When Do You X-Ray a Pregnant Dog? All About X-Rays and Pregnancy

If you have mated your dog and they have been successfully impregnated, then that’s great news! Now, you’ll need to make sure that everything is prepared for a comfortable pregnancy and delivery. Fortunately, there are new medical technologies to help make a pregnant dog’s life easier, from the monitoring of her unborn puppies down to delivery day.

So if you need to know about the puppies, when do you X-ray a pregnant dog? Of course, it shouldn’t be too soon that they are undetected, so read on as I show you the optimum times to X-ray your dog and what to expect.

when do you x-ray a pregnant dog
Dog having ultrasound scan in vet office.

X-Rays Vs. Ultrasounds

Before anything else, you might be wondering: Why note get ultrasounds instead?

For those who aren’t familiar with the process, x-rays are actually different form ultrasounds. Ultrasounds are non-invasive ways to look at the puppies, with minimal risk of any conditions. It also helps learn the condition of the puppies and how many there are inside the mom. These are done within the first month of pregnancy and are best done to know about the number of puppies there are, as well as their heartbeat and overall vitals without affecting their current health.

However, for x-rays or radiographs, these are simpler and less expensive than ultrasound procedures, though it poses a risk to developing fetuses during early gestation. It helps in diagnosing pregnancy and gives an estimate of how many puppies there are. These procedures are best to find out how many puppies are there, the shape of the puppies, as well as their size and how they were formed to learn about what to expect upon delivery.

That’s why many dog owners would consider x-rays, as they are more cost-efficient and can still tell how many dogs to expect accurately. Is it safe? Yes, it’s completely safe, as long as you time the x-ray correctly to prevent any risks to the developing fetuses and the mother dog!

When Do You X-Ray a Pregnant Dog?

So with all that being said, when do you x-ray a pregnant dog?

Again, doing an x-ray procedure on a pregnant dog may have its risks, particularly on the developing fetuses. Furthermore, doing an x-ray too early may not give you the accurate count of puppies inside, so you need to time it correctly.

Skeletons won’t calcify until after 49 days of gestation, so don’t expect to visualize puppies in an x-ray if it was done way before that. If done during the first few weeks or the first month, chances are that you won’t be able to detect any puppies, or not have the accurate count. Furthermore, it’s best to do it only until after 49 days into the pregnancy to lessen the risk of any health issues from the radiation exposure.

X-ray of pregnant dog
X-ray of pregnant dog.

While it’s a controversial issue, it’s also recommended to do an x-ray procedure of the puppies a day or two before the expected delivery date. This is done to get an official count of the puppies, as well as learn the size and shape of each puppy and the way they are formed to know whether or not a natural or surgical delivery is required.

To answer your question, it’s recommended to ways until the puppies inside have reached a certain stage of development, at least after they are 45 days old inside the pregnant mom. This is actually the last stage of pregnancy, as the duration of pregnancies in dogs can range between 58 to 68 days.

Any Other Alternative?

Besides ultrasounds, there is one alternative to checking how many puppies are there to expect (but it won’t show any other details like vitals or shape of the puppies). Your veterinarian will be able to palpate the dog’s abdomen even as early as four weeks. However, this should be done by a professional as it requires delicate touches without harming the mom or developing puppies.

If you do choose to x-ray your pregnant dog, be sure to do so after 45 days and to also continue feeding them proper amounts of food with recommended nutrition for both the dog and her growing puppies. Some reports show homeopathic remedies, as well as food rich in seaweed and carotenoids, are helpful in reducing the radiation effects from x-ray procedures.

Check out this video to know what to expect during an x-ray procedure:

Wrapping It Up

One of the things you have to do when caring for a pregnant dog is to ensure that she and her puppies are healthy. Through monitoring with X-rays and ultrasounds, as well as proper medicines if required, your female dog can have a safe and healthy pregnancy and give birth successfully. Just be prepared for what to expect in the vet’s office, from the expenses to the procedure itself.

I hope that this article answered your question, “when do you X-ray a pregnant dog?” Now that you’re familiar with the answer, start preparing for your pregnant dog now.

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