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20 Dog Pregnancy Tips for a Successful Birth Give
17 Surprising Facts about Newborn Puppy
How to Help a Dog to Deliver Puppies
What do I do when my Dog Gives Birth?
Are you supposed to Help a Dog Give Birth?
How to Help Your Dog Give Birth?
What are the Signs of a Dog Giving Birth?
How long does a dog give birth?
Dog Gestation, Labor, Whelping & Delivery
How to help a Dog Give Birth?
How to Care for Your Dog After She Gives Birth
How to help a Dog Give Birth for the First Time
Dog Giving Birth Problems
How do you know when your dog is about to give birth?
When will my dog give birth calculator
How can I tell when my dog is getting ready to give birth?
When Can Dogs Get Pregnant while in Heat?
Are there Pregnancy Tests for Dogs?
Anatomy of a Pregnant Dog
What to Do If Your Dog Rejects Her Puppies?
When Puppies open Eyes?
When Puppies begin to Hear?
Dog giving birth puppy stuck
What if my Dog Rejects the Puppies
How Often Can Dogs get Pregnant?
Dog Gestation Period: Symptoms & Pregnancy Care
Afterbirth Puppy Care
What are the first signs of pregnancy in a dog?
How long after mating can you tell a dog is pregnant?
How to Bathe a Newborn Puppy
How to Remove Fleas in Newborn Puppy
How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?
How To Give Your Puppy CPR
Can Pregnant Dogs Eat Raw Food?
How to Save A Dying Puppy
How Many Puppies Can Dogs Have?
How to Prevent Dog Pregnancy
What is Dog Litter Size?
Signs a dog is going into Labor soon
Dog Pregnancy Calendar
Helping a Dog in Labor
Dystocia (Difficult Birth) in Dogs
What Determines Litter Size in Dogs?
Dog Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms
How Long does Dog Gestation Last?
What is Pseudopregnancy in Dogs?
Taking Care of Your Pregnant Dog
When to Bathe a Dog after giving birth?
Puppy Development Stages
How to Care for a Pregnant Dog
Dog Pregnancy Calculator
How Do Dogs Give Birth?
Caring for a Pregnant Dog
Dog Whelping
Pregnancy in Dogs
Dog Pregnancy Signs
Dog Birth Give

WARNING !!! Please, NOTE:
Dogica® DOES NOT ADVICE to help delivering your dog, or to use any of mentioned medicine or natural supplies, before consulting your local veterinary physician!

Consult with your veterinarian before applying any chemicals / medications or using any vaccines on pregnant females.

All the articles & information presented here for informational and educational purposes only!

Dogs rarely need human assistance when having puppies.

In fact, 98% of whelping dogs have no real problems

In 2016, a Maremma sheepdog gave birth to a litter of 17

A bullmastiff produced a litter of 23 puppies in 2014

In 2014, a 3-year-old Great Dane gave birth to a litter of 19 puppies.


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They are floofy, they are floppy and they are oh-so sweet! It would be hard to find a person who would say that puppies are not super adorable, but in addition to cuteness, they are also fascinating.

1. Puppies are Born Blind and Deaf
They actually can not see or hear until they are almost two weeks old - they do not even open their eyes before then! Until they are able to see and hear, puppies rely on their sense of smell to find their mom.

2. They spend 15โ€“20 hours a day sleeping
That is not too unusual - human babies also spend about 16 hours a day sleeping.

3. Puppies become "adults" when they turn one
That is about the same as 15 human years. Teen dogs are still pretty cute.

4. They like when you Sing-Talk to them
It seems natural that you "baby talk" to a puppy, but researchers have found that they actually respond to it! However, adult dogs could care less.

5. Puppies are Born Without Teeth
You might think of puppies chewing up everything around the house, but they are actually toothless until they are about four weeks old.

6. The Number of Puppies Depends on the Breed
Different breeds of dogs have different sizes of litters - that is the number of puppies born at one time. Dogs that are older or smaller tend to have small litters, and dogs that are younger or larger tend to have bigger litters. The largest litter on record was 24 puppies, born to Tia - a Mastiff breed dog. Congratulations!

7. Puppies can be Twins!
A litter of puppies may look all look alike, especially if they are the same breed), but mostly they are not identical. However, one scientist in South Africa tested DNA on a set of puppies and found out that two of them actually were twins! Double the cuteness!

8. They Can not Eliminate Waste on Their Own
Newborn puppies rely on their mothers to stimulate them to go to the bathroom. Wheeler says that if the mom is not in the picture, humans can help with this process by gently rubbing a puppy's rear end with a wet paper towel until they urinate and defecate.

9. Looking at Pictures of Puppies is Good for You!
Japanese researchers have discovered that looking at pictures of cute baby animals help people focus better. So just maybe reading this post will help you ace your next test at school!

10. They Double Their Weight in a Week
Healthy size and weight are entirely dependent on the breed. Ideally, all newborn puppies should double their birth weight after the first week.

11. They Develop over a Short Period of Time
Puppies develop and grow inside their mother's womb for approximately two months. This is the normal gestation period or length of pregnancy for dogs. In the sense of development, a newborn puppy is not unlike a premature child.

12. They Eat a Lot
The newborn puppies eat every two hours. Even without vision, puppies use their reflexes and instincts to find their mother's nipple to nurse.

13. They Need to Keep Warm
Temperature is an important factor for newborn pups.Puppies can not regulate their own body temperature very well. Ideally, they should be kept in a setting of 75 degrees at 80% humidity so their digestive tract, immune system, and other bodily processes can function normally.

14. They Born with Fur and Nails
Puppies have sharp little nails when they are born. It is typically best to wait until 4 to 6 weeks of age to clip their nails, but this can be done sooner if they are hurting the mother, she says. They are also born with hair and fur, but the amount depends on the breed. When they born, they have a puppy coat. As they grow over their first year, dogs that shed will shed out their puppy coats and grow their adult coat.

15. They are Fast Learners
As newborns, puppies will scoot and crawl around. Between 3 and 12 weeks of age, they will really start walking and improving other motor skills, including wagging their tails.

16. They are Vulnerable to Illnesses
Puppies are most vulnerable to illnesses like parvo and distemper around 4 to 12 weeks of age. Newborn puppies are also susceptible to canine herpesvirus in their first three weeks of life, which they can contract from other dogs in the household or from their mother before or after birth. Unfortunately, very young puppies who are exposed to large doses of canine herpesvirus almost always die.

17. They Benefit from Family Time
A newborn puppy should not be separated from his mother and littermates before 8 weeks old and can stay for up to 12 weeks. Separating a puppy too soon can affect his health and growing immune system. By keeping puppies with their mother, they are less likely to be exposed to infectious diseases. If you take them away, their immune system is not fully developed yet, and you are exposing them to other things that could get them sick.




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Shelly Graves

The arrival of puppies can be a fun and exciting time but there many things that you should know about and prepare beforehand. Below are most common dog pregnancy tips veterinarians and breeders give to help with the puppy birthing process so that you will know what to expect, what you need, and how to best prepare.

1. The Pregnancy Cycle
Pregnancy in dogs lasts for about 63 days. If you believe that your dog might be pregnant, get her to the vet as soon as you start to see some of the signs of pregnancy. Your dog should start to show signs of pregnancy within 3-4 weeks. A vet can do an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and see how many puppies are coming. There are no dog pregnancy tests, and a vet check is the best way to confirm pregnancy in dogs.

2. How Many Pups to Expect?
The size of the litter depends mostly on the breed and size of the dog. Some large breed dogs can have as many 12 puppies in one litter. Small dogs, on the other hand, may just have one or two puppies in a litter. The average litter size for most medium to large size dogs is five or six puppies.

3. Prenatal Care Is Important!
Once a vet has confirmed the pregnancy, it is important that you start prenatal care for the dog. The veterinarian may recommend supplements or tell you that you should feed a special dog food brand. Your dog should get a few checkups during the pregnancy to make sure things are progressing the way that they should.

4. Moms May Be Moody
Hormonal shifts in the mother dog are something you should expect. She may be much more affectionate than usual, or she may be standoffish and cranky. She might also be both, depending on the day. Give your dog some space and let her rest. Her body is preparing for big changes and making sure that the puppies have what they need.

5. Diet Is Critically Important!
As soon as you know that your dog is pregnant, you need to prepare for a switch to a high quality puppy food. The puppy food will have the extra calories and nutrition that she needs to make sure the puppies are growing and developing properly. You might also want to supplement dry dog food with canned food on occasion to encourage the dog to eat if there are appetite issues. Always make sure she has plenty of clean and cool water available wherever she is resting.

6. Vet Care During Pregnancy
Regular vet visits during the pregnancy should include ultrasounds or X Rays to confirm the number of puppies and to make sure that they are developing the way that they should. Your veterinarian should give you an expected time of delivery based on the development of the puppies.

7. Give Dog Mom the Right Birthing Space
Provide your dog with a large, clean box filled with whelping liner and some additional comfy bedding where the birth can happen. A large cardboard box with high sides will keep the puppies contained as they start to wander. Clean towels and sheets are great bedding for a birthing box because they are soft and warm. Prepare lots of them because you will need to change them often during the birth and after the puppies arrive.

Put the birthing box in a spare bedroom that is quiet and ideally temperature controlled where the mother and puppies won't be disturbed after the birth. Get the mom used to being in that room and prepare the whelping box early so that she can get used to lying in it. When your dog starts to show signs of labor, she will probably go into the box on her own. If she doesnโ€™t, put her in the room with the birthing box and leave her confined to that room to encourage her to use the box.

Note: the dog may not want to use the whelping box. She may end up giving birth under the bed, on the bed, or in the closet. Let the dog pick the spot where she is most comfortable and be ready with clean sheets and towels for when the birth begins.

8. Signs of Labor
Dogs go through three stages of labor before delivering the puppies. The first stage can last anywhere from 6-18 hours. During this time, your dog may be restless or anxious. Her contractions are starting and it can be painful for the dog. She may shiver, whine, cry, pace up and down, nip at her sides, or even vomit. Keep the dog calm and confine her to the room with the whelping box so she can enter the box when it is time.

9. Labor Can Be Long
It can take days for a dog to go through all three stages of labor. Once a dog moves into the second stage of labor when the puppies start to be born, each puppy should be born in intervals of about 30 minutes but it can take up to an hour before the next puppy arrives.

10. Preparing for Puppies
As the birth gets closer, you should have a basic first aid kit, plenty of water, scissors, a baby suction device, and other supplies ready to go in the birthing room. A few extra items may also be needed depending on the situation, and it is recommended to purchase a whelping kit that will contain all essentials.

Get a small scale, like a food scale or a postal scale, so that you can weigh the puppies when they are born. A small postal scale is usually perfect for weighting new puppies and they do not cost much. Also, keep a phone that is charged and has the vet's number programmed into it at the ready in case there are problems.

11. The Best Size for a Whelping Box
The birthing (whelping) box should be large enough that the mother can comfortably lie down and there should be additional room for the babies. The puppies and the mother will probably be spending most of their time in the box for at least the first week after the birth so make sure it is roomy.

12. Some Extra Items for the Birth
Once the puppies start to arrive, in addition to the emergency supplies, you may also want to have a camera, a pen and paper, and other items to document the birth. If you are going to register the puppies, you will need full documentation of the birth.

13. Signs There is a Problem With The Birth
Labor complications are not uncommon, and it could be difficult to know if there is a problem with the birth. If the mother seems to be in pain, or starts to hemorrhage, or shows signs of serious distress โ€“ call the vet immediately. If a puppy is not coming out of the birth canal after an hour โ€“ call the vet.

14. Milk Fever in the Mother
Your dog might develop a slight fever after the puppies are born, and that is normal. But if the fever is higher than 102 degrees or if the dog starts acting strangely call the vet right away. She may have a condition called milk fever (or eclampsia) due to low blood calcium after birthing, and this requires immediate treatment by a vet.

15. Birthing Paperwork
Similar with human birth, as the puppies are born, you should write down exactly the time that the puppy arrived. Check the clock to be sure. This is why you need a small scale in the birthing room so that you can weigh each puppy and record the weight also.

16. After the Birth
The mother should break the placental sac and clean each puppy by herself. If she does not break the placental sac, then you will need to do it but it is not complicated. To clean the puppies, you can gently rub each puppy with soft warmed towels to make sure it is clean and dry, and then place it near the mother's nipples so it can nurse.

17. Socializing the Puppies
This is the fun part for most owners that are new to the experience. After the birthing process is done, you can gently cuddle those puppies while next to mother. Getting them used to human interaction right away will make for a more social and affectionate dogs as they grow up.

18. Aftercare for Mom
Do not be surprised if your dog is too tired to eat after she births the last puppy. Offer her some water and let her rest. For the first couple of days, let the dog mom bond with her puppies. Keep the room quiet and comfortable, and watch that temperature. Restrict access to the birthing room and just have one family member at time going in there to let mom and her puppies rest and so as not to overwhelm them.

19. Deworming
It is extremely common for puppies to be born with worms. Puppies need to be dewormed at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks and 8 weeks of age. For the early deworming, keep track of the puppies weights and the vet can give you dewormer and tell you how much to use so you do not need to bring the puppies to the vet at such a young age.

20. Puppy Vaccinations
Puppies will need several rounds of vaccinations when they are young to protect them from potentially deadly disease like Parvo. Your puppies will need their first round of vaccinations at about 6 weeks old and your veterinarian will walk you thought everything you must know.

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A female dog pregnancy is stressful for everybody in the household, including the dam herself, her breeders, and other pets at home. A dog's pregnancy lasts roughly 63 days, and generally, human intervention should be kept at a minimum. Experienced breeders generally know about the common side effects of canine pregnancy.

However, some pregnancies are unexpected and therefore the dog's owner may be overwhelmed by the events unfolding: a moodier female, a growing belly, a loss of appetite, and so on.


Female dogs have most of their reproductive system safely tucked within their body and protected by muscle and fat. Important parts of the bitch's reproductive anatomy include the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina and vulva. Eggs are produced in the ovaries. The bitch has two ovaries that are about 3/4 of an inch long.

They are deep inside the bitch and hang from the top of the abdomen. They are located near the kidneys. The ovaries produce the eggs. Around the ovaries is a fatty sac called bursa. The bursa funnels the eggs from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes or oviducts. The fallopian tubes are a segment of tissue that leads to the uterus. Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes.

Eggs then travel to the uterus. The uterus has three sections made up of a body and two horns. The uterus looks like a Y. The fertilized eggs will implant along the horns. The cervix is thick tissue that bridges the uterus and vagina. The cervix is shut except during the bitch's estrus time and during whelping.

The vagina is the segment in which the bladder connects with the reproductive tract. The vulva is the only part that is visible in the bitch. This thick tissue becomes swollen during the heat. This Diagram showing the main organs making up the reproductive system of a female dog:


Canine Reproductive Cycle
Bitches reach sexual and reproductive maturity with their first heat. However, it is not advisable to breed at the first heat since complete physical maturation makes it more dangerous for the female and the pups. The age of the first heat varies with the breed and the individual genetics. In general, smaller breeds have the first heat earlier than the larger breeds. Some will have the first heat at six months while two years is not unheard of for large and giant breeds. On average, bitches have the first heat around six months of age and have two heats per year.

Before a dog even gets pregnant, they go through the heat cycle. This is the pre-pregnancy stage in which female dogs become receptive to mating. It is important to understand this aspect of your pup's reproductive behavior. The heat cycle lasts between 18 and 21 days. Intact female dogs, those who have not been spayed will go into heat about every 6 to 8 months, although this can vary. The reproductive cycle can be divided into 4 phases:


The heat, or season, as colloquially referred to is the joint period of both proestrus and estrus. The heat typically continues for two to three weeks (9 days of proestrus, and 9 days of estrus). The date in the cycle from the first appearance of bleeding and the engorgement of the vulva help breeders decide when to either offer the stud or inseminate. The majority of bitches are bred naturally.

Most stud contracts provide for a double mating at days 9 and 11 (or 10 and 12) of the start of the female's heat. Some rare breeds or breeds like English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs can be expensive to breed. These breeds may require artificial insemination. The availability of healthy and viable semen may also be limited.


In the proestrus phase, the bitch exudes blood. The vulva will become swollen. The bitch often will lick the area and sometimes the blood may not even be obvious. The bitch will, though, produce chemicals called pheromones which males dogs are able to detect for long distances. In this phase, the bitch has not yet ovulated and mating during this phase will probably be too early for fertilization to occur. Further, female dogs are not receptive to mating during this phase and may act aggressively to males that attempt to mount. Om the other hand, male dogs will be attracted to females during the proestrus stage of their cycle.

In estrus, the second phase, the blood thins and becomes a light-colored or straw-colored liquid. The bitch will ovulate during this phase and pregnancy can only occur during the estrus phase. The vulva will still be swollen. Bitches will be receptive to male dogs. Bitches with tails will set them to one side and allow a male dog to mount. A male dog will mount and ejaculate the sperm. After ejaculation, the dog's swollen penis will tie with the bitch's vagina. The two dog will be stuck together back to back for a period of time. Although the tie commonly occurs during mating, it does not always happen.

Pregnancy can occur without a tie. Also, a bitch can be impregnated by more than one dog. Ovulation occurs in this phase about nine days from the beginning of heat. Sperm is vital for approximately 5-6 days and the egg for 2-3. Most experienced professional dog breeders want to pinpoint the time of ovulation with more exactitude. A veterinarian can draw blood and have the levels of progesterone measured. Progesterone is a hormone that is not species-specific. Any lab including human ones can readily test the levels. The first blood draw should be taken about five days into the heat.

Diestrus occurs around 14 days into the heat cycle. At this stage, the female will no longer allow mating โ€” all swelling and discharge ceases, and the cycle ends.

Anestrus refers to the period of time after one heat cycle ends and the next one begins. This lasts about six months' time, in most cases.


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How to Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant? Dogs do not have the option of picking up a pregnancy test kit from the pharmacy, which means we have to rely on other methods to determine if a dog is pregnant. The most accurate way to tell if a dog is pregnant is through diagnostic testing.

Signs of Dog Pregnancy
Diagnostic testing is not the only way to determine whether a dog is pregnant, although it is the most accurate. There are signs of dog pregnancy you can watch for, including:

Increase in appetite
Weight gain
Increase in nipple size
Swollen belly
Tires more easily
Nesting behavior
More affectionate

In addition, some dogs may vomit and have a decrease in appetite for a few days in the first few weeks due to changes in hormones. Some dogs will exhibit these sighs, but may actually be experiencing a false pregnancy. There are also other conditions that can cause changes in appetite, weight gain, and a swollen abdomen. To rule out a more serious condition, take your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup.

If you know the date your dog was bred, your veterinarian can perform abdominal palpation starting at approximately the 28-30 day mark. At this stage in the pregnancy, the puppies feel like little golf balls or grapes depending on the size of the dog. These "balls" are fluid-filled sacks surrounding the fetus. Abdominal palpation should not be attempted without the assistance of a veterinarian, as it could damage the pups. The sacks lose their distinct shape after one month, so the timing of this test is important.

Alternatively, your veterinarian can do an ultrasound between 25 and 35 days of gestation. An ultrasound can usually detect fetal heartbeats, giving you an estimate of the number of puppies the bitch is carrying. The puppies' heartbeats are 2 to 3 times faster than the mother's.

Hormone Test
At about 25 to 30 days of gestation, your veterinarian can perform a blood test to measure the dog's hormone levels to see if she is producing the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is only produced during pregnancy, making the test relatively accurate.

X-rays are one of the most effective ways to determine if a bitch is pregnant. However, this is best done at 55 days or more, as the puppies' skeletal systems do not show up on an x-ray until then. An x-ray at this time allows you to get an accurate count of the number of puppies, which will prepare you to know when your dog is finished delivering.


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There are a number of different things that can influence the size of a dog's litter. It is difficult to empirically determine how much these various factors influence litter size, and it is likely that the various factors influence each other to some degree. The various processes shaping litter size also influence the number of nipples that a species has. As a general trend, the maximum litter size usually matches the total number of nipples present.

A dog's breed is one of the most important factors influencing litter size. Simply put, larger breeds produce larger litters. That is why Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas have litters typically ranging from one to four puppies, while Cane Corsos, Great Danes, and other giant breeds often give birth to eight puppies or more.

Within a given breed, larger individuals typically give birth to larger litters. For example, a 45-pound Labrador retriever may produce a litter of only five or six puppies, while an 85-pound Lab may produce a litter of 10 or more.

While dogs typically remain fertile for their entire lives, they are most fecund during early adulthood โ€“ usually between 2 and 5 years of age. However, a dog's first litter is generally smaller than subsequent litters.

Dogs in good health are more likely to produce larger litters, and they are also more likely to produce healthy puppies. In fact, it is imperative that any female slated for breeding trials be in perfect health to ensure she and the puppies will survive the birthing and whelping process.

Diet likely has a strong influence on litter size. Some breeders contend that dogs who are fed a high-quality commercial food that is supplemented with high-protein foods - such as meat and cheese, produce larger litters than dogs fed substandard foods or those fed only high-quality commercial foods with no supplemental proteins.

Gene Pool Diversity
The smaller a dog's gene pool is, the smaller her litters will tend to be conversely, dogs who come from more diverse backgrounds tend to have larger litters. This means that dogs from lines that have been inbred extensively will slowly develop smaller and smaller litters.

Individual Genetic Factors
Dogs are all individuals, who vary in countless ways - sometimes, this can include litter size. This is very difficult to predict, but dogs who produce large first litters and likely to produce large second and third litters, assuming all other factors remain constant. Note that most of these traits relate to the dam (female) rather than the sire (male). However, the sire does have some influence on the litter size. His breed, size, health, age and individual genetic makeup will partially determine the size of the litter he sires.

How Many Litters Can a Dog Produce in a Year?
Some females can produce multiple litters within a 12-month period. It just depends on the dog's natural cycle, body condition and the desires of the breeder. A handful of canines will cycle quickly enough to produce three or four litters in a year, but most dogs only have two cycles per year, spaced about six months apart. But, breeding a female twice in the same year is frowned upon by many breeders.

Doing so is very hard on the mom's body, and many believe that it will result in a decline in the total number of puppies produced by a dog over her lifetime. Accordingly, many will allow their dog to produce a litter, and then give her a breather during her next heat cycle. This essentially means that they will produce one litter per year. However, other breeders see no reason to avoid breeding dogs in heat, as long as they are healthy and in good physical condition.

In fact, breeders of this mindset often argue that because fertility decreases with age and most dogs will be six months older with every heat cycle, you can produce more puppies over the course of a female's life by breeding in back to back heat cycles during the prime reproductive years of a dog's life.

How Many Litters or Puppies Can a Dog Produce in Her Lifetime?
Theoretically, a single female dog could produce quite a few litters in her lifetime. Assuming that a female produced two litters per year starting at 1 year of age and continued doing so until she was 8 years of age, she'd produce 14 litters over her lifetime. As previously mentioned, litter size varies based on a number of factors, but for argument's sake, we will assume that she has about five puppies in each litter.

That means that theoretically a single dog may be physically capable of producing upwards of 70 puppies (!) over the course of her life. However, this would be madness. Breeding a dog this many times would almost certainly compromise her health, and this type of pedal to the metal breeding is more characteristic of puppy mills and unscrupulous breeders than conscientious breeders who value the well-being of their pups.

Additionally, some of the registration organizations will not allow you to register an unlimited number of litters. For example, the Kennel Club of the UK will only allow you to register up to six litters from a single mother.


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Kelly Roper

Your dog has been pregnant for about 63 days and you may even know her potential due date, but being able to recognize when she is about to give birth can help you be there for her when she needs you most. A lot happens during gestation before a dog gives birth.

You will need to watch for a few simple signs that your dog is going into labor soon, such as nesting behavior, a loss of appetite, panting, and more. Plus, one sure-fire prediction method can help you determine when your dog is about to go into labor.

Temperature Drop Predicts Labor
Keeping a daily chart of your dog's rectal temperature during the final week of pregnancy can help you determine when labor will begin. A dog's normal temperature is between 100 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Before labor, the temperature drops to about 97 degrees and remains that low for two consecutive readings taken 12 hours apart.

You may see other temporary temperature drops, but the two consecutive readings with a lower temperature is what you are looking for. Once this happens, labor will commence within 24 hours. This is truly the most accurate sign your dog is going into labor.

Nesting Behavior Is a Sign of Dog Labor
Nesting behavior is another sign labor will soon begin since dogs instinctively look for a safe place to deliver their pups. To help her, you can provide a low-sided box lined with newspaper and blankets. Your dog will thoroughly rumple this bedding into a makeshift nest in preparation for whelping. This activity usually begins about a week before the due date, but your dog will seriously begin to nest a day or so before delivery.

Loss of Appetite and Vomiting Precede Labor
In many cases, a pregnant dog will stop eating a day or two before she goes into labor. Even if she does eat, she may throw up in the early stages of labor. She will also likely have a large bowel movement within 24 hours of going into labor due to pressure from the pups as they move into position for birth.

Milk Production
Is An Early Sign

Not all females come into milk before they deliver their pups, but some do. Watch for extended nipples and swollen breasts. You may even notice a little leakage just before labor begins. For some dogs, this is a good sign to let you know labor is coming. However, given the range of time it can take for a dog to start lactating before labor, this is one of the hardest signs to use.

Acts Lethargic and Tired
Many females spend a great deal of time resting prior to labor since carrying a litter saps a lot of energy, especially in those final days before delivery. If your pet seems even more lethargic than she did a day or two ago and is close to her due date, it could be a sign labor is about to begin.

Anxiety and Restlessness Are Big Signs Labor Has Begun
Anxiety over impending labor can give your dog a worried look when she senses delivery time is near. You may notice she furrows her brows, and her eyes may water slightly. She may also glue herself to your side and not want to let you out of her sight once she feels labor is about to begin. One of the best ways to help your dog when she is giving birth is to simply be there with love and encouragement.

Panting Is a Sign
a Dog Is in Labor

How to tell when your dog is actually in labor? A pregnant dog panting while resting is almost a certain sign that labor has begun. Your dog will pant rapidly for periods and then pause for a few moments only to begin again.

Shivering and Contractions Indicate Your Dog Is in Labor
The onset of shivering usually indicates the female's temperature is rising. At this point, you may notice her abdomen tense up or ripple periodically with early contractions. When you see these signs, gently lay your hands on either side of her abdomen.

Her stomach will feel hard during a contraction, and you will feel it relax again once the contraction is over. So how long is a dog in labor? It can vary quite a bit depending on the individual bitch, but this first stage of a dog's labor typically lasts two to three hours before she begins pushing that first pup out, and she may want to be very close to you until it is time to begin.

Begins Pushing
You will definitely know your dog is in labor once she begins pushing. Some dogs will lay down as they begin to push out a pup while others will squat on all four legs as though they are trying to pass a stool. The female will focus on pushing and pay relatively little attention to anything else going on around her. You should not try to help her give birth, but if you notice any signs of distress, call your vet.

Amniotic Sac Emerges
The fluid-filled amniotic sac begins to protrude from the vulva as the pup begins making its way through the birth canal. It may take several pushes before the pup and its placenta are fully delivered. Sometimes a placenta is retained, but it is usually pushed out before the next pup's arrival. This brings up the issue of when you will see the bitch's water break. Sometimes the sac will rupture as it emerges from the vulva. You can expect delivery within minutes or even seconds of this happening. Other times the puppy is still in the sac after delivery, and the mother will chew the sac to open it.

This releases the fluid, and then the mother will clean the pup's face and stimulate it to begin breathing. If you see the bitch is bleeding a little at this point, it is natural. Dogs do not bleed before labor unless there is some kind of complication such as premature separation of a sac from the uterus, but it is not unusual for the bitch to get a small tear in her vulva when pushing out the first pup. Most tears heal quickly on their own after the litter is delivered.

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A normal pregnancy lasts for 63 days starting with the date of ovulation.

Pregnancy in dogs is divided into three stages of 21 days each. Puppies may be whelped seven days before or after the due date. Puppies not whelped during this period of time may suffer birth complications including death.


A bitch that has received all the proper care before pregnancy is likely to have an easier time. Pre-pregnancy preparation includes a diet with ample nutrients, a normal weight, and regular veterinary care. All vaccinations should be up to date. The immunities against disease will get passed on in part to the puppies.

Weeks 1-3 - Early Pregnancy
Early pregnancy can be difficult to detect. A large number of dams will not show any obvious signs. Some commentators say that looking at the dam's nipples is a good test. They observe that the nipples start having a pink hue in early pregnancy. The dam can be more subdued during this time. She may eat a bit more but no effort should be made to fatten her up. Sometimes a mucous discharge can be observed. The amount of the discharge is oftentimes so scant or so lost in the fur of the dam that it will be missed even by a breeder looking for it.

Implantation of the embryonic puppy in the uterus occurs about 19 days after conception. Veterinarians may be able to palpate the uterus for the existence of puppies at the end of this period. It is important not to attempt to palpate without some skill. Too much pressure applied to the uterus can cause damage to the developing puppies and possibly a miscarriage.

Weeks 4-6 - Visible Growth
The dam will be more observably pregnant. In this period she will start putting on weight and the belly will start expanding. Some dams do get morning sickness or pregnancy nausea for a few days during this period usually in week four. The dam may vomit and have a loss of appetite. Bitches may be fed puppy food to help increase calories and boost nutrition.

An ultrasound can confirm the pregnancy and give some idea of puppy count in as early as the 25th day. An ultrasound scan examination is a non-invasive and non-painful test that produces a visualization of the developing fetuses using sound waves. There are no harmful side effects to the dam or the puppies. Many veterinarian offices have this technology in-house. It is relatively inexpensive. Some breeders will have the dam checked for relaxin. High levels of this hormone are a positive test of pregnancy. A blood test for relaxin can be performed as early as the 22-25th day of pregnancy.

Weeks 7-9 - Prenatal Stage
The dam's abdomen continues to expand. She will eat more and should absolutely be offered an increase in food intake - bigger meals, or more frequent meals. The nipples may start to drip the lightly colored colostrum milk that will be so important in conveying the immunity antibodies to the newborn puppies. The dam close to the whelping date will often pick a nesting spot. The dam may drag clothes to her own chosen location.

An x-ray can not be used until late in the pregnancy. The fetal puppies do not develop a bony skeleton until after day 45. An x-ray will reveal the number of puppies and, occasionally, a problem of the size of the puppies and the bony structure of the pelvis. It is a cheap way to get a puppy count if not done previously. The over-exposure to the dam and the puppy's of radiation makes it a good idea to avoid multiple x-rays if at all possible.


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A dog breeder should have the whelping box and whelping kit fully stocked up and ready by the 50th day of the female dog's pregnancy. Human interventions should be kept at a minimum but human monitoring should be constant. In other words, do not try to be overly helpful but make sure you observe any changes in the pregnant dam throughout her pregnancy and even more during labor.

Cesarean Sections
First of all, a breeder should prepare for the eventuality that a surgical delivery may be necessary for the dam. In a few breeds, the chance of a cesarean delivery exceeds the chance of a normal whelping. Any breeder with a brachycephalic breed (e.g. Bulldog, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog) should make arrangements for a planned c-section.


The attempt to try to save the cost of a surgical delivery in these breeds simply is not worth it. The death of puppies and the dam can happen especially if emergency veterinary care is not immediately available. Other breeds especially many toy breeds have high rates of surgical deliveries.

Arrangements should be made at least two weeks ahead of the expected whelping date for surgical delivery to be scheduled.

In some situations, a veterinarian may wait until the onset of natural labor - especially in a 1st time dam, or may allow a trial natural labor and delivery if emergency facilities are not a long distance away. Some veterinarians will want some dogs checked into the veterinary clinic a day or so before a scheduled c-section.

Preparation for Labor
In all cases, a person waiting for a litter to be delivered should know how the veterinarian wants to proceed in cases that may involve after-hour emergencies. Some veterinary clinics refer to specific animal emergency hospitals for after hour deliveries and emergencies. It is best to have these contacts already known and maybe touch base a couple of weeks in advance. It is always stressful to work with the same veterinarian for years and years, and throughout the pregnancy only to have to turn to Google and a list of strangers when the special day finally unfolds.

For the vast majority of dogs, thankfully, the dam will be able to handle the whole event herself while the nervous breeder paces the floor. It is smart to have a few supplies purchased in advance including hemostat, rounded-point scissors, a package of unwaxed dental floss, syringe, a digital rectal thermometer, lubricant, a postal scale, a can of goat's milk, surgical gloves, flashlight.

The whelping box should be bought or built by the final three weeks of pregnancy. The dam should be allowed to get a chance to get comfortable in it. If she wants to add some of her own "nesting" materials, like old clothes, let her do so. She should not be forced into the box or she may just decide to give birth on a bed just because she can.

The whelping box should be big enough for her to be able to turn around, but not so big that she rejects it as an unsafe place to have her pups. She should feel secure in it. A typical feature of a whelping box is the "pig rail" or guardrail around the edge of the box. This rail prevents the dam from accidentally reclining on her own puppies and smothering them.

The whelping box needs to be in a warm room with no air stream and drops in temperature. Drafts, of course, are bad for puppies and the box should be positioned in a place that does not have them. Puppies have very little ability to keep themselves warm. A whelping box outdoors will probably need some alternative heating source like heating pads. Ideally, a dam and pups will be in an indoor kennel or home. A room in which the temperature can be kept at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit is safe for newborn puppies.

Stages of Labor and Delivery in Dogs
Pregnancy lasts an average of 63 days. Puppies born at least at the 58th day have a high chance of a healthy birth. Similarly, puppies whelped at the 69th are within the normal variance. Breeders who want to get a better idea of when labor will start may take the rectal temperature of the dam twice a day beginning on day 55 or 56 using a dog thermometer. Normally, the dam will have a temperature of 100-101 degrees Fahrenheit. A drop below 100 degrees generally means that labor will start within the next 24 hours.

Soft Contractions
In the first stage of labor, the contractions may not be visible. This phase lasts between six and eighteen hours. The dam may be restless, not eat, and display nesting behavior. The dam may pant and be obviously uncomfortable. During this time, the cervix is dilating and thinned in order for the puppies to pass through during the second phase, active labor.

Active Labor
Active labor is when the puppies are whelped. This phase can go on for as long as 24 hours. The dam will have strong visible contractions. She may squat or lay down. A light colored liquid fluid may be expelled. The excessive fluid that is bright red or full of pus is a sign of infection. The first puppy takes the longest to deliver. The puppy will look like a purple blob enveloped in its amniotic sac. The dam normally will lick the sac, sever and eat the umbilical cord. She will vigorously lick the puppy. If she does not break the sac, an intervention will be necessary. A massage with a towel should be enough to free the puppy and get it breathing.

Each puppy has a placenta which in uterus provided its nourishment from the dam. Dams will eat the placentas (a source of the hormone oxytocin) or they may be removed. Puppies should emerge every twenty to thirty minutes. It is normal for dams to take a couple hours break between puppies especially if there are many puppies to deliver. Dams that have whelped prior litters will generally have shorter labors that those having a first litter.

Passage of Placentas
In the final phase, the remaining placentas are expelled. It is important that all placentas are expelled. A retained placenta can be the source of serious infection. Therefore, take notes of the expected puppy count and tick each one off as soon as a puppy is born and its placenta expelled. Do not panic if you are missing one placenta or two, the female might have eaten it without you noticing this happening.


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TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week One
Fertilization occurs

2 cell embryos are in the oviduct

The embryo is fairly resistant to external interference in development

Possible morning sickness

Possible personality changes

Normal feeding

Check any and all medications with vet prior to administering

No insecticides - flea treatments

No live vaccines

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Two (Days 8-14)
Embryo will be 4 cell at start of week and 64 cell by end of week

Embryo enters the uterus

Possible morning sickness (can also come in week 5)

Continue as with Week One

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Three (Days 15-21)
Day 19 - Implantation of embryos in uterus

The embryo is sensitive to external interference in development

See above

Make sure week 3 is calm for the bitch

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Four (Days 22-28)
Development of eyes and spinal cords

Faces take shape

Fetuses grow from 5-10 mm to 14-15 mm

Organogenesis begins โ€“ Embryos are at their most susceptible to defects

Days 26 โ€“ 32 are the best days to palpitate (i.e.. feel for the puppies)

Possible clear vaginal discharge

Mammary development begins

After Day 26, palpitation may be possible to diagnose pregnancy

Limit strenuous activity (such as working, jumping, long runs)

Add Omega 3+ oil or similar daily

Schedule ultrasound or palpitation with vet if desired (day 28-30 is good for ultrasound)

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Five (Days 29-35)
Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws

Fetuses look like dogs

Gender can be determined

Eyes (previously open) now close

Fetuses grow from 18 mm โ€“ 30 mm

Organogenesis ends โ€” embryos are fairly resistant to interference with development

Swelling becomes noticeable

Loss of "tuck-up"

Weight will start to increase

Slightly increase amount of food and switch to puppy kibble. If you feed one meal a day, add an extra meal. If you feed twice a day, slightly increase one of the meals.

Palpitation no longer possible due to fluids in uterus

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Six (Days 36-42)
Development of skin pigment

Fetuses should weigh around 6 grams and be 45 mm long

Fetal heartbeats can be heard with stethoscope

Nipples darken and enlarge

Abdomen continues to enlarge

Increase the amount of food in the extra meal

Bitch can start sleeping in whelping box

Assemble whelping box

By this time you should be fairly sure that the bitch is pregnant.

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Seven (Days 43-49)
Growth and development continues

Abdomen hair will start shedding

The bitch will start to look pregnant at this point

Slightly increase both meals

Stop any rough play or jumping

Radiographs (X-rays) possible to determine number and size of puppies

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Eight (Days 50-57)
Fetal movement can be detected when bitch is at rest

Puppies can safely be born from about day 56

Milk may be squeezed from nipples

The bitch will be very large

Add moderate lunch

Gather whelping kit

Prepare phone list for help and support. It should include your vet's phone number, the emergency clinic's phone number, the number of any friends who will be offering support during whelping, and anyone else you might need to contact before, during, or after whelping

Make sure your car is gassed up and ready for a possible emergency trip to the vet's office.

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Week Nine (Days 58-65)
Growth and Development continues

Nesting behavior may be seen

Bitch may become distressed (panting, pacing, acting uncomfortable)

When temperature drops significantly, puppies should be born within 24 hours

Appetite may disappear as whelping approaches

Start taking temperature three times a day

Make sure your phone's battery is loaded (if you have cordless phone or mobile)

Keep detailed records on temperature and behavior of bitch

Double check that whelping supplies are ready

TIMELINE OF DOG PREGNANCY - This photo courtesy of National Geographic series
Post Partum
Make sure each puppy gets some of the bitch's colostrum (first milk) within first 24 hours

Lochia (vaginal discharge) should be reddish to reddish-brown (green is okay on first day). If you see black discharge, contact your vet immediately!

Within 5-6 hours of last puppy's birth, you can take bitch and puppies to vet for check up if something seems to be wrong. The vet will ensure that the bitch has not retained any puppies or placentas and that the puppies are in good health. You especially want to check for cleft palates as these puppies probably won't survive and should be euthanized now.




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Week 1
A newborn puppy spends 90% of its time sleeping. All its energy is used for feeding and growing, and its weight will double in the first 10 days. A newborn is unable to support its own weight yet, but can crawl and wiggle about using its front legs.

Birth to 2 weeks - Neonatal stage and dependence on mother dog
From birth to two weeks, puppies are completely dependent on mom for food and care, such as keeping themselves clean. The senses of touch and taste are present at birth. Neonatal puppies have limited movement and are capable of only a slow crawl.

2-3 weeks - Transitional stage and development of senses and weaning
From two to four weeks, puppies become aware of and interact with their litter mates as well as their mother. Their eyes open and their sight is well developed by five weeks. The senses of hearing and smell are developing, their baby teeth start emerging.

During this stage, puppies begin to walk, bark and wag their tails. By the end of this period, puppies are able to eliminate without their mother's stimulation. Weaning from the mother also begins during this phase. At around three weeks, puppies should be started on solid food. Offer the puppies small amounts of soft food in a shallow dish. By the time the puppies are eight weeks old, they should be eating solid food and no longer nursing.

At this point, the pup becomes chattier and starts to test out its vocal skills with yelps, whines, and barks. By week three, a newborn will take its first wobbly steps. This is a time of rapid physical and sensory development for any puppy. They begin to play with their littermates, and their personalities start to become evident. They will develop bladder control and so move away from where they sleep when they need to go.

Weeks 4-11
Puppies begin transitioning to solid food at around week 4 and develop their baby teeth at week 6. In weeks six to eight a pup will learn to accept others as a part of the family. By the time the puppy reaches 10 weeks old, they might be a little scared of meeting new people. Staying with their mother and littermates at this stage helps a puppy learn useful skills like bite inhibition, how to understand and react to normal canine communication, and their place in doggy society.

12-16 weeks - Training, vaccinations and socialization
From four to six weeks, puppies continue to be influenced by their mother and litter mates. They learn to play, gaining needed social skills from litter mates, such as inhibited biting - biting to play, not to hurt. The puppies also learn the ins and outs of group structure and ranking within the group. Puppies become much more vocal during this period, with the appearance of play barking and growling.

At this point, if mom is aggressive or fearful of people, the puppies may be affected by her attitude. To socialize your puppies to humans, have a variety of people interacting with them - young with supervision and old, male and female. During the socialization period, it is also very important to expose your puppy to other normal experiences, such as car rides, crate-training, vacuum-cleaning, ringing doorbells, and a variety of objects and sounds. Also, handling of the feet and body parts is a good thing for a puppy to experience at an early age.

Training and socialization can begin very early, from the beginning of this socialization period, but do not permanently separate a puppy from his mother and siblings before eight weeks of age. House-training can begin as early as five weeks, when puppies will follow their mother through a dog door or can be taken out for elimination lessons.

At approximately six weeks, puppies can begin in-home training. You should handle all parts of the puppy, introduce his first collar and lead, encourage him to come using his name, and reward him with praise and treats. At this age, you can also start training puppies with positive reinforcement methods: using a clicker, praise and rewards.

At about eight weeks, puppies start experiencing fear - everyday objects and experiences can alarm them. This is a perfectly normal reaction - it does not mean that you will have a fearful dog. You do not want to socialize your puppies with other dogs and cats until the puppies have been vaccinated, since they may pick up diseases - such as parvo, distemper, and hepatitis, that can be fatal to puppies. In general, about a week after the second parvo or distemper vaccination, it is reasonably safe for your puppy to play with other similarly vaccinated puppies, in a class with a relationship-based trainer. Ask your veterinarian for information pertaining to your individual puppy and whether she or he knows of any parvo or distemper outbreaks in your area.

4-6 Months - Establishing hierarchy within the group
During this period, puppies grow rapidly and you may notice daily changes. Even though puppies are very energetic, do not exercise your puppy too much, since he can overdo it. Among themselves, puppies begin to use ranking in their group structure - that is, they start testing where they fit in. Puppies may experience another fear phase that lasts about a month and seems to come from nowhere. Again, this is a perfectly normal part of puppy development and is nothing to be alarmed about.

6-12 months - Adolescent stage and continued training and socialization
Like most adolescents, puppies are very rambunctious, so continue the process of training and socializing your dog during this phase. Socialization and training are necessary if you want your puppy to be comfortable and act acceptably in public places such as dog parks and beaches, or anywhere that she will meet new dogs and new people.

1-2 years - Social maturity and ongoing training
By this age, your dog has reached adulthood, but changes in social preferences and habits can occur up to two years of age. Ongoing training will ensure a respectful and fun relationship between your dog and all human family members, which makes having an animal in the family a daily pleasure.


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Rita Fae

Pregnancy in dogs can be a wonderful time to care for your beloved pet. A pregnant dog experiences changes in hormones, weight, appetite, and behavior - just like humans. If you think your dog may be pregnant, you may want to start looking for the signs of pregnancy in dogs. Many signs do not show up until the first month has nearly passed, so be prepared to notice changes.

Your pregnant dog will need more affection and attention during this time. Be cautious not to force the pregnant dog into strenuous activities, and be sure to consult a veterinarian about medications and food for pregnant dogs. Your veterinarian is the best source of information on pregnant dogs, but the following description of signs, behaviors, and caring for pregnancy in dogs can also help.

Behavior of Pregnant Dogs
The behavior of pregnant dogs will change, in part due to hormonal changes and due to the same mothering nature that all mammals experience. Pregnant dogs may become less active and lethargic and may not want to eat regular foods. Beware if the pregnant dog becomes withdrawn or looses her appetite, as this can be a sign of pregnancy complications. However, it is normal for pregnant dogs to experience morning sickness from the hormonal changes, which can affect the appetites also.

These behaviors of pregnant dogs are also signs of depression, so you may want to consult the veterinarian if these behaviors are persistent.The dog may scratch at the floor and some dogs may begin to hoard food and other items. This is a normal behavior for pregnant dogs as they begin to experience nesting urges. Another change in behavior of pregnant dogs is their demeanor. During pregnancy, your dog may become unusually irritable to noise and strangers while others want more attention and affection.

Caring for Pregnant Dogs
Caring for pregnant dogs is important for health and nutrition of the dog and her puppies. Feed the pregnant dog premium adult food that is high in protein, fat and minerals. The pregnant dog's eating needs will increase about one and a half times the normal rate, so you may need to purchase more food for pregnant dogs.Do not withhold food from a pregnant dog, as she will need extra nutrition for strong and healthy puppies. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on performance foods for pregnant dogs. The pregnant dog may also eat more frequently, but in smaller amounts. This is normal, especially if she is experiencing morning sickness.


At other times more food for pregnant dogs is necessary because she may suddenly be ravenous. This is also normal, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy in dogs as this is when the puppy's fetal growth is the highest. The increase of food for pregnant dogs may continue through the first few weeks of nursing.Caring for pregnant dogs includes a concern for obesity and blood sugar problems that may place the unborn puppies and the mother at risk.

However, this is not the time to place the pregnant dog on an invasive or extreme dietary change. Also, a consultation with the veterinarian can help you discover if she has blood sugar problems.It is generally not a good idea to add dietary supplements when caring for pregnant dogs. Too much calcium or other minerals and vitamins may cause problems with the pregnant dog's health and her puppies. Please consult the veterinarian for information on food for pregnant dogs and adding dietary supplements.

Exercise for Pregnant Dogs
Exercise for pregnant dogs should not be intense. Do not add stress to the pregnant dog's situation by taking her to dog shows or committing her to obedience training. As with all pregnant mothers, a pregnancy in dogs means calm, non-strenuous exercise. Regular short walks and light play time as well as attention are all good exercises for pregnant dogs. Do not over-stimulate the pregnant dog, but also do not let her become lethargic.

During the last three weeks of pregnancy in dogs, it is important that the pregnant dog be separated from other dogs and animals. Indoor exercise for pregnant dogs is preferable to outdoor walks during this time. This will prevent her from contracting parasites and illnesses that can impact her and her puppy's health. Another reason exercise for pregnant dogs should be done indoors during the last three weeks is the possibility of canine herpes, a serious illness that can cause stillborn puppies.

Treatments for Pregnant Dogs
Treatments for pregnant dogs that include a vaccination such as flea, worm, and parasites cannot be administered at home without consulting a veterinarian. There are few treatments for pregnant dogs, and avoiding medications as much as possible can protect the unborn puppies. External and internal parasites like roundworm and fleas do require specific treatments. It is important to consult the veterinarian, as you do not want to expose the puppies to these parasites at birth.

Some treatments for pregnant dogs are fine, such as continuing heartworm prevention medication. All heartworm treatments for pregnant dogs are safe. There are several roundworm and hookworm treatments that are important to protect the newborn puppies from exposure. However, not all flea treatments for pregnant dogs are safe. Currently, only Capstar and Revolution flea treatments are approved specifically for pregnancy in dogs.

Pre-birth Care of the Dog
As your dog's abdomen grows, she may begin acting more tired, thirsty, and irritable. Make sure she has a place to go when she wants to rest apart from hectic family life. Most dogs will want to stay close to their owners, but may appreciate short periods to themselves where they won't be bothered and can begin nesting. As mentioned above, provide a whelping box for the puppies several days or weeks in advance. Keep it in a clean, dry area, and do not let other animals or children around it, as the smell may alarm the mother who is preparing to whelp there.

Shortly before birth, the pregnant dog may rustle through newspapers or even carry pieces of family clothing to her whelping box in her preparations for nesting, or whelping. Protect her secluded area by keeping lights low and family members or visitors away from the area. Avoid doing things that could startle or upset a pregnant dog, like having new carpet installed or removing long-time furniture with which she is familiar. Unfamiliar scents, sounds, and sights can be upsetting to the dog that is preparing to whelp.


An owner's goal should be to keep the household running as smoothly and calmly as possible during this critical time in the dog's pregnancy. If possible, postpone visitors' prolonged stays or the children having lots of sleepover guests. Most dogs adjust fine, but a nervous or insecure pregnant dog may look for another, more distant and less exposed area to have her babies.

Remind the children of the household that your female dog is expecting puppies, and they should treat her gently, and with care. Although most dogs continue to romp and play as usual, it is a good idea not to get the dog too excited when her due-date gets close, just in case complications should happen to develop.

With her increased girth and possible pre-birth labor, she may get out of breath quicker than usual and require a nap more frequently than before. Keep water before her at all times.During labor, your dog will appreciate your letting nature take its course. If your help is needed, stay calm and focused. The last thing your dog needs is a hysterical or nervous owner trying to deliver puppies in an emergency situation. Keep the vet's number posted in a prominent place during the last few weeks of your dog's pregnancy. Get the emergency number for after-hours and weekends, in case the birth or related difficulties should occur during those times.


Check the pregnant dog once or twice a day for signs of labor. Also look for symptoms of distress if the labor does not proceed as it should. Have a car available for possible emergency transportation of your dog if things take a turn for the worse. Generally, birth in animals is a natural process, and most experience few if any problems. But it is a good idea to be prepared just in case so you won't have regrets later.

There are several signs of pregnancy in dogs, but these generally do not appear until a month after mating. Therefore, it is important to consult your veterinarian if the dog may be pregnant. Like human mothers, pregnant dogs experience hormone changes and nesting needs that may impact their behavior. Following the above tips will ensure that your dog is comfortable and safe during pregnancy and will also ensure that she gives birth to healthy, happy puppies.







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It is important to prepare an emergency kit before momma dog gives birth to its fur child, below are the common necessities:

Forms & Documents
You will want to have some paperwork to document the mama's temperature to help predict the arrival of the puppies as well as document each puppy as he is born.

Temperature Plotting Sheet โ€“ Tracking Mama's temperature 3 times a day will help you predict when the puppies will arrive.

Birth Documentation Chart โ€“ When each of puppies were born - document them individually. Shave mark, color collar, distinguishing features, time of birth, etc.

Puppy Weight Chart โ€“ Track your puppies weights daily to make sure their gaining each day. Having a handy chart next to your puppy scale or whelping box makes it easy to do this on a daily basis.

Vet and Emergency Vet Phone Number โ€“ Keep important phone numbers handy including your vet, emergency vet, and friends or family to help. It is a good idea to have them written down (as well as programmed in your phone) just in case someone else helping can make the call.

Puppy Identification
Beard Trimmer โ€“ Usually, newborn puppies have some small differences in size and shade of color, but overall it was tough to tell the newborn pups apart. When each pup was born - carefuly shave an area to identify each puppy. For example, left shoulder, right shoulder, left hip, right hip, etc. An inexpensive battery powered beard trimmer could suit this.

Puppy Collars โ€“ Not your regular nylon buckle puppy collars. You will need something much smaller for your newborn pups. Velcro Puppy ID bands from Amazon could suit here.

Aspiration Bulb
It is hard to see whether a pup is breathing normally, hence if you think that the pup is having difficulty breathing, use the aspiration bulb to suction the pup's mouth, nose, and throat. It is used to help clear out the airways to help the pups start breathing. To use the bulb syringe, squeeze the air out of the bulb. Keep the bulb squeezed. Gently place the tip of the squeezed bulb into a nostril. Release the bulb to let the air back into the bulb. Suction the other nostril the same way.


Whelping Box
A whelping box is necessary for all puppy deliveries, as the mom can feel comfortable before, during, and after whelping. You can either buy or DIY your own whelping boxes, you can use a cardboard box with the front cut down so that the mother can go in and out easily. The sides only need to high enough to prevent any drafts from reaching the pups.

Digital Thermometer
Start taking her temperature 10-14 before her expected due date. When the temperature drops 98 to 99 Fahrenheit (36-37 Celcius), get ready for fur babies!

Indoor & Outdoor Thermometer
To monitor the temperature of the whelping box.

Heat Lamp
Newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperature. It is recommended for owners to buy heat lamps with clamp and attach the lamp to the edge of the whelping box. As mentioned newborns cannot regulate their heat, hence you will want to make sure they can get away if it is too hot.

Emergency Supplies
These items are must-have for a few scenarios: Sterile Scissors, Gloves, Heavy thread or dental floss - It is used to tie umbilical cords and Antiseptic solution. Additionally, have your regular vet phone numbers on hand, as well as an after-hours animal emergency hospital, most whelping occurs during predawn hours.

Sterile Scissors
A pair of sterile scissors come in handy if the momma pup does not chew each umbilical cord on her own, hence you will need to cut the cord. How to cut an umbilical cord? You will need to cut about an inch from the pup's belly, and tie the cord off with the dental floss 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the puppy's body.

Antiseptic Solution
An antiseptic solution will only be used if there's a wound, but be gentle to it as it will feel pain when the solution is been applied.

Hand Sanitizer
Try to keep yourself as sanitary as possible. We used hand sanitizer not only during the whelping, but the entire 8 weeks we had the litter at our house.

for taking a rectal temperature and in case one of the puppies gets stuck.

Use to clamp the umbilical cord. We kept ours clamped for several minutes after cutting the cord to allow the blood to clot or stop bleeding.

Unwaxed Dental Floss
Use to tie off the umbilical cord.

Iodine Prep Pads
Use on the cut umbilical cords to keep the area as clean as possible.

Head Lamp
A headlamp will allow you both your hands to be free while shining a nice light in all the little nooks and crannies.

Puppy (Baby) Scale
You want to make sure your puppies are gaining weight.

Garbage Bag or Can
Last year we just had the garbage bag.



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DIY a whelping box for your furball! There are many materials that you can use to make a box. Here are the steps on how you should do it:

Step 1
Measure and cut all the lengths that you need. On one of the sides, cut out an entrance- the size of this will depend on the breed of the mother. You will need to estimate how low does it need to be for her to easily get in and out.

Step 2
If you are using plastic, use the 90-degree L-Shape trim to glue the sides together. Glue along the inside of the trim and attach one side to each length of the trim. If you are using wood, nail the sides together.

Step 3
Attach the base, you could glue the trim on the inside or the outside of the box, again, if you are using wood, just nail the sides to base.

Step 4
Attach the rail, if using plastic, glue one side of the plastic trim to the side of the box around 4 inches from the base. If using wood, glue the railing to the sides of the box around 4 inches from the base.



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Giving birth can be a frightening, confusing and painful experience for both the dog and the owner. Knowing and understanding normal labor and delivery, as well as proper pregnancy care, can help make the process go more smoothly and help you know what is normal and when it is time to get the veterinarian involved. In the bitch, a female dog, gestation lasts 63 days.

Knowing the exact time of conception, however, is difficult since a bitch can be receptive to the male before and after ovulation. For this reason, the time from breeding to delivery is usually somewhere between 58 to 70 days. Your veterinarian can help narrow this time frame by examining the cells of the vaginal wall.


Be aware that just because your bitch bred does not mean she is pregnant. Some dogs will even show signs of pregnancy and not really be pregnant. There is a phenomenon in dogs known as false pregnancy or pseudocyesis. For confirmation of pregnancy, an examination, with ultrasound and possibly X-rays by your veterinarian, is suggested.

Once pregnancy is confirmed, proper care of the mother-to-be is very important. Before breeding, make sure she is up to date on all her vaccinations. It is not recommended to vaccinate your dog during pregnancy. Also, make sure she is dewormed and tests negative for a bacteria known as Brucella. This bacteria can cause abortion in dogs and is also contagious to people.


After breeding and conception, most bitches do well during the first 4 to 5 weeks of pregnancy and do not need any special treatments. Things start to change during the last trimester (week 5 to 6). The babies start to rapidly develop and this results in a significant nutritional drain on the mother.

At this time, you may want to consider gradually changing her diet to a growth type diet or a food specifically made for pregnant or lactating bitches. Continue this diet throughout the remainder of pregnancy and until the puppies are weaned. Vitamins or other supplements are not recommended nor needed. With a proper diet, your dog will receive the proper amount of nutrients.


Excessive amounts can actually result in birth defects. Do not begin feeding your dog a higher calorie food before the last trimester. This can lead to weight gain and fat deposits. This has the potential to cause difficulty in maintaining the pregnancy and can result in problems delivering the puppies.

As the time of delivery approaches, you may want to make a whelping box to provide a safe and clean area for your dog to deliver. Whelping boxes are intended to be easily accessed by the mother but escape proof for the new arrivals. You can use wood, Formica or any building material that is easy to clean. Make the box large enough for the bitch to comfortably stretch out. Make sure the sides are just low enough for the mother to step over and place the box in a warm, dry, draft-free area. If possible, try to choose a quiet and secluded area. Initially, place newspapers on the bottom of the box for easy clean up.


Once all the puppies are born, place blankets or towels to provide some footing for the puppies. Be aware that you must get the bitch used to the whelping box before the birth. If not, she may make her own decision on where to have the puppies โ€“ and this may be a closet, a pile of fresh clean laundry or even in the middle of your bed!

An additional suggestion is to have your dog examined by a veterinarian toward the end of pregnancy. A thorough physical exam, along with ultrasound or X-rays can help determine how many puppies you can expect. This way, you will know when she is done delivering and not just in another resting phase between pups.

Clipping the long hair from the underside of the abdomen allows the puppies to find the nipples easier. A female dog, or bitch, may shed significantly in preparation for delivery. Trimming the rear quarters helps keep the mess to a minimum. If she is not kept clean, she should receive a bath before delivery and then be kept in the house.

Remove the bitch's collar before whelping to eliminate a possible hazard to the puppies. Once labor has begun, do not let her outside except on a leash and bring a towel along in case a puppy is born. Bring a flashlight along if it is nighttime. Check the spot after she urinates for signs of mucus, blood, or other discharge.

Once you know that your dog is pregnant, it is a good idea to get everything ready. Set aside a safe, quiet, comfortable space for her to have her pups free from interruption, noise or stress. Within that space, she will need a whelping box or large basket, which you can either buy pre-made, or make yourself - often a large cardboard box will do. A whelping box or basket needs to be:

In a quiet, secluded room that is kept at around 22ยฐC

Warm and comfortable

Lined with a clean absorbent bedding - towels are perfect

Big enough for your dog to stretch out and turn around in

High enough to stop new-born puppies escaping, but low enough for your dog to step over

Make sure you have plenty of clean towels or paper towel, for clearing up

As the time of delivery approaches, twice daily monitoring of the bitch's body temperature will help alert you to the impending birth. About 24 hours before the beginning of labor, there will be a temporary drop in the body temperature. Normal temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. 24 hours prior to labor, the temperature can drop 98 - 99F.

The cervix and uterus prepare for delivery with smaller contractions that may not be visible to you. Your dog's vulva will begin to swell in preparation for delivery. During this stage of labour, dogs may be very restless and unsettled and mum may pant and shiver โ€“ this is all perfectly normal, so do not worry. After the temperature drop, stage I labor begins, characterized by restlessness and anxiety. You may notice panting, pacing, refusal of food and maybe vomiting. Nesting behavior begins. This is the time to place her in the whelping box - hopefully she is already accustomed to the box.

After getting settled in the whelping box, you may notice her dragging clothing or fabric to the area to form a comfortable bed. You may want to remove any clothing as whelping begins or these pieces of clothing may be permanently stained. This stage of labor typically lasts 6 to 12 hours. At the end of stage I, the cervix is completely dilated. If your dog has not started whelping within 24 hours after beginning stage I labor, veterinary assistance is recommended.

Stage II labor is defined as the part of labor when the puppy is delivered. Visible contractions begin. The abdomen tenses and the bitch begins straining. This action will appear similar to the bitch trying to have a bowel movement. The first puppy should be delivered within 1 to 2 hours of the onset of contractions and straining. Veterinary assistance is strongly encouraged if the first puppy is not delivered within 2 hours after the onset of contractions. After delivery of the puppy, the bitch may enter a resting phase that can last up to 4 hours.

Puppies are usually born within 20 minutes. Active straining will begin again and more puppies will be delivered. If you know there are additional puppies yet to be born and the resting period is longer than 4 hours, veterinary assistance is necessary. This resting phase may not occur after each delivery. Sometimes, several puppies may be born rapidly. It is normal for some of the litter to be born tail-first, so do not be alarmed if this happens. You may need to gently encourage mum to deliver puppies that are tail-first, but be very careful not to tug.

If labour lasts a long time, mum may need to go to the toilet in between deliveries. Keep a close eye on her in case she starts giving birth to the next pup at the same time. A greenish or brown discharge may suggest a placenta has separated. If you see this, a puppy should be born within the next 2-4 hours. If it is not then contact your vet, as there may be a complication with your dog giving birth.


Once a pup is born, your priority is getting them breathing and then getting them nursing on mom. This saves lives. Mom will take care of this but you can help get the job done quickly and take stress off mom. Rather than wait for her, you can:

Get the membranes off the puppy's nose, wipe fluid out of his mouth, rub him and get him breathing.

We suggest using a hand towel to help dry the baby and remove mucus and the amniotic sack from around the nose and mouth.

A bulb syringe (snot-sucker) is helpful at getting junk out of the puppy's mouth especially in smaller breeds. Have one on hand before whelping begins. Once the puppy is breathing and nursing, you can relax a bit.

If needed you can trim the umbilical cord to ยพ inch and dip the umbilical in strong iodine.

After delivery of a puppy, the bitch may enter stage III labor. This is the time when the placenta, after birth, is delivered and usually occurs 5 to 15 minutes after delivery of the puppy. If multiple puppies are born rapidly, several placentas may be expelled together. After the passage of the placenta, the bitch will return to stage II labor. She may continue the resting phase or begin contracting. Throughout whelping, the bitch will fluctuate between stage II and stage III labor until all the puppies are born. It is very important to keep track of the number of placentas. There should be the same number of placentas as puppies. If a placenta is retained in the uterus, the bitch will eventually become quite ill.

The placentas should pass after each puppy has been born. Try to check how many placentas have been passed - note if she eats any, so you will know if any are left inside mum. If you think this has happened, contact your vet as they may need to intervene. During this stage of labour, dogs may be very restless and unsettled and mum may pantand shiver โ€“ this is all perfectly normal, so do not worry.

As soon as the puppy is born (whelped), the mother should immediately start cleaning the puppy. She should begin vigorously licking the puppy, remove him from the amniotic sac if still present and chew the umbilical cord. The bitch may even ingest the placenta. This is not necessary and, sometimes, can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Prompt removal of the placentas can help you keep track of how many placentas she has passed.

Those puppies that are born still in the sack need immediate help. If the mother does not open the sack and begin cleaning the puppy, it is up to you to help. Tear the membrane of the sack and begin cleaning and rubbing the puppy with a clean dry towel. Cleaning other puppies may be necessary if the mother is not showing much interest in her newborns.

Tie off the umbilical cord about 1 inch from the belly wall using string, thread or dental floss. Cut the cord off on the other side of the tie. Clean and rub the puppy vigorously until you hear crying. Place the puppy back with the new mom and make sure she allows the puppies to nurse. Being prepared to assist and understanding newborn puppy care is essential to help the mother and her babies through these first steps of life.


The first puppy often takes the longest to be born - if contractions are weak it can take between 2-4 hours, but if contractions are strong, it should come within 20-30 minutes

There will then be a time gap between following puppies, which can range from five minutes to one and a half hours. As long as your dog is comfortable, a gap between puppies is fine

If at any point, your dog has been straining and having strong contractions for 20-30 minutes, without progressing or producing a puppy, contact you vet urgently

Most puppies are born head first but some come tail first

Puppies are born inside a thin sac, which the mother will remove, enabling them to breathe


After each puppy, your dog should pass an afterbirth (placenta), which they often eat. The placenta is the structure that provides oxygen and nutrients to the puppy while its developing in the womb. A placenta should appear approximately 15 minutes after each puppy, however, they do not always come in order, i.e. a few pups may be born before their placentas are passed. If not all placentas are passed, it is possible for an infection to develop in the weeks following whelping

Between each puppy, your dog should seem comfortable, settled and be licking her newborn until her contractions restart and straining begins again

There will be some clear or bloody fluid coming from your dog's vulva during whelping, this is normal. However, a lot of blood is not normal

You may see a small amount of green tinged discharge following a pup being born, but a thick green discharge without a puppy is a concern

Contact your vet for advice if you are concerned at any point during your dog's whelping.

Hopefully you should not have to intervene during your dog's labour, but occasionally mum may need a bit of help. There are a handful of scenarios where you might need to step in. One pup might need help whilst mum is in the middle of delivering another. In this case, clear the sac that the puppy is in, and quickly dry them against the grain of their fur with a clean cloth.

This rubbing motion will also encourage the pup to take their first breath. If mum has not cleaned a puppy, they may have fluid in their airways. Pop your clean little finger inside their mouth to scoop anything out and wipe their nose. Rub them with a towel to encourage them to cry, as this will clear any fluid that they may have swallowed.

If mum is preoccupied delivering another puppy, you may have to help her cut the umbilical cord of an earlier born puppy. To do this, tie a knot using heavy thread approximately one inch from where the cord attaches to the pup's body. Tie another knot a little further from the first, and use clean scissors to cut the cord between the two knots. Cutting too close to the pup's body can risk its health, and leaving it too long could lead to it being chewed or swallowed by mum.

Puppies are born in a thin membrane that looks like plastic wrap, which needs to be removed within six minutes so the pup does not suffocate. Normally, the mother will do this immediately. If she does not, then you will have to break the membrane yourself.

Right after the membrane comes off, the mother dog will normally lick the puppy, which will stimulate it to breathe and cry. If she does not do this, rub the puppy vigorously with a towel until it starts breathing on its own.

What if your pup can not push her babies out, and all the vets are closed?
For a dog giving birth to a puppy that is stuck, it may not actually be stuck, most of the time she may just be taking a break. Before you intervene, time how long your mother dog has been at her labor. If she is still struggling, you will need to pull it out from the birth canal. How to pull it out?

Step 1 - Check and ensure that the sac has really broken. If you can see fur, proceed to the next step.

Step 2 - Pull-on the sac. If you still see the sac, try to pull on it to see if it is broken. If the sac comes out without the puppy you will start to see the fur of the puppy and know for sure that the puppy is in trouble.

Step 3 - Speak calmly to the mama dog so that she knows you are going to help her.

Step 4 - Grip the puppy with a washcloth. Get a firm grip but be extremely gentle.

Step 5 - Pull: When the mother dog has her next contraction, gently pull down on the puppy.

Step 6 - Ease the puppy out as gentle as you can. Do not let it stay inside any longer, because it will suffocate if the sac has broken.

Step 7 - Clean the puppy as soon as the puppy is out of the mother. If the mother cleans its face, let it do so. If it does not, you will need to give a hand. You should hear the puppy taking his first breath.

Things you SHOULD NOT do during the whelping process:
Put your fingers in the birth canal - can cause trauma and infection

Forcefully remove a puppy

Lift puppies by the umbilical cord

Use a heating pad - can cause burns.

On average, giving birth to an entire litter takes 3-12 hours - from the beginning of contractions and straining. Exact timing varies, but the process should never take longer than 24 hours because after that, the risk of a problem becomes very high. Once your dog has given birth to all her puppies, she is likely to be very hungry, tired and need to rest.

She will need to stay with her puppies to feed them and bond with them. Make they are in a quiet space, free from noise and disturbance. There is a risk of your dog rejecting her puppies if she does not feel comfortable, relaxed and able to bond with them after whelping. Your dog is likely to have a vaginal discharge for up to 6 weeks after whelping but it should not smell. Contact your vet if you are worried.

When you are sure that labour has finished, and that everyone is healthy and happy, get mum something to eat and drink. Give her the normal puppy food she has had throughout pregnancy, as she will need something she is used to that is gentle on her stomach. Try to help her go outside for fresh air and to go to the toilet โ€“ this might be tough to do straight away. Remove and replace anything that has been soiled during delivery, and then give the new family some quiet, quality time together.


(Stage by Stage)







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If you have newborn puppies either in your home or on the way, you are likely "nesting," getting ready for the tiny, squeaking balls of fur. Where will they sleep? How often will they eat? Will they need blankets? How will you know if they are healthy? Puppies are born blind and mostly deaf and without any teeth. But even though they can not see or hear very well, they can make noise.

They make mewling, little sounds. Newborn puppies will open their eyes usually between 10-14 days old. Their eyes are a bluish-gray, hazy color and they can not see very well at first, reports Spruce Pets. A puppy's vision will gradually improve and his eyes will turn their true color between 8-10 weeks of age.

How to Feed
a Newborn Puppy?

A mother dog's milk gives puppies everything they need for the first four weeks of their lives. Although newborn puppies can not walk, they scoot around on their bellies and instinctively find their mother's milk. Puppies usually nurse every couple of hours and sleep the rest of the time.

To make sure puppies are getting enough milk, check them every few hours to make sure they are warm and nursing. If any puppies are crying or seem cold, VCA Hospitals recommends putting them on the mother's back teats because they have the most milk.

Also check often to make sure they are not being pushed away by other puppies. You also can weigh newborn puppies every few days to make sure they are gaining weight. Use a kitchen scale when they are tiny. It depends on the breed, but most puppies should double their birth weight in the first week, says PetMD. They should gain 10% to 15% of birth weight daily.

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Newborn Puppies

If something has happened to the mother, raising orphaned puppies can be very heart-warming, but also difficult to do. The puppies must be fed every couple of hours. If you have never done it before, work with your veterinarian or a rescue group that specializes in puppies for advice. You will feed newborn puppies milk replacement formula that is made just for puppies. Prepare the formula as directed on the package and use the guidelines suggesting how much to give the puppy. Generally, it is 1 cc of formula for every ounce of body weight.

Do not feed cow's milk to puppies. It does not have the same nutrients as dog's milk, points out the AKC, and does not have enough calories, calcium or phosphorus for growing puppies. Feed the puppy with a bottle or syringe, slowly offering milk while the puppy is on his stomach. Do not feed him on his back or he could get milk in his lungs. Be careful not to feed him quickly, which could cause choking. Burp the puppy at the end of each feeding by putting him on your shoulder and slowly rubbing his back until he releases air.

How to Keep Newborn Puppies Warm?
It is very important that the puppies stay in a warm room. If they are with their mother, they will try to stay snuggled up with her and rely on her body heat and each other to stay warm. They can not regulate their own body temperature, so they depend on outside sources for warmth. Have you ever seeing a pile of puppies?

They like to snuggle for the warmth and comfort. When mom leaves to go outside or just get a break, it is important that they have another source for heat. You can either keep the room warm or put a heat lamp over the area where the puppies are being kept. The temperature should be around 85 to 90 degrees F (29.5 to 32 degrees C) for the first few days. After that, it can be lowered to about 80 F (26.7 C) by the end of the first week or so to about 72 F (22.2 C) by the end of the fourth week.

How Often Do Newborn Puppies Poop?
Newborn puppies need help to go to the bathroom. Their mother does this by licking them, which stimulates them to urinate and defecate. If the puppies are orphaned, you can help them by dipping a washcloth or cotton ball in warm water, then gently massaging their bottoms after feeding. It is very important that you do this because puppies can not do this without help until they are about 3 or 4 weeks old. You no doubt will be wondering when newborn puppies can go outside to the bathroom and play.

Puppies need a lot of upbeat interaction with other dogs, especially during the key socialization period when they are between 9 and 14 weeks. But they are also susceptible to illnesses before they are fully vaccinated, which usually is not until they are around 16 weeks old. Your vet likely will say it is OK for your puppy to be outdoors in your own yard as long as you have not had a lot of other dogs around. But you will want to carry your puppy when going for walks or going in and out of the vet's office until he's had all his shots.














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Because newborn puppies have limited ability to regulate their body temperature, bathing them can be dangerous. Usually, it is not recommended that puppies be bathed until they are at least 4 weeks old. First, determine if the newborn really needs a bath - if you can get away with not bathing a newborn that is preferable. If there is no other option, such as when the puppy was not cleaned after birth or is covered in filth, you will need to proceed carefully so as not to chill the little pup.

If you can avoid bathing, leave the puppy until it is 4 weeks old to bathe. If the puppy desperately needs cleaning, you will need to ensure you do everything you can to keep the puppy warm during the procedure and dry him off so he does not get chilled from damp fur or skin. A newborn puppy in this situation will often be frightened and in need, take care to provide all the comfort and support you can.

Only bathe a newborn puppy if really necessary. Usually, their mom provides all the cleaning they need. Avoid immersing a newborn puppy in water or using shampoo, except in the most extreme conditions when other options are not viable. Keep the bathing process as short as possible by having items ready and using an assistant. Return puppy to mom or a warm space as soon as possible. If bathing a newborn puppy is necessary, usually it can be done once and does not require repeating until the puppy is 4 weeks old.

The Minimal Intervention Method
Step 1 - Work in a warm locale Hold puppy close to you for comfort and warmth. Work in a warm place with no drafts.

Step 2 - Use a cloth Use a soft washcloth, or use a cotton ball or gauze square for tiny puppies.

Step 3 - Wet cloth Wet the cloth in warm water, not hot or cold, do not use soap.

Step 4 - Wipe with cloth Start at the puppy's head and work toward their back end and tail. Gently wipe away dirt. Warm up the cloth often with warm water, do not allow it to get cold. Work as quickly as possible so puppy does not have to stay damp longer than necessary.

Step 5 - Dry carefully and quickly Dry the puppy by gently wiping with soft dry cloth, blow dry on lowest warm setting, carefully. Put the puppy back with mom to keep warm or in a warm location. A warm water bottle or other carefully regulated heat source can be used if mom is not available.

The Exceptional Cases Method
Step 1 - Prepare bath If the puppy is caked in a harmful substance, filth and feces, or has fleas, a more invasive bath may be required. This should only be conducted in the most extreme circumstances. Fill a container with a few inches of warm water. Containers should be just large enough to hold the puppy and to let you work. Throughout the bath, make sure water stays warm and does not get cold. Bathe in a warm area free of drafts.

Step 2 - Avoid shampoo If really necessary, use a gentle puppy shampoo. Talk to a veterinarian about what product would be appropriate. Preferably, use fingers to remove debris and dirt.

Step 3 - Wet and work quickly Place the puppy gently in the water and scoop water with your hand over the puppy. Watch the puppy to make sure he does not start shivering or show other signs of chill, adjust water temperature accordingly. Work quickly to minimize exposure. Have an assistant present if possible to help speed up the process. Make sure puppy's head stays well above the water line and avoid getting water on the puppies face.

Step 4 - Wipe off Gently wipe with a soft cloth, or piece of gauze. Use gentle puppy shampoo on especially soiled areas or pick off debris, keep away from the eyes, nose and mouth.

Step 5 - Dry Dry puppy with soft cloth and blow dry on a low setting. Pick off fleas manually with soft tipped tweezers. Return puppy to mom as soon as possible or put in a temperature controlled area with a heat source once bathing is complete.


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Newborn dogs need a lot of care, in addition to being with their mother constantly. If the mother has lived in the field or if the puppies were collected shortly after birth, they could be exposed to parasites like fleas.

Smaller puppies are easier targets of fleas because they provide the perfect environment for them โ€“ they are warm, produce moisture and have blood that serves as food. Fleas are small insects that acts as external parasites to animals, and also to humans. They feed on the blood of their hosts, causing the skin to become itchy and irritated. Plus, fleas can be transmittable from one host to another, so if your dog has fleas, these parasites can attack you as well.


These parasites are not always easy to spot, so you may not know that your litter of small dogs could be infested with them. You can spot these problems if you observe that your newborn puppies are compulsively scratching. Because they are too small, they can not scratch themselves well, so they tend to rub against their mother or their other siblings.

Eliminating fleas in puppies is a complicated problem, since they are still delicate. Because of this, many people wonder how to eliminate fleas in newborn puppies. You may think of the special products that help eliminate fleas on dogs, but you should understand that most anti-flea products are not suitable for newborn pups.

There may be products that are designed for puppies' and adult dogs' use, but even those may be too strong for dogs under three months. Newborn puppies are very sensitive to poisoning and overdose for these types of products.

However, even if your little furry buddy is already three months old, only use anti-flea products when the label indicates that it is suitable for puppies at least three months of age. Usually, the dosage for medications would be lower for small dogs. Remember, very young puppies still do not have fully developed organs, so they cannot easily eliminate waste and toxins they have ingested.


Since puppies are delicate, the more suitable way to get rid of their fleas is to remove them manually and eliminate them. You may also use anti-flea medications suitable for your puppy's age.

1. Look for fleas in your puppies' fur
You will eventually see these insects looking like black or brown spots and would run or jump between their hairs. Usually they can be found on the puppy's neck, belly, underarms and genitals, so inspect these areas well. Also check if there are flea feces in there โ€“ you can find it if you moisten the puppy's coat a little, and you will see small, immobile spots that turn reddish in color if it comes in contact with the water.

2. Bathe your affected puppies in warm water and anti-flea shampoo
Do not make it too hot since newborns are sensitive to temperature - it must be just about the same temperature you had use to bathe a human baby. The warm water will help you wash their hair better and force the fleas to come out of their fur. Shampoo them well and lather with gentle massages, but prevent foam from reaching their ears and eyes. It would be best to avoid shampooing their head altogether, because you have to avoid touching the top of their head that is still delicate. A proper flea shampoo can help get rid of these pests.

Arava Intensive Bio Care Flea and Ticks Botanical Shampoo is a great shampoo as it is super safe for pets, making it delicate for little puppies. It contains a mild concentration of active natural ingredients like essential oils and Dead Sea minerals. This shampoo has a subtle, pleasant herb scent and uses a gentle formula. Another puppy-friendly shampoo is Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo Flea and Tick Formula. It is plant-derived, paraben-free and alcohol-free, making it mild for your doggies. It works well in killing fleas and it has a pleasing and soothing raspberry and mint formula.

3. Remove their fleas using a special comb
Use combs with very fine spikes to eliminate fleas as well as lice and their eggs. Start at the puppy's neck and comb one section at a time until you have covered its whole body and removed all of the fleas. But be careful not to comb them too tight, as it may damage your puppy's skin. You also have to kill them as soon as you have removed them from your dog's fur because if you do not, they would go back in the same puppy or transfer to another. Safari Pet Products Flea Comb is a best-selling flea comb on Amazon because it is an effective remover of fleas and debris. This comb has a double row of teeth to easily pull adult fleas out of the dogs' fur.

4. Dry the puppy
ou would have to dry your puppies well, since fleas like moisture. Repeat this process with each infected puppy of the litter, as well as their mother. Keep your pets clean to avoid being attractive to fleas.

5. Eliminate fleas at home
Once you got rid of the fleas from newborn dogs and their mother, it is important to also get rid of the fleas in their environment to avoid re-infection. You need to wash their beddings or carpets and replace it with clean ones. For additional layer of protection, you can use an anti-flea and tick home spray to kill any remaining fleas around your home that you do not see. Spray some of Vet's Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray indoors, especially on your dog beddings, crates, carpets, rugs and couches and also outdoors on the porch or deck where your dog loves to stay.

This is a plant-based spray that can kill fleas, flea eggs and ticks by contact, without the harsh chemicals present in most insecticides. This is made of essential oils such as peppermint oil and eugenol. You an even spray it on your dog's coat and massage until the product reaches your dog's skin. Carpets and rugs that have been infested by fleas may still have live fleas sticking to it even after you have washed or vacuumed them. Use a powdered flea killer like Fleabusters, a boric-acid based product you can sprinkle your carpets, area rugs, couch, baseboards and other hard surfaces, to eliminate fleas. Leave it on overnight, then vacuum away the next day.

6. Apply topical flea treatment to your puppy
For a long-term solution, you can eliminate fleas with a topical flea treatment for dogs, especially those recommended for your puppy's age and size. Remember, medications like these are not yet appropriate for puppies that are too young. Topical spot-on treatments include squeezing a small vial of goo and applying it to the nape of your dog's neck.

These types of medicines can take 12-48 hours to kill fleas. It is best to apply flea treatment at least 2 days after the dog's bath, to give the dog's skin some time to produce more oil. The natural oil on the dog's skin can help spread the flea treatment over their bodies. Or you can apply it right away - given that your dog's fur is clean, then wait for at least two days before giving your dog a bath.

One vet-recommended dog flea drops in the market is Frontline Plus. This flea and tick treatment is available in different variants suitable for small (5-22 lbs.), medium (23-44 lbs.), large (45-88 lbs.) and extra-large dogs (89-132 lbs.). It is a formulation made with fipronil and (S)-methoprene to kill adult fleas and ticks and also their eggs and larvae. It is suitable for puppies and dogs 8 weeks and older. One box contains three doses, and just use one dose and it can give your puppy protection for the whole month.

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Another great flea-and-tick-killer for puppies is Bayer Advantage II. Like Frontline Plus, it is also available in different variants depending on the size and weight of the dogs, but this one's appropriate for dogs and puppies that are 7 weeks and older. Its active ingredients include imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen. A box contains four doses, and it can start working within 12 hours after application. One dose is good for 30 days, and you only need to reapply the next month.

If you prefer a medication made from natural ingredients, Natural Chemistry Flea and Tick Squeeze on for Dogs is for you. This treatment is made with natural ingredients such as cinnamon oil, mint oil and lemongrass oil. One box contains 5 months' worth of treatment. It is a great repellant and killer of fleas while preventing unknown chemicals to be absorbed by your puppy's skin.

Preventing infestation of fleas
The environment in which the puppies live could be rich in flea eggs, larvae and pupae just waiting to reach maturity, and you can not see them. If your puppy has been infested with fleas before, or if you have discovered that other dogs in your community are ridden with fleas, you have to do something to prevent your puppy from being infested too. First of all, start by keeping your home clean and dry. This also applies to places where your pet spends much time, like your car, garage, basement or pet carrier. Always vacuum your doggy areas thoroughly, especially below the drapes, under furniture edges and your dog's sleeping area. Vacuuming can remove up to 50% of flea eggs.

Use an anti-flea spray or insecticides on your home or directly in your dog's coat. Terra Pet Naturals 100% Pet Naturals of Vermont โ€“ FLEA + TICK Repellent Spray can help prevent and control fleas, ticks and other pests that can dwell in your dog's fur. This product is purely made of natural materials such as essential oils blended with apple cider vinegar. It works effectively in repelling pests, and it is gentle for puppies and dogs with sensitive skin.

You can also stick with the classic flea prevention method of having your puppies wear a flea and tick collar. Arava Flea & Tick Prevention Collar is a great choice for a flea and tick collar, since this is made of premium natural and active herbal ingredients and essential oils, such as peppermint, lemongrass, cinnamon, geranium and more. Essential oils will be infused using a micro-injection technology using a slow-release process, making the collar effective for up to 5 months.


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Create a Private Space for Your Dog and the Puppies
Keep the mother dog and her puppies in a clean, quiet, low-traffic area of the house. If there is too much commotion around her, she may become stressed and neglect her puppies.

Approach the Puppies
With Caution

Although you may want to pet and hold the puppies constantly, it is important not to intervene too much in the first week or two of their lives, as they are very susceptible to disease, and it can be stressful to mom and babies. Use caution when approaching the puppies, as some mothers may show aggression to humans or other household pets if they perceive a threat. As the puppies get older and more rambunctious, your dog will want more and more time to get away and sleep, exercise, or socialize with members of the household. Give your dog space to get away from the puppies, but make sure that she is returning often to check on them.

Monitor Nursing
Newborn puppies should be nursing every one to two hours, so your dog will likely be with them constantly for the first week or two. If you think that your dog may not be producing milk, or is not letting the puppies nurse, contact your veterinarian right away. Medications and vaccines should be avoided while your dog is lactating (nursing).

Provide Warm Bedding
Puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature until they are 3 to 4 weeks old. For the first four weeks of their lives, you should provide a warm, clean box or bedding for the mother and puppies to share. Use a heating pad below the whelping box, or a heating lamp above it to keep the puppies warm. Ensure that there are unheated areas as well, as the puppies will need to be able to move away from the heat source if they become too warm. The warm area should be about 97ยฐF.

Begin Weaning
at 3-4 Weeks of Age

Once the puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old, you can begin the weaning process by giving them access to puppy food. You can mix dry kibble with water or canned puppy food to make it easier for them to eat. They should still have constant access to the mother, as she will continue to nurse them. Over the next few weeks, they will rely more and more on puppy food rather than nursing. Most dogs will wean their puppies by 5 to 6 weeks of age.

Contact Your Vet Just After the Puppies Are Born
Contact your veterinarian to ask for their recommendation regarding when the puppies should first be examined. They may want to see them right away to evaluate for cleft palates, umbilical hernias, and other health concerns, or they may advise you to wait until they are a bit older.

Consider Spaying and Neutering
To help with the serious problem of overpopulation, talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your dog. This is the only birth control for dogs. The cost of an unwanted pregnancy can be very high. Giving a litter of up to 14 puppies proper veterinary care adds up quickly, and emergency cesarean sections can cost thousands of dollars.

Start Socializing the Puppies
At this point, if the mother dog will allow it, you can get the puppies used to your presence. Socializing them at an early age can help ensure that they fit well into a household. Watch for "poor doers" or "runts of the litter" - puppies that are much smaller and not growing as quickly as their littermates, as they could have underlying health conditions affecting their ability to grow.

If you notice that one of your puppies is smaller or has less energy than the others, consult your veterinarian. Puppies should not be taken away from their mother and sent to their new homes too quickly, as they learn very important social rules and behavior from their mother and siblings. Puppies should not be separated from their mother if they are younger than 8 weeks old. Wait until they are 10 weeks old so they will have had the maximum benefit of social interaction with their mother and littermates.

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John Stephan
Micka Virtudazo

More often than not, puppies are born in the middle of the night while you are sleeping. You want to be able to monitor your dog while she is in labor, so make it a habit to check on her every morning, especially as her due date approaches. Your dog's birthing process does not necessarily mean it is over when all those cute and cuddly fur puppies are out. When your female dog gives birth, just like human mothers, her body goes through a lot of physical changes for days, weeks and some even months!


After giving birth, your dog will experience spotting, a process of discharging natural fluids that are mucus-like & bloody. After giving birth, your dog will be physically exhausted and will show some post-partum panting. This will go on for a few hours and then will begin to slow down while motherhood slowly creeps in.

Aside from that, your dog will also experience spotting, a process of discharging natural fluids that are mucus-like & bloody, so there is no need to panic, as that is completely normal! This discharge is called lochia. Monitoring the type of discharge your dog expels will help you determine whether her spotting is normal or already a sign of a serious condition that merits veterinary attention.

Bloody discharge after giving birth may be normal but if you feel like it has long been overdue, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible and ask for medical advice. You need to rule out complications like postpartum hemorrhage, which can result from poor blood clotting. As pet parents, we have that internal "parent" feeling when something does not seem right, follow your gut and get help if you think something is not right!

The spotting of your dog will go through 3 stages. During the first stage, the discharge will be composed of blood and some shreds of fetal membranes. This lasts usually for 3 to 5 days. On the second stage, your dog's lochia will probably become thinner and will turn brown or pink. This will continue until around the 10th day after your dog's delivery. And for the last stage, the lochia will now turn whitish or yellowish and this is where the spotting of your dog will finally end!

After giving birth, changes do not only include physical but mental ones as well. Just like how mentally changing being a mother can be for us humans, it is almost the same for dogs. Your dog will also go through mental changes for delivering a litter of lives into this world. Mental changes include a variety and mix & match of emotions that will result in certain behaviors.

When the pups are being delivered, your female dog is overwhelmed and excited that she puts eating and going to potty temporarily on hold. Her newborn pups can also trigger strong maternal instincts in your dog. Your once calm and well-socialized dog can become possessive or aggressive to whoever goes near her litter. She will also become overprotective and will try to hide her pups from people or other pets at home she sees as a threat. During these times, it is best to give your mama dog a stress-free environment and some privacy.

Immediately After She Gives Birth
Once every puppy has made their grand entry, your momma dog needs postpartum care. This is extremely important for her health and well-being.

Remove and replace all soiled material from the whelping box with clean, soft bedding. Repeat as needed.

Do not bathe your dog after she gives birth. But do gently clean her with a warm damp cloth. Wait a few weeks to give her a full-blown bath. Use a mild soap and rinse her thoroughly to prevent the puppies from coming into contact with any soap residue when they nurse.

Your dog will leak fluids and tissues for up to eight weeks after she gives birth. If a C-section was necessary, your momma dog will leak more post-whelping discharge than she would have as a natural-whelper. This discharge is called lochia and ranges in color, from greenish-black to brownish to brick red. It should be almost odorless. If it gets thick, grey or pale in color and starts to smell, she needs to be seen by your veterinarian right away. She may have an infected retained placenta or metritis, an infection in her uterus.

She should rest quietly and sleep for several hours after she whelps, while the puppies are nursing or sleeping. When she wakes up, she should be bright-eyed, alert, and responsive to her litter of puppies.

In the Days and Weeks After She Gives Birth
If your dog has long fur, give her a sanitary cut. Cut the long hair around her tail and hind legs and her mammary glands. Your groomer or veterinarian can do this for you if you prefer. Then, keep these areas clean.

Monitor her around the clock for the next seven days.

Feed her several small meals throughout each day instead of one large one. She should resume eating and drinking soon after she wakes up from her rest post-whelping. And the amount of food and water she consumes should be significantly larger than before she gave birth, up to four times her intake before she became pregnant. The size of her litter will determine the amount of food and water she will need.

Check her teats daily. You need to watch for signs of heat, redness, swelling, inflammation, discoloration, or pain. Her milk should be white and of normal consistency. It should not be thickening or turning pink, red, green or yellow. If your momma dog shows any of these symptoms, she needs emergency veterinary attention. Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the mammary glands that develops quickly and can become serious just as fast, even to the point of death. If her teats become plugged because she is making more milk than her puppies need, she has developed galactostasis. And this can turn into mastitis.

Watch for signs of eclampsia or milk fever. These signs include restlessness, anxiety, panting, muscle tremors, elevated temperature, whining, and dilated pupils, to name a few. This condition can occur within the first 4 weeks after the puppies are born. If left untreated, it can cause limb rigidity, convulsions, collapse, and even death. Seek your veterinarian's help immediately if you suspect eclampsia. Thankfully, this condition is reversible. But it must be caught early.

Take your dog's temperature daily for a few weeks. A dog's normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Be aware that your dog after she gives birth will run a temperature a degree or two higher than normal for a few days. But if she spikes a temperature, stops eating, or seems lethargic, call your vet.

Give your dog a healthier diet. Mama dog will need all the nutrients she can get as she will be nursing her fur babies for many weeks. It is suggested that instead of giving her two large meals, you should provide her with several meals a day instead and give her easy access to fresh water. Increase the amount of food to up to three times her normal feeding and give her calcium to prevent milk fever.

Provide multivitamins. Not just any multivitamins but multivitamins that are specifically manufactured for dogs that will provide your dog the proper amount of nutrients she needs to help her body recover from giving birth and staying in shape again. Pet Parentsยฎ Multivitamins for dogs is a powerful daily health support.

Schedule your dog and her new family for checkups with your veterinarian within 24 hours of delivery. You want to make sure your dog is healing properly and that her puppies are growing.

Keep other dogs and people away from her and her puppies. Protective aggression is normal because she is protecting her puppies.

Take her out for short five to ten-minute bathroom breaks.



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The much-anticipated event of the birth of your beloved dog's puppies can be quite a worrisome time, but most do not consider the possibility that she might reject her new litter of puppies. Whilst most dogs take to motherhood instinctively without any support, sadly a mother dog neglecting or rejecting her pups happens occasionally. This may occur straight away or some days or weeks later. Obviously, when this occurs it can be quite a distressing situation to contend with. However, without any intervention the puppies will not survive so you will need to take action.

Signs of Dog Rejecting Puppies
To be certain your dog has rejected her puppies, it is important to look for some or all of the following signs. Directly after giving birth, the mother dog should instinctively lick each of her puppies and if she does not, this is an early sign she may reject them. Newborn pups need to be with their mother and the maternal instinct usually means a mother dog will want to stay with her litter most of the time.

If your dog is lying or sitting away from the litter for long periods, it is likely she may have rejected them. She may also show signs of stress and in some cases may physically pick up and move the puppies away from her. Another clear sign of potential rejection is if you hear excessive cries from the litter.

Newborn puppies only tend to cry when they are hungry and if your dog is tending to and feeding them, they will be fairly quiet most of the time โ€“ at least in the early stages. In extreme cases, a mother may kill and even eat her puppies. This is obviously a situation you will wish to avoid and why monitoring your dog throughout the early stages is a good idea.

Reasons for Puppy Rejection
There are a number of potential explanations as to why a mother dog would reject her litter of puppies, these include:

No Recognition
In some situations such as if a dog is particularly young or has her puppies by caesarean section, she may simply not associate the puppies as being hers.

If you dog encounters extreme stress either during labour or shortly after giving birth, this can trigger behaviours such as aggression and dissonance.

Unhealthy Puppies
Although domesticated, dogs still possess many instinctual survival traits from their wild ancestors. As a result, if a puppy is sick or weak your dog may instinctively abandon or even kill it. The theory is that a wild puppy that is sick or defective is unlikely to survive long so the mother will prioritise her food and attention to the strongest and healthiest in the litter.

No Instinct
A lack of a natural maternal instinct can be due to a number of factors and is most commonly seen in young bitches or those who were hand reared separated early from their own mothers.

Illness or injury
If a dog is at all unwell and suffering from injury or illness after giving birth, this can lead to rejecting a litter. Sometimes, mothers can contract mastitis which causes inflammation, pain and discomfort in the teats which will cause her to avoid nursing her pups.

What action should you take?
If your dog is with the pups but you are not sure if she is being as attentive as she should be, if have not already, ensure the whelping area is located is a quite area and stay with her to assess and monitor the situation.

If all the pups are feeding, this is a good sign. In situations where she is not with her pups at all or is showing signs of illness or injury, you will need to contact your vet immediately. They will need to assess both mother and puppies and will be able to advise of any illnesses they may need treating. Your vet will also be able to advise on the best formula to use if you need to hand feed the puppies.

If she is showing signs of aggression towards them, remove them immediately as this could lead to a very sad scenario. You will then need to care for the puppies and if you are at all uncertain most vets will provide free support and information over the phone. When stress is the cause, there are certain aids they can help such as Adaptil. This is a natural pheromone that can help induce a calm state in your dog. However, your vet is best placed to inform you of other potential alternatives that may be available under prescription.

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How Can You Tell If A Dog Is Pregnant Without Going To The Vet?
The best way to tell if a dog is pregnant is by looking out for physical and behavioral signs of pregnancy. The most obvious is an increase in weight both generally and around the abdominal area. Other signs include:
Appetite Changes

Nesting Behavior

Increased Affection and Clingy Behavior

Low Energy Levels

How Many Puppies Can a Dog Have?
The average litter size varies widely depending on the breed. Larger breed dogs typically have larger litters. The average number of puppies in a litter is six to eight, but some large breed dogs have been known to give birth to up to 15 puppies! Small breed dogs typically have one to five puppies. Your veterinarian can take an x-ray after 55 days of gestation to get a count of how many puppies your dog is expecting.

How Can You Tell How Many Puppies A Dog Is Having?
You can usually predict the potential number of puppies based on a specific breed's average litter size. However, the most accurate way to tell how many puppies your dog is having is through an ultrasound. The vet could also use other methods including palpating the dog's abdomen and counting manually.

Can A Dog Be Pregnant For 70 Days?
While a dog's pregnancy typically lasts 60 to 65 days, it is possible to have a pregnancy of up to 70 days or more. At this stage, the dog is considered overdue and could be at risk of complications to both the dog and their unborn puppies. It is therefore something you should consult your vet on as soon as possible.

Are there Pregnancy Tests for Dogs?
There are no pregnancy tests for dogs like those for women. First thing, pregnancy tests designed for people have no utility for canines. Women produce a single pregnancy-specific hormone - human chorionic gonadotropin. Veterinarians can draw blood from the bitch and measure the levels of a hormone called relaxin at about 22-27 days after mating. The presence of this hormone only results with the implantation of the fertilized egg and its developing placenta. If the test is performed too early in the pregnancy, it will be falsely negative. Any positive means that pregnancy has occurred. It is not produced for a false pregnancy.

How Long does Dog Gestation Last?
The average gestation is measured from the date of ovulation and lasts sixty-three days. The actual date of ovulation is very rarely known. Normal gestations can range anywhere within seven days before or after with no ill-effects to the puppies. The pregnancy calendar can be expressed as nine weeks or as three trimesters of 21 days each.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Give Birth?
This depends on how many puppies your dog is carrying. Some dogs may deliver one puppy every hour without any breaks. If your dog is carrying 5 puppies, it can take up to or around 5 hours. Other dogs may take up to a 4-hour break halfway through delivering their puppies. If your dog is carrying 5 puppies and takes a break halfway through, it could take up to 9 hours or more. For those who get an xray of their pregnant dog, you will know how many puppies to expect. This will let you know when your dog is finished giving birth. It will also let you know if you need to take your dog to the emergency vet if all the puppies do not come out.

What is Pseudopregnancy in Dogs?
Pseudopregnancy or false pregnancy in dogs is a fairly commonly occurring phenomenon. About a month after heat has ended the bitch will take on the appearances of pregnancy including weight gain, nipple prominence and even engage in nesting behavior. It is thought to be caused by a hormonal imbalance and will generally resolve on its own even if it is not treated. It does have a tendency to recur, though.

Can I Touch Newborn Puppies?
Even though it is usually okay to touch newborn puppies, they are very delicate at this stage and you should take certain precautions before deciding to pick one up. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about what happens if you touch newborn puppies, and exactly when and how you can start handling puppies.

How Often Can Dogs get Pregnant?
Dogs can get pregnant at every heat. However, it would not be healthy for dam's body and her puppies for back to back pregnancies to occur. Pregnancy puts a strain on the dam. If she is not given sufficient time to recover, her own body's nutritional resources can be taxed leading to poor nursing and sickly pups. Some breeders maintain that back-to-back breeding helps to get the breeding accomplished at a younger age and then retire the bitch. Bitches do not enter a phase of life in which they cease to be fertile - there is no menopause in female dogs. Sexually, back to back breedings are healthier, but if you consider the female's entire body and health, it is too draining.

What Breed Produces the Most Puppies?
As mentioned earlier, a dog's size and therefore her breed is probably the most important single factor that influences litter size. Larger dogs produce larger litters, so it stands to reason that breeds with larger average size will produce more puppies than breeds with smaller average body size will. However, it is a bit more difficult to determine which breed will usually produce the most puppies over the female's entire lifetime. This is partially due to the fact that small dogs routinely live much longer than large breeds do.

Can you Worm Pregnant Dogs?
Bitches should be up to date on all vaccinations prior to mating. They should be dewormed, too. During pregnancy, the dam should be dewormed after day forty with one of the safer dewormers. Fenbendazole - the active chemical in Panacur, is a common choice. The stress of pregnancy can reactive the growth of worms. Deworming prior to whelping will help decrease the parasitic load on the puppies.

Can Pregnant Dogs Eat Raw Food?
Dams can continue to eat a raw food diet during pregnancy. It is, though, not a good time to initiate any radical changes in the diet. The nutritional buildup of the dog's body must start before mating and not just during pregnancy. The dam will have periods of loss of appetite at various points in the pregnancy with the fluctuation of hormones. New foods introduced during pregnancy may only defeat the purpose and increase the stomach upset.

When Can Dogs Get Pregnant while in Heat?
Bitches can only get pregnant during the estrus phase of their heat cycle. On average ovulation occurs at on day eleven from the time heat starts - proestrus. Conception can occur on the ninth through the thirteenth day.

How Long does a Dog Bleed for after Giving Birth?
There is usually a small amount of blood produced around the time of whelping, but anything more than a few drip is abnormal and should be checked immediately by your vet.

What if my dog gives birth to just one dog?
Dogs are polytocous, meaning they have more than two pups each time they give birth. On average, the litter size ranging from three to seven, depending on the breed, it is particularly common in Scottish Terrier. Sometimes, it is seen that only a single or two pups are present, which is quite rare, hence it is called Single Puppy Syndrome. Breeding dogs after the age of 7 years increases the chances of having a single puppy.

What kind of Treatment Available for Problems Giving Birth (Dystocia)?
If your dog is having trouble giving birth, contact your vet straight away and try to give as much detail about her and the pregnancy as possible. Your vet may want to do the following:

X-rays or a Scan: - helpful to work out what is causing the problem and check on the unborn puppies.

Monitoring: - depending how your dog appears, your vet may decide to keep her in the hospital for monitoring and wait to see what happens. They will check her regularly and take further action if necessary.

Medication: - to help the womb contract more forcefully.

Assisted Delivery: - it might be possible for your vet to gently help deliver a stuck puppy, unless it is too big or too deformed to pass. Never pull a puppy without advice from your vet - you could damage your dog.

Caesarean: - A caesarean (C-section) is an operation, performed under a general anaesthetic to open the womb and remove the puppies.

What is Uterine Inertia
Uterine inertia simply means that the womb is not contracting adequately. Primary uterine inertia means that the uterus never starts contracting. In this case a bitch will show the first signs of labour but never progress beyond this. This condition is not common but can be due to the pregnancy consisting of only a single puppy. Your vet may need to give an injection to try to stimulate uterine contraction or, if this fails to work, then a Caesarean delivery may be needed.

Secondary uterine inertia occurs after the bitch has been in labour for some time. One or more puppies may have been born but then contractions stop before all puppies have been delivered. This condition is more common in older bitches and can be due to exhausted muscles in the uterus or to glucose or calcium deficiencies. Veterinary attention should be sought immediately as this condition may respond to intravenous treatments but often means that a Caesarean delivery is needed.




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If you have a female dog and you do not wish for her to get pregnant, then you should have her spayed as soon as possible after she reaches sexual maturity. Your vet can help you figure out the right time to have this procedure done. If you are absolutely opposed to spaying, you will need to take steps to make sure your female dog does not come into contact with unaltered male dogs. This includes having a secure yard, being watchful in situations where other dogs are present, and staying vigilant for the remainder of your dog's sexually mature life.

You should especially take care during your dog's heat cycles, as her scent will attract males, and she will be receptive during this time. Preventing dog pregnancy is important, as several hundred thousand shelter dogs are euthanized each year, and adding puppies to the pet population only increases that number. Even if you know you can find homes for all of your dog's puppies, that still leaves several shelter dogs without the chance to find a loving home. Please consider this when making a decision about whether or not to allow your dog to get pregnant.

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Robin Perdue

Birth defects in your new puppy can involve any organ system and any part of the body. Some abnormalities may be minor and resolve as the animal matures, while others can prevent normal growth and development, inhibit optimal functioning, and even cause premature death.

While some defects are obvious at birth, others can remain hidden for months or years. Determining that your furry baby has a congenital problem can be financially and emotionally costly. We urge pet parents of these special animals to consult with your veterinarian on the best treatment options and educate yourself as to what you can do to better the life of your little companion.

How can I detect birth defects?
Most external physiological abnormalities are recognizable at birth or shortly thereafter. Limb deformities, umbilical hernias and cleft palates are easily visible, while, other more subtle defects - heart murmurs caused by improper valve development for example, may require your veterinarian's medical assessment. Some defects may not show for several weeks or months.

Dental problems and cryptorchidism - the failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum may not be detected until your pet reaches a particular stage of maturity. Suspicious medical issues, such as a failure to thrive, seizures, mental confusion, or disorientation may require diagnostic testing to reveal such serious abnormalities as a portosystemic shunt in the liver or kidney malformations.

What can cause birth defects in puppies?
The most common causes of birth defects in newborns includes hereditary issues, nutrition related disorders, infectious diseases contracted by the mother, and chemical toxins - also called "teratogens", that disrupt the normal development of the fetus.

Congenital Issues
All animals carry certain hidden recessive genes that present as various traits, i.e. blue eyes, light skin/hair colors, pink noses. When both parents carry that particular recessive gene, the results can be favorable (the gold color found in Golden retrievers) or unfavorable (entropion found in Rottweilers and Goldens, and blood vessel defects such as patent ductus arteriosis or persistent right aortic arch seen in German shepherds and Belgian Malinois).

Many veterinary geneticists believe that congenital abnormalities are inherited, although the exact mode of inheritance is often unknown. Examples include portosystemic shunts in Yorkshire terriers, dilated cardiomyopathy in Dobermans, and kidney disease in Wheaten terriers. Ragdoll cats have been known to have an increased tendency toward eyelid defects (colobomas) at birth. Genetic defects tend to affect only particular members in a litter because not all littermates receive the same set of genes.

Conditions during pregnancy can also result in birth defects. Cleft palate results from a variation of the timing during the fourth week of fetal development that disrupts the fusion of the processes the form the roof of the mouth.

Nutritional Defects
Undernourished pregnant animals result in low birth/brain weights, behavioral abnormalities and increased infant mortality. Vitamin A excess and deficiency can cause congenital malformations, including malformed tails and skeletal defects in dogs and cats. In pigs, rats and rabbits, a deficiency of Vitamin A has been associated with eye, heart and urinary defects. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiencies can show up as poor infant growth, eye defects, and heart abnormalities.

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can result in skeletal defects and abnormal dentition. Vitamin D excess has been implicated in impaired bone formation and some "swimmer" puppies. A lack of calcium causes skeletal abnormalities, particularly in large breed puppies. Other mineral deficiencies (phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and chlorine) can result in bowed forelimbs, seizures, hind end paralysis as the animal ages, limb weaknesses, and organ damage.

The fetus is particularly susceptible to high body temperatures of the mother, either due to fevers caused by disease or environmental temperatures (hyperthermia and heat exhaustion). The extremely high fevers found in dogs infected with the parvovirus can affect the unborn puppy. Fetal brain trauma, growth retardation, developmental abnormalities and fetal death can occur. Birth defects like cerebellar hypoplasia, which cause tremors and wobbling, can result if the pregnant mother has distemper (FIP) or has received a distemper vaccine while pregnant.

Chemical Toxins
The maternal absorption of insecticides, fungicides, vaccines and other medications have been known to create birth defects in the unborn. Carbaryl, an insecticide found in some flea powders may be safe in puppies and adults, but can cause birth defects, such as short jaws, no tails, extra digits, skeletal malformations and abdominal fissures, when used on mothers during pregnancy. The administration of fungicides has been known to result in hydrocephalus, cleft palates, open fontanelles, and umbilical hernias in infant animals. Testosterones and progesterones โ€“ often given to female dogs to enhance fertilization โ€“ may cause masculinization of genitalia in female puppies. Corticosteroid treatment has been associated with dead fetuses and deformed limbs.

Please note: Consult with your veterinarian before applying any chemicals/medications or using any vaccines on pregnant females.

How can I ensure that my pregnant dog births healthy babies?
Educate yourself regarding the different genetic causes of birth defects in particular family lines and breeds. Adopt the strategy that certain animals, those with known disorders such as cryptorchidism and hip dysplasia, not be bred so that their offspring do not take on the same defect. Keep your pregnant mama healthy by not exposing her to infectious disease, medications - unless prescribed by your vet, environmental contaminants or extreme temperatures during the critical stages of fetal development โ€“ between the 14th and 30th days of pregnancy.

And, make sure your pregnant pet is getting a good nutritional diet, along with prenatal and post natal supplements. We recommend Breeders' Edge Oxy Mate Prenatal and Oxy Momma Post Natal Nursing and Recovery Formula. Both supplements are a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and selected herbs that are formulated for the specific nutritional needs of pregnant females and her developing embryos.

The prenatal provides elevated levels of iron, folic acid, and zinc that optimizes the production of red blood cells and blood flow. In addition, this supplement provides the essential nutrients for the development of healthy newborns. Herbal ingredients are added to improve uterine tone and to ease birthing. The post natal formula provides antioxidants to help with reproductive tract recovery and herbal ingredients to stimulate milk production.

How are birth defects treated?
Many animals with congenital defects can live happy, high-value lives. Treatment options vary depending on the abnormality and the overall health of the pet. Whether or not a cure is available through surgery or medications, your veterinarian can provide you with all of the available options to maximize your furry companions quality of life.

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Most dogs will give birth on their own without needing any help from you or your vet, but occasionally problems do arise, which we call "dystocia". Dystocia is most common in flat-faced pedigree breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs.

Contact your vet for advice if you notice any of the following problems:

Poorly Mother - Have your dog checked if she seems unwell, or just "not herself" before, during or after whelping.

Green Discharge - If you see a green discharge coming from your dog's vulva, without a puppy it can mean that the unborn puppies' are in distress - blood and oxygen supply is failing.

Bleeding - You will see some fluid and bloody discharge during a whelping, but anything more than a few drip is abnormal and should be checked by your vet immediately.

Exhaustion - If your dog's labour continues for a long time, she may become exhausted and stop straining.

Straining but no Pup - Contact your vet urgently if your dog has been straining for 20-30 minutes without producing a puppy, there may be a blockage.

Puppy Stuck - Large puppies, deformed puppies, and puppies delivered backwards can sometimes become stuck inside the pelvis or part way out. If your dog has puppy stuck inside her, call your vet immediately. Do not pull the puppy without advice.

Sac Problems - Some first time mothers need help removing the birth sac from their puppies. If it is not broken they won't be able to breathe. Give your dog a chance to remove it herself, but if they do not, you may need to tear a hole and remove it. Ask your vet for advice immediately if you are uncertain.

Umbilical Cord Problems - Some first time mothers need help removing their puppies' umbilical cords. This does not have to be done straight away, but if left too long they can cause problems. Call your vet for advice about how to cut and tie cords, if done incorrectly it can cause infection.

No Puppies - If your dog has not shown any signs of going into labour 70-72 days after the first mating, contact your vet.

Stillborn Puppies - Have your dog checked over if she gives birth to any dead puppies.

Fever - It is normal for mother dogs to have a fever (greater than 102.5ยฐF) in the 24-48 days after giving birth, but it should not be accompanied by signs of illness.

Metritis (Inflamed Uterus) - Metritis, or inflammation of the uterus, can occur when the placenta is retained or some form of trauma occurred during delivery. If you see signs of fever, lack of appetite, odorous vaginal discharge, lack of interest in the puppies, or lack of milk production, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Eclampsia (Drop in Blood Calcium Levels) - Eclampsia may occur during the first three weeks after giving birth and is caused by inability of the mother to keep up with the calcium demand of lactation. This is usually seen in toy breeds, and calcium supplementation during pregnancy predisposes a dog to this condition. Dogs that have this condition will experience restlessness, muscle spasms, a stiff gait, and even seizures. Please consult your veterinarian as soon as possible if you see any of these behaviors.

Mastitis (Infected Breast Tissue) - Mastitis, or inflammation of the breast tissue, occurs when the breasts become hard, red, and painful due to infection. The mother will likely be sore while nursing, but it is important for the puppies to keep suckling to help reduce swelling and promote excretion of the infected material. If you are concerned that your dog may have developed mastitis, please contact your veterinarian, as your dog will likely need treatment.

Agalactia (Not Producing Milk) - Agalactia occurs when the dog's milk is either not being produced or is not being "let down." If the puppies are suckling well but they are not receiving any milk, it is important to seek veterinary care. The first milk, or "colostrum," provides the puppies with the necessary nutrients and antibodies from the mother to help build up their natural immunity to infections. If they do not get these essential substances during the first few days of life, they may need to receive additional veterinary care.




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Although the success rate for pet CPR is relatively low (fewer than one in ten pets end up surviving with CPR), it still gives your puppy an improved chance at survival compared to not administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

You might need to perform CPR on newborn puppies who are not breathing when they are born. Again, have someone else give your veterinarian a call while you perform CPR or artificial respiration. You can start attempting to revive a newborn puppy by doing the following:

1. Lower the puppy's head to help drain fluid from his lungs, mouth and throat.

2. Place a suction bulb inside the puppy's mouth and nose to get rid of extra fluid.

3. When the airway is clear, cover the puppy's mouth and nose with your mouth, then breathe slightly two to three times. Do not deliver a full breath into the puppy's mouth, or you could hurt his tiny lungs.

4. Put two fingers on the puppy's chest to check for a heartbeat.

5. If you can not find a heartbeat, put your thumbs and forefingers over the puppy's chest right behind his front legs, then gently press down rapidly.

6. Keep giving your puppy small breaths every 15 to 20 seconds until he begins to breathe again.

7. Check for a heartbeat or breathing every minute.

8. If your puppy's heart beats again, turn him over and rub him with a towel. Continue giving him small breaths if he stops breathing again.

9. Keep taking care of your puppy for about 20 minutes after he is revived, or do pet CPR for about five minutes if you still can not find a heartbeat.



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How do You Know if a Newborn Puppy is Dying?
The clinical signs of fading puppy syndrome are often vague. Many puppies with the syndrome, also called "faders", are born apparently normal. They may be eager to suckle, seem strong, and behave normally. However, they may quickly begin to weaken, become restless, paddle their legs, and lose weight.

One of the hallmark signs of fading puppy syndrome is "seagulling." This is the name given to the weak, high-pitched cry of affected puppies. Faders are also known to stray away from their mother and littermates often. This rapid decline usually occurs between two to ten days after the pup's birth.

You should monitor your litter's weight, temperature, and behavior multiple times each day. This will allow you to catch any problems before they become severe. You can take a puppy's temperature using a rectal thermometer. If your puppy's temperature falls below 94ยฐF it indicates hypothermia. Newborn puppies should also be weighed daily, preferably at the same time every day. Failure to gain weight is a big indicator that something is wrong with your puppy.

Whether a puppy survives this syndrome or not ultimately depends on the underlying causes and how quickly the causes are dealt with. Death due to hypoglycemia, dehydration, or hypothermia can occur very quickly. Fortunately, these problems can sometimes be treated if caught early, so telling if a newborn puppy is dying is crucial. If your puppy's condition further declines, you can not pinpoint the cause for their sickness, or you are not confident to treat them at home, make sure that you call your vet as soon as possible. Some cases of fading puppy syndrome are caused by infections that require antibiotic treatment from a vet.

Unfortunately, some cases of fading puppy syndrome are not preventable or treatable. Poor mothering, inadequate lactation, congenital abnormalities, and even low birth weight can all leave a puppy vulnerable to fading puppy syndrome. It is not uncommon for puppies to be unresponsive to veterinary treatment, especially in cases where there is no obvious cause for the puppy's decline.

How to Save a Dying Puppy
You have taken all the precautions to protect your litter, but one or more of your pups are failing to thrive. Now, your puppy's survival depends on the underlying cause for their decline as well as how quickly you begin treatment. A hypothermic puppy will not feed.

So, if you do not treat hypothermia quickly, your puppy can quickly fall ill with dehydration and hypoglycemia. In order to monitor your pup's temperature, it is important to use a rectal thermometer. If your puppy's body temperature falls below 94ยฐF you need to act fast. You can gradually re-warm your puppy by holding them against your skin and ensuring that their whelping box is around 85ยฐF. Observe any frostbite-like symptoms and take care of them as quickly as possible.

If your puppy is unable to feed on their mother within 12 hours, it is crucial that you use a colostrum substitute. The mother may be tired from her pregnancy โ€“ especially if she faced birthing issues or a cesarean section! A good colostrum supplement should be rich in probiotics, glucose, essential fatty acids, and immunoglobulins. Introduce the correct measurement of the supplement on to the back of your puppy's tongue and allow them to swallow.

To treat dehydration in puppies, use an eyedropper or small bottle to offer them fluids. You should offer fluids, typically in the form of a milk replacer or sugar water, every two hours. Be sure to feed your puppy slowly. Allowing them to drink too quickly can cause choking and aspiration of milk. If your puppy does not respond to treatment, or you do not feel confident enough treating them at home, do not hesitate to call your vet for advice.

How do You Revive a Dying Puppy?
If your puppy has no pulse it is vital that you give CPR quickly. Have another person call your vet immediately if possible. You will need to lower the newborn puppy's head to assist with fluid drainage. Use a suction bulb to carefully remove any excess fluid from the nose, mouth, and throat. Once the airways are clear, you will need to provide air to your puppy. Close your mouth around their mouth and nose and deliver two to three small breaths. Be careful to not fully exhale as a newborn puppy's lungs are very small and prone to damage. You must also be aware that some diseases can be transmitted to humans through contact with a puppy's fluids.

Next, check for a heartbeat. Feel the chest walls between your fingers or use a stethoscope. If there is no heartbeat, place the thumbs and forefingers of both of your hands around the puppy's chest. You will need to place them just behind the puppy's front legs. From here, compress the puppy's chest one to two times per second. This may seem excessive, but a newborn puppy's normal heart rate is 120 to 180 beats per minute. Until you receive a response from your puppy, administer small breaths to their nose and mouth every 20 seconds.

How Often do Newborn Puppies Die?
Sadly, normal pre-weaning losses can reach 30%, with around half of these losses occurring within the first week of the puppies' lives. As well as this, only half of these puppies die from identifiable causes. This leaves the other half as sufferers of true fading puppy syndrome. In true fading puppy syndrome, there is no identifiable cause of death, and death can occur suddenly with seemingly no warning signs.

Like other animals that have multiple births, it is not unusual for dogs to give birth to stillborn puppies or to have puppies who die shortly after birth. Sometimes a stillborn pup can disrupt the birthing process, causing dystocia. Unfortunately, some breeds are at an increased risk for dystocia, resulting in the need for a caesarian section. If a caesarian section is performed too late it can result in the death of the puppies.





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In dogs, the uterus consists of two tubes or uterine horns that join with a short uterine body. This is the incubator that nourishes unborn puppies.

How Will my Vet Diagnose Dystocia?
Your vet will want to have an accurate history about ovulation timing and breeding dates, as well as any events surrounding labor and performing a careful physical examination. This will include examination of the birth canal for any abnormalities or the presence of a puppy stuck in the birth canal. A hand held ultrasound may allow detection of foetal heart beats and abdominal ultrasound and x-rays can be very helpful in assessing puppy viability, litter size and puppy position.

Blood tests to measure calcium and glucose levels are also helpful in identifying metabolic disorders contributing to dystocia. A uterine monitor can be used to evaluate the quality of uterine contractions. With this information your vet will be able to advise you on whether a Caesarean operation is likely to be in the best interests of the mother and the puppies.

Abnormalities of the Uterus (Womb)
These include poor contraction of the muscles of the uterus, abnormalities associated with foetal or maternal fluids or twisting or rupture of the uterus. Sometimes the uterine muscles never start to contract properly and a Caesarean operation must be performed to deliver the puppies. In other cases labour may develop normally but is prolonged and the muscles of the uterus become exhausted before all puppies have been born. Intravenous solutions containing glucose and drugs may help to stimulate contractions of the uterus, but a Caesarean operation may still be necessary.

Disorders of the Birth Canal
Previous damage to the pelvis such as healed fractures can make the birth canal narrow. Some bitches have abnormalities of the birth canal or unusually small vulvar openings - these may require a partial episiotomy - surgical incision to deliver puppies vaginally.

Puppy Abnormalities
Includes puppies that are too large, or in a abnormal position, presentation or posture. Puppy oversize can occur with prolonged pregnancy in abnormally small litters and is a common cause of dystocia. The normal position of a puppy before delivery is with the foetal backbone lying along the top of the womb. A mild dystocia may arise if they are lying the other way up. In most breeds puppies can be born normally in either anterior (head first) or posterior (back feet first) presentation.

It is only a transverse (sideways) presentation that is associated with dystocia and this is rare. Deformed puppies may also become stuck in the birth canal. If the puppy is not in the correct position it is not easy to correct this with the use of forceps or traction because of the small size of the birth canal of the bitch. If a puppy is stuck in the birth canal then a Caesarean operation is needed in most cases.

DYSTOCIA - Photo courtesy of Hill's Pet Nutrition

Signs of a Normal Delivery (Parturition)
Within one to two weeks of delivery of puppies and kittens, the pregnant animal's mammary glands become enlarged, turgid, and secrete milk. Within 12 to 24 hours of delivery, the mother will become restless, seek seclusion, lose her appetite and create a nest and her rectal temperature will drop to below 99ยฐ Fahrenheit.

Clinical Signs of Abnormal Delivery
A pregnancy lasting more than 68 days is considered abnormal. Breeds of dogs that commonly experience dystocia include bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers. In addition, it is more common for a dog to experience dystocia with the first pregnancy. Warning signs that your dog is experiencing dystocia:

Strong abdominal contractions for greater than 30 minutes with no delivery of a puppy

Weak straining for greater than 2 hours with no delivery of puppy

Greater than four hours between delivery of puppies

A retained pup at the vulva

Lochia (green/black discharge from vulva) present for three hours with no delivery of a puppy

Copious clear discharge

Bloody discharge from the vulva

The diagnosis of dystocia is generally based on clinical signs; however, some testing is usually done to ensure that your dog does not have a medical reason for the dystocia. During the evaluation, a complete blood count, calcium blood level, potassium blood level, glucose blood level, and X-rays to check size and number of puppies may be performed.

Medical treatment of dystocia is generally attempted first unless there is a reason that a C-section should be immediately performed. Reasons for recommending a C-section may include a very large puppy, malpositioned puppy, abnormal pelvic bone structure that would preclude natural delivery - previous fracture of the pelvis or complete exhaustion of the mother. Medicines that are used to help the mother deliver the puppies naturally include oxytocin that stimulates uterine contraction, calcium and intravenous fluids containing electrolytes.

In the event that natural delivery is not possible, a C-section will be performed. With the animal under anesthesia, an incision is made on the abdomen to expose the uterus, and then the puppies are removed from the uterus. To ensure their safe recovery, the puppies are then cared for by an intensive care unit technician.

Early intervention with medical or surgical therapy will allow for the best survival of both the mother and her puppies. Potential complications that may occur include anesthetic death of mother or puppies, stillborn puppies, infection, subinvolution of the uterus - evidenced by bloody vaginal discharge for weeks after surgery and toxemia.



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Most canine pregnancies unfold without any issue, ever. Yet, as a dog breeder, you must be prepared and equipped with enough knowledge to diagnose a problem when you see one. That way, you can take action fast and make sure it gets sorted without much damage. A general term for pregnancy issues and birthing problems is Dystocia. Labor is divided into three phases and problems can arise in any of the three phases.

No Active Labor at the Expected Time
While there is some permissible variance in when actual labor begins, a labor that does not begin by the 70th day of pregnancy warrants an urgent assessment by a qualified veterinarian. Sometimes, a pregnancy is confirmed but then for no apparent reason the puppies are reabsorbed and none are whelped. Sometimes, puppies may die in utero and their continued presence in the uterus can become the source of a dangerous infection.

Uterine Insufficiency
Also, some dams are unable to produce contractions strong enough to whelp her litter. This condition is called uterine insufficiency. Approximately sixty percent of dystocia originate with the dam, while the other forty percent originate with a puppy's position or size. The solution usually is a surgical delivery. A primary dystocia is one in which the puppies have an unobstructed entry to the world but the dam's uterus lacks the muscle to whelp them. If no puppies have been born in this 1st time litter, the dam may have some genetic flaw that prevents delivery of her pups. If this dam has the same problem with a different sire, it is probably best to retire this bitch from the breeding program.

Missing or Unborn Puppies
There could have been an error in the puppy count. In some litters especially large ones a puppy may not be readily observable on x-ray because it is partially concealed by larger puppies. Puppies that may have been observable on ultrasound on day 30 may disappear by the time of whelping. Puppies that have some deformity or die in utero can be absorbed in the uterus and leave no trace of their former existence.

Long Delay between Expulsions of Two Puppies
A delay of more than two hours in-between the expulsion of puppies needs to be checked-out. The reason for the delay can be because of the position of the puppy in the birth canal or perhaps weak contractions that can not continue the whelping process. If a dam has strained for four hours and no puppy has been expelled, it may be because the puppy is positioned in a way that it can not fit through the birth canal or is too large for the birth canal. Some dams may not have effectively strong contractions to expel puppies. A veterinarian can help increase the strength of contractions by administering calcium or oxytocin. If these interventions do not restart labor, it will be necessary to do a surgical delivery.

Blocked Puppies
Puppies can block the birth canal either because of their overly-large size or because they situated in a transverse birth position that prevents their passage. Generally, puppies can be delivered from either a head-first or breech position. A deceased puppy may not stimulate strong contractions and block the remaining of its living siblings. Occasionally, the pup will be half in and half inside the dam. A gentle tug on the pup may be all that is necessary to free the pup and end the blockage. It is important to remember that the pups are fragile and too much force may seriously injure the pup.

Female Eating Afterbirths
Dams keep their whelping box clean by eating afterbirths and puppy urine and feces. It is perfectly normal for the dam to eat the afterbirths and she should be left alone to do so. Dams, especially in their first litters, can sometimes take a bite out of their own offspring. It is important in a first litter to pay close attention to the dam while interfering as little as possible.

Loss of Appetite and Tiredness
Dams frequently have a precipitous loss of appetite before whelping. This is nature's way of making sure that the dam's stomach contents are empty at a time when pain and pressure would make vomiting a distinctive possibility. The whelping process requires tremendous energy from the dam. A first litter may take up to 24 hours to whelp and the dam will likely to be extremely tired after this taxing event on her body. Milk production requires even greater calories and an underfed dam will become particularly tired with the demands of nursing puppies.

Lactation Failure
A female dog's first milk called the colostrum is very important for the newborn puppies. It contains important antibodies that later milk does not have. Colostrum helps puppies combat disease and grants them some immunity. If at all possible, puppies should be encouraged to nurse in those first crucial 48-72 hours. If the dam does not show interest in nursing pups, the pups can be gently placed on a teat. Problems like mastitis, the infection of the mammary glands, can be a very serious condition. Symptoms include teats being red, swollen, and hot. Antibiotics are given to treat the infection. In severe cases, the dam may have to have a mastectomy. Sometimes the mastitis can be resolved and the pups resume nursing. Puppies are likely to require bottle-feeding or tube-feeding for very small whelps.

Foetal Distress
If stillborn puppies are delivered then concerns must be raised for the remainder of the litter as yet unborn. If the unborn puppies have slow heart rates (your vet will be able to detect heart rates) this can also indicate distress.

Maternal Distress
The puppies are also at risk if their mother becomes ill before delivery. If they are nearly at full term they may stand a better chance of surviving if they can be delivered and cared for outside the womb. If a bitch develops green or copious vulval discharge or bleeding during pregnancy then veterinary advice must be sought immediately.




1000 CUTE PUPPIES! :o)

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