There have been many times over the years when a new person will come to the forum in a panic, with a dog (bitch) who is expecting or having pups. Many times they are in PANIC MODE because they have no idea of what to expect:
They might have no idea on gestation/or how long a bitch is pregnant or what the normal length of pregnancy might be for a dog.
They might not be certain of when the pregnancy occurred, so donít know what to look for in the way of signs of labor.
They have no idea of what a normal length of time between pups might be.
They arenít sure of what to do to help the bitch safely deliver her pups or how to care for the pups as they are born.
They arenít clear on the danger signs or when itís time to get to the vet or emergency vet ASAP.
While there are members who are more than willing to lend a helping hand and useful advice based on their experience, this thread is for those who may need help when there is no one around with helpful, safe advice.
It is also an excellent resource for those who may hesitate to ask for help.
Here are some helpful suggestions, books and links provided by our members.
Please remember, NO advice provided over the internet can replace the care and experience of your vet! Please make sure that, even if everything goes smoothly, ALWAYS follow up with a vet visit for both mom and pups.
Helpful book for those who have time before the litter arrives BREEDING A LITTER The Complete Book of Prenatal and Postnatal Care by Beth J. Finder Harris. It can be purchased cheap at Amazon.com
Danger signs/When to call the Vet IMMEDIATELY There are certain situations that will warrant immediate care by a vet or you risk not only the pups, but mom as well. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, PLEASE do not hesitate, CALL YOUR VET!
More than 68 days have gone by and your bitch is still showing no signs of the onset of labor.
If you go more than a couple of hours between pups or your bitch is pushing hard for more then an hour or 2 with no pup delivered.
There is a difference between PUSHING with no delivery and "resting" between pups. Most breeders have had dogs go 4 hours and more without having a puppy born because they are resting. Take into account they are resting... NOT pushing.
IF you see a dark green discharge.
Whelping, step by step
Whelp is the term to describe the birth process of a canine. If you have the ability to be in communication with your vet, I would suggest that and not do this totally on your own, always having the ability to touch base in case of an emergency. I would also suggest knowing where an emergency facility is just in case and notifying them when your whelp process begins.
Gestation of a canine is technically 63 days from date of conception. However, unless you only did one breeding there are variables. Many dogs will actually whelp on day 60/61 based on what is called a PH Surge. I suggest being set up and ready for whelp by day 57/58. Prior to the bitch going into what is called "Labor", there is a period of time called "nesting Labor".
This can be 24-36 hours prior to hard labor (pushing) but sometimes can be hours. Nesting labor is when they actually dig and nest and prepare for the birth of their puppies. They usually stop eating as the pups have now moved back and are on top of her tummy making her feel full.
The girl will pant, increasing the pant as she gets closer to whelp which looks different then a pant when a dog is hot. A dog that is hot pants with saliva drooling. This pant is a dry pant. Temperature also decreases. The normal temperature of a canine is approx 100.5 - 101.5 Whelp is approx 98.
Beginning 36-48 hours from due date, monitoring the temperature and recording them will help. Dog's temperatures are taken rectally, so make sure you use a rectal thermometer that is lubricated with the KY or petroleum jelly. Do NOT take her temp ever hour, check it only a few times a day. You will see a steady decline in the temp however it can fluctuate, going up and down a little. This is normal.
You will need a whelping box (www.durawhelp.com offers wonderful whelping boxes in different sizes). You can also hand build them always ensure you make roll bars. Roll Bars prevent the bitch from rolling onto the puppies as puppies by nature scoot to the furthers point, to the side of the box. (I can send a picture if you wish for this).
A plastic ďkiddie poolĒ is also used by many as a whelping box. Remember to provide a soft, absorbent layer for mom and pups. Disposable Peri-pads can be purchased from most drug stores for little expense. Sometimes the local thrift store will have quilts or blankets for a few dollars that will work well.
No matter what material you decide to use, be sure it is either disposable or easily washed as it will be soiled during the birthing process and later, by the pups are they excrete.
Make sure you have a quiet, secluded pace for mom to whelp. Many times, distractions can cause a laboring bitch a great deal of stress, not good for ANY laboring mother!
Supplies needed: whelping box, baby aspirator (the squeeze bulb with the clear plastic tip used for infants), UNWAXED plain dental floss for tying of chords, alcohol, surgical or good scissors (purchased new if possible), plain Pediolyte, a glass to hold the alcohol and scissors, a baby digital rectal thermometer. On taking the temp, insert the thermometer no more then 1 inch. You will also need plenty of clean towels or linen, KY Jelly, latex gloves, heat lam(s) with a shield, antibacterial no water soap for YOUR hands only, phone handy to call for emergency.
Newborn pups are very susceptible to hypothermia. They can not regulate their own body temperatures and may die if they become separated form mom and their litter mates. Pups are not able to regulate their own body temperatures until about 3 weeks of age. If they are in a room with air conditioning, please close the vents or turn off the room a/c. Turn off any fans. Heat lamps with a shield attached securely to the whelping box will help prevent hypothermia,
A table where you can work on puppy is also suggested. Heat lamps for pups, to prevent hypothermia are helpful. Make sure they secure so that mom wonít dislodge them when she get in and out of the whelping box and that they are not TOO close to the pups.
In order to keep track of each pupís progress a scale to weigh pups (a kitchen scale works perfectly for newborn pups), paper/pen to track time of birth, weights etc.., clock to track the time of birth of each puppy and record.
When a bitch is ready to have puppies, the pups move further back on her body and you see a huge bulge from her. You can see puppies kicking and moving. Seeing pups move can start 6 1/2 weeks into gestation but they will not be located as far back.
It's easy to see when contractions actually begin. She will actually push. Pups can be born as fast as 5-10 minutes between each puppy and yet with larger litters or even some smaller litters, there can be 2-4 hours between births as she rests.
If you get into a situation where 5- 7 hours start to go by, call the vet or emergency facility. As pups are born, placentas will also come out, pups are born in a sac, which must be opened by mom or with your help. I would not suggest letting the bitch eat more then 1 maybe 2 placentas (time between) as it causes bad diarrhea.
Allow mom to open the sac, chew cord and clean each pup. If mom does NOT take care of the pup, you will need to intervene. Open the sac, tie the cord with the unwaxed dental floss, about an inch from the pupís belly and again another Ĺ inch or so and using the sterile scissors, cut the cord between the two pieces of floss. Warm and stimulate the pup with the towels and suction the pupís mouth and nose.
Keep track of placentas that do or do not come out. Many times a bitch will pass them much later, after the birth of the litter is completed, so make sure you accompany mom on her potty breaks until you are sure she has passed ALL the placentas.
A dog pushing hard for more then an hour or 2 is a problem and dangerous and at that point you need to immediately call a vet.
When using the aspirator, gently squeeze it away from the pup to remove air BEFORE placing it to the pupís nostrils or mouth. You want to make sure that you are using it to suck fluids into the aspirator NOT BLOWING AIR INTO the pup.
Use the warm and dry in warm cloths to wipe down each pup as it arrives, which stimulates the pup and prevents hypothermia. Check the pup all over to make sure it is whole and healthy.
Once puppy is going, give back to mommy and let puppy nurse. Mom will also lick the pups to stimulate them for elimination, often consuming the waste during the early days.
When she is ready to have another puppy, take puppy away and keep in warm. Remember, pups can not regulate their own body temperatures, so make sure you donít over heat the puppy as that can be just as dangerous as allowing them to become cold.
IF you see a dark green discharge, this means the placenta has separated and the puppy will suffocate rapidly. Call your vet.
Keep track of the number of pups and the number of placentas. Make sure that mom has delivered a placenta for each pup. If she has not, she risks serious infection.
Make sure each pup is nursing well. With large litters, you may need to rotate the pups and (in many cases) supplement the pups with puppy formula. The term ďsucking hind teatĒ is based on the fact that most bitches will have teats that do not produce an equal amount of milk.
Litters of 9 or more usually need some rotation help at least in the beginning ensuring all are nursing. Rotation must be every 1 1/2 hours this includes during the night. Litters that are very large, 10-12 plus babies need to be rotated every 1 1/2 hours for quite a while.
Putting yarn around their necks in different colors will help identify the pups and allow you to separate them with ease and help identify those pups as you rotate them. Just remember to check the yarn daily as pups grow fast and it can quickly become too tight.
After whelping, mom will be tired and may need your encouragement to eat or drink. Many bitches will be hesitant to leave the pups, even for a "potty break". She WILL feel more secure if you have provided her with a quiet place, where she feels her pups are safe from harm.
You can feed mommy right with her babies. However stay with her while she eats and pick bowl up when she is done. Some mothers will still not want babies around food and this protects them. Feeding in the whelping box will alleviate the problem of forcing mom out of the box when she does not want to leave, if she does not wish to leave it. Water can also be kept right outside the whelp box so mommy does not need to leave.
Another alternative is to provide mom's food and water in the same room, a few feet away from the whelping box.
Once all the pups have been safely delivered, please make sure you have a follow up vet visit.
If any other member has suggestions or additions for this topic, PLEASE let me know and I will be happy to add them.
***Edited By: pyrmom on 9/26/2007 8:17:52 PM*** Reason: *
"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful".
Many times added formula is needed to help supplement the mother's milk supply for the pups.
This can be for large litters where mom needs help, it may be for a smaller puppy that needs extra nourishment in addition to mom. Many people use goats milk. That is a great product. But others do not have the ability to find it. Esbilac although popular and common as a supplement is not always the best. Below is a supplement I was given and have passed on to many. It's almost like a magic potion:
1C plain Dannon Yogurt or any other yogurt (plain no flavor or fruit added) with "live and active culture"
1C canned evaporated milk (canned only) 1/2 C plain tap water or bottle water (does not matter) 1 egg yolk, egg yolk only!! 2 tablespoons of Hellman's real mayo (not low cal)
Mix in a blender all together to liquify. Give via nursing bottle. Test bottle before going to nurse ensuring pup can nurse and liquid goes through. Sometimes you need to cut an X on the nipple rather then just poke a pin hole for easier nursing however you dont want it to just spill out.
If your bitch will not eat before having pups or after having pups you can throw in some cottage cheese and very lean ground beef cooked on the stove. Give proportionately, do not over due as this is very high in protein __________________________________________________________
Whelping box size if hand built should be at least 4x4 with roll bars for Md size dogs. Very large to xtra large dogs will need larger boxes. Large dogs having extra large litters will also need larger boxes. Smaller dogs, toy breeds etc can use a smaller box. Purchased whelping boxes from a company such as www.durawhelp.com come in sizes.
***Edited By: pyrmom on 9/23/2007 9:35:28 AM*** Reason: *
If your Female is appearing restless near labor time always follow her outside for her potty breaks and take a towel with you, at night a flash light. More than one pup has poped out unexpectedly during a midnight potty break and it's important that if it happens you are there to catch, dry and place the pup in the whelping box ;)
I prefur to have my Bordeaux with fur instead of a cork and bottle ;)
Excellent additions, Thank you both. Then again, you two are two of the only three who contributed to the thread, so somehow I'm not surprised~ Thanks again for offering such important help for those who may really need it.
If anyone else has additions they feel need to be added, please PM me and I'll update the thread.
***Edited By: pyrmom on 9/26/2007 8:19:32 PM*** Reason: *
"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful".
If you suspect a very large litter or you have a large litter and need help with milk supply you can offer mom powdered milk replacer for dogs or they make a multi species powdered replacer that you can mix with water and pour in bowl or over food..this will boost milk supply!! Then once you wean pups you can feed it to the pups too that will encourage them to eat and soften food..Thanks for the supplement reciept I wrote that one down!!!
WOW im soo glad i found this sight. You hit the nail right on the head. i just joined today and already have my work cut out. ha ha its kinda funny that you posted this because today i just posted something pertaining to this. very very helpfull! thank you for the informative post.
AND you can look at www.youtube.com and search for Whelping or dog birth, etc. There are lots of videos of dogs giving birth so you know what it will look like and wont be so suprised. It really helped me.
Very informative on whelping; my only litter was Bichon in 2004 and I was a complete nervous nelly--two puppies and one faded after 8 days. Very traumatic.
Now around Jan 20 of 2008 I expect my second litter-- Shihchons this time. I'm anxious--for Iris's health first and puppies next. She was such a good little mother her first time I'm sure she'll be fine--I'm mainly concerned that I handle this well. I blame myself for not responding fast enough when I thought the fading puppy didn't look good. I'm reading and gathering items for a safe whelping. Thank you--I've bookmarked this page.
We just had a litter of 8 golden retriever puppies (December 27) and all this info was exactly what we were looking for. Thank you for posting it. We have had to give some of the puppies supplements. I love this website. We actually purchased our girl from this site. Thanks again for the info!
Thanks for all this information, it has really been very informative for me and my husband. Our bitch Lady is expecting litters in february but we feel a little bit more selfsecure after reading and checking up all links whith films and so on. You can se pictures of her at www.stoltaebbas.se or www.dansksvenskgardshund.se Thanks all of you --I've bookmarked this page.
I also wanted to add to redangel's post, Zoe as a first time mom thought she had to pee for quite alot of her pups. My suggestion is that as it get's closer to LABOR Day, you start going out with her and watch. FIVE of Zoe's 12 were born outside, everytime she had to go, I was right behind her with a clean towel, and sure enough, out came a pup.
ALSO, Zoe didn't push with each pup being born. Let me amend that, you couldn't tell she was pushing. The only one that she pushed with was the stillborn one. Every other one, they just slid out. So, if it's a first time mom, you NEED to stay with them the ENTIRE Labor. (She never broke any of the sacks. I did it all for all of them.
Third, make sure you get plenty of rest and an assistant or two! Her first pup was born at 6 am, the 12 th was born at midnight. It can be a very long day!
Continue to take the temperature of the bitch for a few days after whelping. Be sure to watch for fever, lack of appetite, excessive thirst, weakness, or excessive panting. Any of these signs together or as a whole could mean your bitch may have an infection. Call your vet right away better to be safe than to lose her.
Pomeranians are like potatoe chips you cant have just one.
first let me say Great article Pyrmom and all the suggestions will be very helpful. I am not an expert by any means but have been ready to help with three litters so far thankfully I didnt have to yet, not even with the litter of 9.
Feeding mom before during and after whelping. I like to fatten up bitches once i know they are pregnant i feed the same dry food with 2 tablespoons yogurt, 2 tablespoons cottage cheese and an egg yolk. I continue this until mom has whelped and puppies are fully weined. During labor to keep mom's strenght up we give her a couple tablespoons of all natural vanilla ice cream between each puppy.
If mom has more than 8 puppies i give her milk replacer for the first couple weeks as this helps her develope more milk, and when we start weining the pups we use it in their gruel. Ive noticed that when you give the mom milk replacer and then use it in the gruel the puppies know exactly what to do with it. When i havent given mom the replacer the pups need to be shown the food and even have to put it on their noses.
Hey everybody! I'm pretty sure my dog is pregnant.It was a intended breeding. Today is day 35 and I'm taking her to the vet very soon. I'm somewhere between excited and scared. I breed goats but i know there a HUGE difference! Anyway, I was wondering if there are any tips/intructions a first-time dog breeder should know.
Hello everyone. I recently acquired a new dog that was dummped at our house and she is pregnant. I have never been around a pregnant animal and need a little information. First of all, from what I have been reading on the internet I cannot give a date of mating as I didn't have her then. So...I am only guessing on the information I have and basing off what little I have known her. She is a super sweet and gentle natured dog. She lays around alot sleeping. I can sit beside her and watch her pups moving inside her and her teets are milk filled and sagging. Can anyone tell me a rough timeline from when you see pups moving to birth? We have her a warm box to welp in and she has been sleeping near it. Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much.
***Edited By: bballbright on 10/29/2008 9:30:42 AM*** Reason: Help needed! Pregnant dog