What Are the Characteristics of a Shih Tzu's Pregnancy?

A pregnant female Shih Tzu displays marked changes in behavior and appearance, her nipples become swollen and hard, her vulva remains swollen after heat and her belly grows larger, states All Shih Tzu. She may also show signs of nesting.

While the first two weeks of pregnancy can proceed as normal, All Shih Tzu recommends that after week three, a pregnant Shih Tzu moderate her activity. Walks are allowed, but she must not jump and wrestle with other dogs. Her appetite is likely to increase, and it is helpful to switch to puppy food that is higher in fat. Failing that, supplementing her regular food with vitamins and minerals ensures that both she and her pups remain healthy.

Shih Tzus average a litter size of five or six puppies, which All Shih Tzu states is unusually large for a toy breed. Their litters can be as small as three or as large as 10.

Like other dogs, Shih Tzus carry for nine weeks, according to All Shih Tzu; however, some Shih Tzus may go into premature labor as early as day 58. On the other end of the spectrum, some Shih Tzus may experience difficulty giving birth and need to have labor induced by day 70.