Motherhood in dogs and cats

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Very often, people have seen the maternity of female dogs or cats since they have a short gestation process, and this allows them to have several pregnancies in a year. But beyond seeing pregnant dogs or cats, how much is known about this process? in most cases not much.

Female dogs and cats become sexually mature at six months, depending on the breed and size can vary, ovulation in female dogs is usually every six months and can last from 7 to 9 days, and the duration of heat is between 15 to 18 days.  In cats it is a little different because they are seasonally polyestrous, this means that they cycle constantly every 4 to 30 days if they are exposed to 14 hours of light, this occurs in countries with seasons, in tropical countries times tend to change, ovulation is induced by copulation, but can also be induced by other females in heat among other factors (Johnson et al 1996).  Female dogs and cats produce several eggs in their fertile stage, it is not like the human that normally produces only one, that is why they have from 2 to 10 dogs depending on the size, the same happens in the case of cats, another important fact is that in a litter there can be several fathers, this happens because there are several eggs available and if they have copulation with several males in a short period of time, they can have dogs or cats of different fathers (sánchez & arias 2017).

The gestation stage in cats usually lasts from 58 to 67 days and in  dogs from 58 to 68 days, within this stage they need a lot of energy and good nutrition, since it is a stage in which the fetuses demand many nutrients, when a female dog or cat is on the street and they are pregnant, they have very difficult situations because they do not have adequate food and neither does the environment.  This results in them having abortions, abandoning their offspring or the offspring having serious health problems and not surviving, in this aspect pregnancies in women are not very different.

It is important to clarify that female dogs and cats have hormones and this makes them feel things similar to those experienced by women in a pregnancy, they feel mood swings, tiredness among other emotions, they prepare for the arrival of their offspring, prepare the places , first that it is safe and second that it is clean, in these two species there is no care coming from the male parent, this occurs in most species of mammals, they only contribute genetically (sánchez & arias 2017).

 Another fact is that females dogs that have not been sterilized usually suffer from psychological pregnancies which occur after heat, what happens is that due to a hormonal load, dogs think they are going through a pregnancy and have many pregnancy symptoms. It is said this is because of their ancestors, when a female of the herd had young puppies, other females used to have pseudo-gestations in order to collaborate with the biological mother and thus multiplying the puppies chances of surviving.

 After reading this information, it can be inferred that in cases of pregnancy, female dogs and cats experience a maternity similar to that of women and need care and attention. It is important that if they see a female dog or cat in pregnancy and in a street situation, provide the help you need and then sterilize them.

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  •  Johnson,S,M.Root,P.Olson.1996.ovarian and testicular function in the domestic cat: clinical management of spontaneous reproductive disease.animal reprod.sci.42:261-274.


  •  Sanchez,A.Arias,F.  Gestational biology and prediction of parturition in the bitch.  Veterinary research journal of Peru.  Scielo.

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