Whelping Supply List

September 18, 2010


When I had my litter, I put the following items in a place near the whelping box where I had easy access to them.  I had a built-in shelf in my room that I laid everything out on.  This helped me out a lot.  So if you have a coffee table or a small table of some kind to put in the room with you, it would be rather helpful.  I would organize each item in order of use when whelping pups.  I am sure that I am forgetting something.  If I remember anything at all, I will amend this list.

  • Thermometer – Use this to check the dam’s temp.  You may have to have it handy to check the pup’s temp as well in case they get chilled.  I also put a thermometer in the whelping box to make sure the temperature stays around 90 degrees.  Do not put a room thermometer close to the lamp as the reading will not be accurate.
  • Safety Scissors.  (Blunt) You want to use these to cut the umbilical cord.  You do not want to use sharp scissors as this can cause their cord to bleed.
  • Iodine.  This helps to dry the cord.  I used this once a day if not twice until the cord fell off.
  • Gloves.  Use these in case you have to help remove a puppy from the mother.
  • Syringe.  I used a bulb syringe (blue) to remove fluid from the throat and nose.  Be easy with this when sucking the fluid from the pup’s throat and nose.  I bought a bulb from the baby department at Wal-Mart.
  • Puppy Training Pads.  I used these in layers.  They have blue plastic backs.  After each birth, I rolled up the dirty pad and tossed it in the trash.  A new pad was then ready for the next newborn.  Once the puppies eyes are open and they are moving around and playing, please do not use these pads.  The puppies can choke on the plastic backing.
  • White Towels.  I used these to help mommy clean the puppies. 
  • Hemostats.  A friend of mine who is a Doctor gave me a sterilized pair of these.  They are great to clamp the cord.  Do not clamp too close to the body.  When cutting the cord with blunt safety scissors, cut on the side of the hemostats that is farthest from the puppy’s tummy.  Leave the hemostats on for a minute or two.
  • Alcohol and sterile cotton pads or gauze pads.  These are used to clean hemostats and blunt scissors after each whelping.
  • Hand Sanitizer.  Use this to clean yourself up after each whelping. 
  • Trash Bags. You will want trash bags close to you so you can throw soiled pads and paper towels away. 
  • Laundry Pail for dirty towels, sheets and/or blankets.
  • Spray Bottle of Vinegar Water.  For cleaning floor and whelping area in and around whelping box.
  • Waterless Shampoo for cleaning mom around her valvular area.  DO NOT USE THIS NEAR HER TEATS.  Wash teats with clean sterile unsweetened water. 
  • Paper Towels and Kleenex.  I have these handy in case I need them for a quick clean up of my hands. Baby wipes work well too.
  • Water Bowl so mother has access to water without leaving the puppies.
  • Heat Lamp.  You have to keep the whelping area warm for the puppies.  The whelping area needs to be 90-95 degrees.  If they get cold, it is not good.  It can be fatal.
  • KY Jelly.  You may need this in case a puppy gets stuck.  It’s better to have it than needing it and not having it.
  • Scales to weigh puppies.
  • Colored Paper Neck Bands to mark pups.  You can get these at JB Wholesale online or Dr. Foster’s and Smith. 
  • Heating Pad.  Wrap baby blankets around a heating pad to keep puppies warm.  Do not get the pad too hot as it can dehydrate the puppies.
  • Baby Blankets.  You can buy packages of receiving blankets from Wal-mart.  They are handy for wrapping around babies and around a heating pad.  You can never have too many of these.
  • Karo White Syrup and Bottles of Sterile Water – Unsweetened.  Babies need energy period.  If by chance mother isn’t producing milk, the puppies will have to get energy somehow.  Use a syringe to feed if need be.  Baby pups may also get cold.  When they do, they shiver to keep warm.  Shivering uses energy. 
  • Wysong Mother’s Milk.  This is a wonderful milk replacement.  I used it to feed my dog during pregnancy.  I used it in the pup’s mush.  I would have a container or two of this on hand in case the mother doesn’t want to feed or isn’t producing milk.  Be prepared for this.   
  • Cot or Bed.  You might as well get comfy.  You are going to be busy for the next several days and will be going on very little sleep.  After whelping is over and mom and pups are sleeping, I highly suggest you take a nap next to the whelping box too!  I slept in the room with mom and pups for the first 3 days and nights.  Dams can and will roll over on a pup.  The pup can die.  It is your responsibility to make sure the pups are safe.  You also need to make sure all teats are producing milk.  If not, you are going to have to rotate puppies to make sure each and every one of them get the required amount of food that they need.  You may also have to feed them a milk replacement such as Wysong Mother’s Milk.
  • Food and Coffee.  You will need both!  Hopefully your whelping room is near a bathroom too.  🙂
  • Surgical Shoe Covers and Disinfectant Spray.  I don’t care who it is.  Please never let anyone, including yourself near the pups and mother (whelping room) without removing shoes and pants.  If someone wants to see pups, have them bring a clean change of pants and change outside the whelping room door.  No shoes allowed in whelping room.  Spray the socks and shoe covers with spray.  Visitors should use disposable shoe covers over their feet and truly should change their pants.  You can carry germs and the parvo virus into the whelping area with you easily.  Parvo is everywhere, even in your own kennel.  Ask your vet.  Even a minute amount will wipe out a litter in a second. 
  • Notebook and Pen or Laptop.  You will want to document each puppy at birth, its condition, weight and such.
  • TV, reading material, iPhone, computer, camera, puzzle books or any kind of entertainment to keep you occupied during your waiting periods between pups.

Wendy Porch
Shadowhill Retrievers

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