Looking after your canine companion can be a demanding job at the best of times, and this is why everyone is encouraged to give plenty of thought to the prospect of adding a pooch to the family.
Yet the big decisions don't stop once you've brought a pup into the household, as those who pick up a female mutt may face the prospect that she falls pregnant if they don't have her neutered.
While this can be an exciting time as you prepare to welcome a litter, it's vital that you provide your canine companion with all the help she needs to enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
This means making sure she is as comfortable as possible with all the necessary bedding and blankets, but there are plenty of other things to take into consideration too.
Firstly it's important to remember that a pregnant pooch won't be able to get by on standard dog food, as a diet with added nutrients and higher energy values is essential to keeping your bitch fit and strong.
Not only will this benefit the pups she is carrying, but it will also ensure she still has the enthusiasm for exercise and isn't constantly feeling tired.
Indeed, it's important for a pregnant canine to keep up her strength, and regular walks will help to maintain her fitness and boost the development of her pups.
But despite this, expectant pooches should not be exposed to intensive training, showing or obedience lessons as these could all prove too stressful.
Another thing to think about is vaccinations, as if your bitch is up to date with her jabs then she'll be able to pass immunity onto her puppies with the first batch of milk she produces.
And if you have any doubts over your pregnant dog's health then it's always a good idea to speak to your vet who will be able to offer some expert advice on how to care for her appropriately.
Written by: Adrian