My Dog Is Having Puppies! How To Prepare And Care For Her.

By Valdette Muller| January 29, 2018 | Blog


Your dog is pregnant and is ready to give birth soon.

If you have limited experience in these matters, the process leading up to the birth can be rather stressful.

Two important things to remember when preparing for puppies: 

  1. Your mommy dog knows and understands what to do by instinct, so she should do most of the work herself.
  2. You as the care giver of both mommy dog and puppies need to do your best to remain calm throughout the process.

The process of your dog giving birth is called ‘Whelping’ and can be stressful for both human and animal involved.

Over 98% of all dogs deliver their puppies without assistance or complications. But when it is your pet that is set to deliver puppies it is comforting to know that things are proceeding without hitches and on schedule.

It is still a a good idea to understand the whelping process in case you find your dog in a premature medical emergency.

If you ever do find yourself having to oversee a delivery without any prior experience or other supervision from a vet, here are some tips:

Finding a place to nest.

Your dog will most likely start looking for a place to give birth soon and sometimes they can choose the most ill advised and inconvenient places such as your clothing cupboards, behind the couch where you cannot see or reach her, or in extremely rare cases outside in a hole that she dug prior to giving birth.

Instead, make sure you get a warm, dry, quiet and private place ready for the your mommy dog so that she may start to nest there before she starts giving birth. It is important to keep young children and other pets away from this space as it can deter the mother from nesting there.

Use her doggy bed or a large flattened cardboard box and place old clean blankets on top and around it to make it more cozy. Place newspaper on the floor during and after the puppies have been born. Newspaper is excellent bedding material for the mother to shred for her nest. Newspaper is also absorbent, and can be replaced regularly.

Keep your vet in the loop.

Keeping your vet’s contact details on hand is highly recommended.

It is important to involve your vet throughout your your dog’s pregnancy.

Remember to check in with your vet if you have any questions about your dog’s pregnancy.

During pregnancy.

A dog’s pregnancy lasts approximately two months (63 days). This may vary depending on the breed of dog you have, smaller breeds may deliver a week earlier while large breeds often deliver later.

During pregnancy the puppies grow inside the amniotic sac, receiving nourishment through your dog’s placenta.

Once your dog is about five weeks pregnant, it is important you give your dog a diet of a higher calorie intake for her growing puppies.

Continue this high calorie diet until she weans her puppies off her milk. Your vet should recommend the best food for your dog during this time.

2 weeks before your dog’s due date, begin to take her temperature in the afternoon.

Purchase a rectal or oral thermometer for rectal use on your dog. You can lubricate it with margarine or KY jelly and insert it about 2cm. Leave it in place for three minutes.

Your dog’s temperature should be between 38.3 C and 39.1 C. When your dog’s temperature drops below 37.7 C she should deliver the pups in within the next 24 hours.

During labour and birth.

In the first stage of labour, your dog will probably look uncomfortable and feel extreme pain, she may become restless, start panting or shivering and have a cervical mucus discharge coming out of her vulva.

12 to 24 hours prior to giving birth she may stop eating and may even vomit. Some dogs whine persistently. Others may occupy themselves by re-building the nest or going in and out of the nesting area.

The second stage of labour is when contractions start and your dog’s water breaks. The water has a light yellowish colour.

During the birthing process, placentas are expelled after each puppy. Puppies usually appear every half-hour or so after ten to thirty minutes of forceful straining. As the puppies are delivered, the mother will start to lick the puppy clean and bite off the umbilical cord. It is important to let the mother do this as it helps the mother bond with her pups. if you see that your dog needs a bit of help, be on hand with a warm damp towel to wipe them and to help remove the membranes (which looks like a thin layer of plastic) from the puppies. Give them back to their mother as you do this.

In the the third stage of labour, all the puppies have been born during which time the uterus contracts fully, expelling any remaining placenta, blood or fluid out from the mother.

You can help out by cleaning up the after birth from the area as your dog recovers from her ordeal.

Keep food and water on hand for your dog after the birthing process. Make sure her and her puppies are warm.

An emergency.

If you dog fails to go into labour within twenty-four hours after her body temperature dropped to below 37.7 C you should take the dog to a vet immediately.

Do this also if you have calculated that more than 69 days have passed since the dog has fallen pregnant.

Once your dog starts labour and is actively straining for more than half an hour without producing her first puppy, you will need to call the vet.

If more than 4 hours pass between puppies with active straining, or if there appears to be more pups on the way but your dog is showing signs of exhaustion, it is crucial you get hold of your vet.




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