Tips for Delivering Puppies


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Whelping (the birth process) should be handled only by people who have had experience with it. However, if you find yourself overseeing a delivery, know that the mother dog does most of the work instinctually. Here are a few things you need to know about dog births as a pack leader:

Signs of labor

After the gestation period (64 days), look for the following signs in the pregnant dog:

  • She gets restless
  • She stops having any food 24 hours prior to labor
  • She will pat at the bedding as though sheโ€™s making up a nest
  • She will start licking the vulva
  • She might discharge mucus or vomit
Supplies you need to have
  • Whelping box โ€“ This is necessary for pup deliveries. It is a pen in which the mom can get comfortable during and after the whelping. You can get a pre-made box or go for a strong cardboard box (cut out the front so that it is easy for the mother to go in). The sides need to be high enough to protect the pups from any drafts.
  • Laundry basket with a blanket and heating pad โ€“ Once the puppies are born, you need to get them out of the mother dogโ€™s way immediately โ€“ but make sure you set the basket where she can see it. Monitor the pupsโ€™ temperature. If they get very hot, they will cry and if they get very cold, they will whimper.
  • Clean towels โ€“ This is to clean the puppies off if needed.
  • Emergency supplies โ€“ Rubber gloves, sterile scissors, dental floss or a heavy thread to tie the umbilical cords if needed and an antiseptic solution.

If you see a grayish sac drop down from the vulva, it is a sign of a puppy on the way. The mom should pass the first baby within an hour of the sacโ€™s appearance. If she does not, call the vet and discuss when to bring her in.

When she needs help

Here are some things you need to do if the mother does not do it herself:

  • Detach the membrane โ€“ Puppies are born with a thin membrane that has to be removed to avoid suffocation. The mother does it herself. If she doesnโ€™t, you will have to do it for her.
  • Rub the pup with a towel โ€“ Once the membrane is off, the mom licks the pup to stimulate breathing and crying. If she does not, rub the pup with a towel vigorously till it starts breathing.
  • Throw out the afterbirth โ€“ Within 15 minutes after every birth, it is followed by the discharge of a blackish-green mass of tissue (placenta). Once the pup is born, the placenta has no use. You can dispose it. The mother may eat the placenta. It is harmless, natural and you donโ€™t have to worry.
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