Excited to see your Maltese become a mama? It’s an exciting adventure, that’s for sure, and it’s ultra adorable. Here’s what you can expect with her pregnancy from start to finish, and all of the exciting parts in between!
A Maltese is pregnant for 65 days, or, 9 weeks. Sometimes, she can give birth prematurely at 8 weeks, though, so you’ll want to be on puppy watch starting from week 8! Her pregnancy is considered standard with other dog breeds. Below, you’ll learn about how to get your Maltese pregnant, how to tell if your Maltese is pregnant, labor signs, and tips to keep in mind during her pregnancy.
How to get a Maltese pregnant
For a Maltese to get pregnant, she’ll need to spend time with a stud during the estrus stage of her cycle. She should also be at least a year old and have gone through several what cycles successfully.
As a responsible pet parent or breeder, you’ll know to make sure, too, that you’ve picked the right stud to increase her chances!
How to tell if my Maltese is pregnant
Just like humans, a Maltese can have a false pregnancy. This is when her body starts to go through the beginning stages of pregnancy (more on those in a bit), but then everything goes back to normal after only a few weeks.
Signs of a real pregnancy include mating at the right time, and slight changes in her body for the first few weeks (we’ll go over that in more detail below). However, the best way to know for sure if your Maltese is pregnant is to take her to a vet for a definitive test!
Best age to breed a Maltese
Since pregnancy is the key, you’ll want to wait until she is at least 2 years old to get pregnant for the best results. However, she is physically capable of getting pregnant anywhere from 4 months up to 6 years+, depending on genetics.
Maltese labor signs
If this is your first time having a pregnant Maltese (how exciting!) then you’ll want to prepare yourself for delivery by watching the following signs:
- Increased nesting and restlessness
- A drop in temperature
- A self-induced fast
Increased nesting and restlessness
Your mama-to-be wants to make sure her space is just perfect so she’ll start nesting by moving blankets and pillows around until everything is just right. She’ll also start to go back and forth between extreme restlessness such as pacing, and lethargy in her nest.
A drop in temperature
One of the best physiological signs she is ready to go into labor is that her temperature will drop below 100 degrees F (37.7 degrees C). This is considered completely normal and it means that you’ll have puppies within 24 hours!
A self-induced fast
Since she’s going to be delivering pups, mom is not going to be interested in eating. She’ll go on a fast of her own volition and may simply enjoy some water for several hours before and after. Don’t force her to eat!
How long does the Maltese labor take?
It will vary depending on her age, how many puppies that she has and her stress level, physically speaking. Sometimes she can pause her labor to rest between deliveries. However, the general number is about 12 hours at the longest. If it takes longer, you may want to consult with your vet to make sure that she and her puppies are all okay.
Maltese pregnancy stages and calendar
Now for the step-by-step stages and calendar for your Maltese’s pregnancy! Over the 9 weeks, each week is going to be a different milestone (sort of like months are in a human pregnancy).
This is the egg fertilization week. This would be considered the very first week because the stud would impregnate her. You won’t be able to tell at this stage that she is pregnant because she’ll act totally normal!
In this stage, the fertilized embryos will make the move to the uterus and will start the beginnings of development. You won’t be able to notice any visible signs, yet.
This is where the changes may start to show up. As the fetuses begin to grow and develop, you’ll find she might be a bit more hungry than usual. At this stage, the puppies are so small that they wouldn’t be detectable in her tummy.
The fetuses have grown quite a bit over the past week, and professionals (such as vets or experienced breeders) may be able to feel the beginnings of them in her tummy! As far as signs for you to watch for, she may have a bit of clear discharge and her nipples may start to swell.
This is also a busy week of development, as the puppies start to grow their claws, feet, and whiskers. They also get their sexes, so they’ll be able to be detected in number as well as gender using an ultrasound. During this week, mom will start to visibly gain weight.
This is when mom really gets to work. As her puppies grow, she’ll start to need extra food. You can mix in puppy food with her normal kibble, too. Her nipples can get larger and darker as she gets closer. She’ll also start to nest in her bed.
Her puppies are now formed and are simply growing stronger in her tummy. As this happens, the fur on her stomach may start to fall out in preparation for birth. She’ll be hungry, so make sure that she gets extra food (though make sure it’s for pregnant moms rather than puppy food at this stage).
Consider this your baby watch notice. She’ll want to start preparing for her puppies’ arrival and she could go into labor from this week, onward. You’ll be able to detect some movement in her belly area, too, if you watch carefully!
The last week of her pregnancy is where she’ll get really serious about nesting and you may notice her appetite start to decrease as she prepares herself for birth.
Can a Maltese give birth naturally?
A Maltese can give birth naturally, yes. For best results and safety, of course, you’ll want to make sure she is at least 2 years old and in good health throughout her pregnancy (more on that next).
If you are worried about complications, and this is her (and your) first time, you can always have an experienced vet on-call or on-scene to help keep an eye on her during delivery.
How to take care of a pregnant Maltese
To make sure that her delivery goes smoothly, you’ll want to prioritize proper care of her throughout her entire pregnancy so that everyone stays safe and sound from start to finish. Here are some tips to help you out with that.
Have a vet check her over
Once you know she is pregnant, have a vet confirm it. From there, they’ll be able to address her diet, weight gain, and any other physical needs that she may have as her pregnancy progresses. A vet is experienced with this and can be a great help for first-time pet grandparents!
Give her the right food
She’ll start to eat more, and may need to switch to a pregnancy food or have puppy food worked into her diet, whichever your vet recommends. Make sure that you adjust her diet and portions as needed for her hard-working body.
On that same line of thought, access to lots of fresh, clean water is also important, so make sure that’s a priority, too!
Watch her activity level
While staying active during pregnancy is important, you will also want to make sure that she doesn’t hurt herself and injure her puppies or compromise her pregnancy. Watch out for excessive running, aggressive play, jumping, etc. All of these things can be a little taxing on mama-to-be.
Allow her to nest
This is a bit of an overstatement, but we’ve got to say it: mama knows best. While most mamas will start to nest around week 7, some may start early. Many will drag blankets and pillows around, sometimes multiple times to get it just right. This is a biological process and shouldn’t be interrupted or interfered with! If she decides to have her puppies in the middle of the kitchen floor, that’s where it’s going to happen and no amount of rearranging her nest is going to change that.
Throughout the entire pregnancy, labor, and the first few days after birth, be extra cautious to keep an eye on her. Watch her appetite, exercise level, and her overall comfort level to make sure she is properly supported as her body recovers. This will help keep everyone safe and healthy!
Pregnancy is exciting and every week is a fun adventure for pet parents! All that’s left, now, is to watch it all happen for your own Maltese!