Whelping Puppies. Part I

September 18, 2010

Are you expecting a litter of puppies?  If so, are you prepared for anything to happen?

Please know that I am no expert at all on this subject.  I do not pretend to be.  However, I have had and will do everything possible to properly prepare for my upcoming litter of puppies.

In 2002 I had a litter of puppies.  I read everything I could get my hands on to be prepared.  I whelped a litter of giant rare breed Pyrenean Mastiff pups.  One of the reasons they are rare is because the mother has trouble delivering the puppies as her uterus does not contract much at all.  I’m here to tell you when people say that larger dogs have fewer problems delivering puppies, well it is just not true.  It’s a myth so please do yourself and your dam a huge favor and do not believe this myth.  My dam wound up having a c-section with the last two puppies.  She wasn’t contracting through delivery and had to have a few shots to help her contract.  Towards the end, I had to take her in for the C-Section.

Just as you should not compare dog to dog on the line, please never compare dam to dam when expecting a litter.  Each dam is different and acts differently.  One may have no problem at all.  One may.  One may want to be alone, the next might want you by her side.  My female wanted myself and my Yorkie with her, yes my Yorkie.  It was the oddest thing I had ever seen!  She and Sporty were great pals.  If Sporty would go to the door in the bedroom, my girl would go nuts.  One dam maybe nervous, another may not be.  One might not be bothered by other dogs or people around, the other may very well be upset and nervous around others.  In my opinion, it is best for the dam to provide a sanitary and solitary place to have her whelping box away from all others. I had a 3 story home with 2 bedrooms on the top floor.  Once Venus was pregnant, she and I slept upstairs on the top floor away from everyone and everything.  I placed her whelping box in the bedroom next to the bed.  She got used to her box and loved it.  It was her safe quiet place.

Once I knew she was in the beginning stages of delivering the puppies, I called my vet and let them know.  I wanted to make sure someone would be on hand if any problems came about.

I made a list of everything I might need for my dam for before, during and after she had the puppies.  I first bought a large Rubbermaid container with a lid and each time I bought something, I stored it in that large container until it was time.  If you do this, it’s easy to keep everything in the container and add to it as needed each time you have a litter. I’m all about saving time when and where I can!!

Before and after the breeding, it is very important to feed the best diet you can.  I myself do not feed anything that contains chemicals and dyes in it.  It is most important to know not to over feed a newly expectant mother.  This can lead to problems when whelping.  The puppies can get to large for the mother and the dam can build up too much fat around her reproductive organs, both can lead to a C-Section.

When your female has approximately 4 weeks left in her pregnancy, I would gradually increase her feed up to forty percent.  At this time, the puppies are demanding more nutrition from the dam.  The puppies will get what they need and by doing so, they will take from the mother.  You want her to be in excellent health at all times.  You need to protect her from becoming underweight and sick.

I do not feed extra calcium.  This can lead to eclampsia.  I am not an expert on this subject at all.  I just remember my vet warning me about the dangers and risks.  Please read up on it ahead of time because once this process has started, it’s to late.  Eclampsia can and will become fatal before you know it.

When my girl came into season, I took her to the vet and she received her vaccination.  I will do this with Kimber as well.  A dog’s gestation period is approximately 63 days.  Three quarters of the way through this period, I then took her to the vet for worming.

I feel that worming is very important.  Round worms can be passed from the mother to the puppies.  It is important to worm for the health of the mother and the puppies.  Worms can be passed to the puppies through their mother’s milk.  I worm because I want my puppies to have a healthy start in life.  Please note  ****You do not want to worm the mother before 35 days into the pregnancy.  The babies are still developing and it is not safe for them to worm before half way through the pregnancy.  I am careful to wait until she is approximately 40-50 days through her gestation period.  It is very important to worm under the advice of your vet. I then worm again the day the puppies are born.  My vet gave me a dose to take home to give to my dam once all puppies were whelped.

There is a lot more to add to the article.  I am leaving for work and will make a list of items and write it on my blog of what to have on hand for the whelping period and items to have on hand after the whelping is completed.  Please feel free to come back and read all about it.

Again, I am not an expert on this topic.  All I can tell you is what I learned, what I went through, and it is not always as easy as it looks.  These are just my thoughts and what I did and what you can do to make your dam more comfortable, safe and healthy and what you can do to ensure that your puppies are safe and healthy.  Please always talk to your vet before taking anyone’s advice.

Wendy Porch
Shadowhill Retrievers

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