pregnancy Stages
The first week of pregnancy is pretty uneventful and unless you know that your dog might be pregnant, it is likely to pass by without you even knowing that it happened.
There is no evidence physically, so if you were breeding your dog and know a date of conception, you still cannot be sure in the first week that anything is actually happening.
The first week is when the eggs are fertilized and things begin to move in a very small, internal kind of way. Your dog should not experience any behavioural changes at this point either as the hormones will not be affecting her mood yet.
Week 2 & 3
It is during the second and third weeks of pregnancy that things will begin to change for your American Bully.
Since pregnancy is so much shorter with dogs than it is for humans, the changes in early pregnancy will happen quite a bit sooner than they do with humans.
In the second week, the egg or eggs that were fertilized in the first week will attach itself to the lining of the dog’s uterus, also known as the endometrium.
This is also the time when the hormones that were not affecting your dog in the first week will really begin to reveal themselves.
In the third week, you likely will see your American Bully’s nipples begin to increase in size and change in color. The color change does not happen for every dog, but it is something to look out for. You might even see your dog’s abdomen begin to swell.
During the fourth week of pregnancy, your dog will get a bigger surge of hormones and she will begin to exhibit some behavioural changes at this point.
Remember that the hormones are there to help her body grow healthy puppies, but they do have a price.
As is the case with humans, dogs can experience morning sickness due to the surge in hormones. She might be less willing to eat food at this point, due to the nausea, but she will likely be drinking a lot more water and need to go outside to urinate more often.
It is also during this week that you will be able to take your dog to your vet to have the pregnancy confirmed via ultrasound.
As there are few options to confirm a pregnancy in dogs, ultrasound is one of the best. The ultrasound will also reveal how many puppies you can expect.
Week 5 & 6
During week 5, your American Bully’s abdomen will begin to really show that she is pregnant. After the surge of hormones that she experienced during week 4, she is going to be left very hungry and in need of a lot more access to food.
In fact, dogs can increase their weight as much as 20% to 50% at this point in pregnancy, so don’t be shocked if your dog suddenly plumps out really quickly.
At 6 weeks, you will notice that your American Bully is a lot more uncomfortable than she was before. She will be less interested in exercise and will likely be more lethargic.
This is the point when moodiness might set in as well, so give her the space that she needs. On a more positive note, your vet should be able to hear the heartbeats of the puppies using a stethoscope, monitoring their growth and health.
As your dog reaches week 7 of her pregnancy, she will start to exhibit a lot more behavioural shifts. Her discomfort is only going to increase, which may make her moody or sullen, but it also might make her clingier than she was before as well.
Her abdomen will be much larger and firmer than it was in previous weeks as well, so there will be no mistaking her approaching her due date.
You might notice some vaginal discharge from your dog as well, but this is normal and nothing to worry about. Some dogs clean it up quickly, so you may see nothing.
At week 8 of pregnancy, your American Bully will be lethargic and might even start to lose her appetite. The puppies are large now and need a lot of nutrition, but because the puppies are large, they will be pressing against her stomach and other internal organs, making eating uncomfortable.
Make sure your dog has plenty of access to water to stay hydrated. If it seems like your dog is not eating as much as she should, you should check in with your vet.
You should also be able to see the puppies wiggling around under the skin of your dog as they reposition themselves.
In your dog’s last week of pregnancy, your dog’s body should be getting ready to deliver the puppies. Your dog will likely be restless and be looking for a safe location to give birth.
You can supply a comfortable spot to help her out. You should keep your home as quiet and calm at this point as well, allowing your dog to feel like she can safely deliver her puppies into your home.
Your American Bully is also likely to be even clingier than before, so supply your dog with all of the comfort that she needs to feel safe.
American Bully Pregnancy Signs
Enlarged Or Discoloured Nipples
Another big indicator for pregnancy in American Bullies has to do with the appearance of your dog’s nipples. Early in pregnancy, your dog’s nipples are likely to become more noticeable and rounder than they are normally.
They might even darken in color as the blood flow to the nipples increases. In the later part of pregnancy, the nipples will increase in size even further as your dog’s body prepares for the expected puppies.
You might even notice some milk leaking out in the last couple of weeks, which is totally normal. It’s just your dog’s body preparing itself.
Unless you know already that your American Bully is pregnant, one of the first symptoms that you might notice in your dog is behavioural changes.
The behaviour differences will vary from dog to dog, just like it does with humans. Some dogs look to their humans for comfort and affection, acting clingy.
Other dogs will isolate themselves and look for calm and quiet. This is why if you have small children, you need to keep them away from your pregnant American Bully. She is not responsible for her grumpiness and could lash out. Some dogs will act depressed instead, so you never know.
Changes In Appetite
As we mentioned above in the breakdown of the weeks of canine pregnancy, you will see a lot of different appetite changes during your pup’s pregnancy.
Depending on where she is at in pregnancy and the hormones that she is dealing with, your dog will go back and forth between being really hungry and nauseous.
She might even vomit at times during the pregnancy as she deals with morning sickness. When her hormones back off, she will compensate for the lost calories by eating voraciously.
Even though appetite changes are normal, if your dog is not eating at all, you should definitely check in with your vet.
Weight Gain & Enlarged Abdomen
The most obviously sign that your dog might be pregnant is if she suddenly starts to put on weight and you notice that her abdomen has begun to well.
If your Bully is normally a healthy weight, you should be able to see her waist. When an American Bully gets pregnant, the waist will expand, and not be as defined as it once was.
Naturally, sudden weight gain could be due to other things, so it is still a good idea to confirm with your vet. If your Bully is pregnant, she will continue to gain weight until the birth.
How To Confirm That My American Bully Is Pregnant
There are only a couple of ways to determine whether a dog is pregnant. While humans can easily buy a home pregnancy test, dogs cannot do that and there isn’t such a thing in existence for them.
An ultrasound can be performed at 4 weeks of pregnancy, confirming the pregnancy itself as well as the amount of puppies that your dog is carrying.
It can be expensive, running from $300 to $500, but is generally non-invasive, minus your dog having her abdomen shaved in order to properly do the reading. Remember not to just have one done; they will not be accurate if done too early.
Another way to confirm a pregnancy with your American Bully is to have a blood sample taken. Again, like with ultrasounds, if this is done too early, the results will not be accurate.
A blood test can only be performed at 5 weeks or later in the pregnancy. If you consider that the pregnancy will only last 9 weeks, it might not be completely worth it if there are other indications to confirm.
The most traditional method of confirming your dog’s pregnancy is through palpation. This is where the vet will gently press on your dog’s abdomen with his or her fingers to confirm the presence of puppies in the uterus.
This can be done effectively between 3 and 5 weeks of pregnancy, but will not be able to tell you the amount of puppies that will be born. It would not be wise to attempt this on your own as you could injure a puppy.
Caring For A Pregnant American Bully
Taking care of your American Bully while she is pregnant is so essential for her well-being. This can mean a lot of different things.
The first is that your American Bully will need to be under the care of a vet to ensure the puppies are doing well and that your dog has what she needs to have a healthy pregnancy.
You will want to give her access to the best food possible to ensure a safe pregnancy as well. Finally, make sure that your dog has a nice, calming environment. Do not have any upheavals or stress if you can avoid it.
How Do American Bullies Give Birth?
When it comes to giving birth, a natural birth is the most ideal. This is a vaginal birth, where the puppies all exit, without medical intervention, through the birth canal. A natural birth is a slow process, however, and it can actually take a couple of days to achieve.
Your American Bully will start feeling labour symptoms a day or two before the actual birth.
She will likely start to roam around for a place to give birth, so make sure something is already set up for her. When the puppies do start coming, they should come at about an hour or so apart.
As is the case with humans, there are some situations where it is simply not safe for the dog to deliver naturally or some kind of medical emergency happens that requires the puppies to be born immediately.
This has to be handled by your veterinarian. It is an invasive surgical procedure where an incision is made into the uterus directly, through your dog’s abdomen, to physically pull the puppies out.
This is not usually a planned procedure, unless there is a problem that is already known. This might be recommended if it has been too long since your dog started labour or too long in between puppy births.
How Many Puppies Does An American Bully Have On Average?
The American Bully breed can be a little bit tricky to get a solid handle on, because it is a combination of a couple of different breeds.
So, if you are wondering what the average litter size is, the answer is that they can have anywhere from 4 to 8 puppies on average.
The amount that your dog actually has will have more to do with the makeup of the dog that she is being bred with. You can expect more than one puppy, but do not need to worry that your dog is going to have as many puppies as labs do.
Ultimately, when you are dealing with a pregnant dog, the best thing that you can do is consult with your vet. Your vet will be your voice of reason and have all of the answers to any question about your dog that you might have.
Most of the care that your dog needs is simple, including a comfortable place to rest, plenty of food, and good medical care.
Just be patient with your furry friend as she goes through this major event as she is going to experience a large amount of fluctuations in comfort and hormones and really will want to be with you.