“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Dogs can give birth during their 58th to 63rd day. Before reaching the 58th day, we should already prepared the things needed for dog birth or what we call whelping. The following is a list of the necessary things for whelping:
- Whelping Box – 1 or 2 weeks before whelping, a whelping box should be provided for your pregnant dog. This will the place for her to deliver her puppies. Providing it earlier will allow your dog to adjust and make herself comfortable. The Whelping box should be large enough for your dog and her puppies to fit in. Also, place it in a warm and quiet area. Hence, place it in an area that is free from distractions.
- Enclosed Area- When puppies have already been delivered, there is a high chance for them to move around. Make sure you provide an enclosed place for them to keep their safety.
- Clean Plastic Laundry Basket with Towels – This is where you will place newborn puppies while your dog is still delivering the other puppies. Make sure it is accessible to your dog. It is most likely that your dog will join her newborn puppies in the basket after delivering the last one.
- Heat Lamp or Heat Pads– Heat is needed to regulate the body temperature of puppies. Let’s keep our dog and her puppies warm after dog birthing.
- Backup Milk – When your dog encounter issues on providing milk, she may not be able to nurse all her puppies. Hand feeding puppies is a solution. Make sure a great quality of milk is ready before dog birthing.
- Clean Towels – Clean towels can be used to clean off puppies after birth.
- Rubber gloves, Sterile scissors, heavy thread – These emergency supplies can be used during unexpected scenarios like the need to tie the umbilical cord.
- Emergency Contact Information – When unexpected things happen, you must be able to call your veterinarian immediately.
Whelping materials is not the only thing that need to be prepared. For safe delivery, your dog must also be physically and emotionally prepared. The following are things you can do to help your pregnant dog be prepared for whelping from Dogsaholic and Wikihow:
- Be there for your dog when they give birth.Although there are dogs that do not like having people around when they are giving birth, it is still important that you watch over them during this process. This time will be a very difficult period for your pet especially if it is their first time to give birth. Be there to comfort and assure them when the contractions begin to help relieve them of the pain. Massage and pet them just to provide a bit of comfort during the whole process. Your presence is also important since anything can go wrong during the birthing. Your dog may get too tired to push or stimulate their puppies when they are born.
Touching and stimulating the puppies are important in order to “wake” up their biological systems especially those required for breathing. The amniotic sac may also remain stuck in their face if the mother is not able to lick them away and they can get suffocated. You can also help the mother by giving a gentle tug on the puppies if they are spending a lot of time in the birth canal and has not been able to come out completely even if the mother was pushing.
- Provide enough exercise.The mother’s muscle tone is an important aspect of pregnancy as well as the birthing process. Your dog needs strong and supple muscles to help carry the weight of the developing pups as well as to give birth to them when the time comes. The uterine muscles should be strong enough to expand and contract that it can successfully expel the fetuses one by one.
Remember that your dog will have at least two puppies to give birth to and this will require a lot of strength and energy for the mother. To maintain their muscle tone, you must give them sufficient exercises such as walking and a bit of playing catch during the first 30 days of pregnancy.
You can walk your dog for about 30 minutes each day and you can also engage in light game activities such as playing catch or fetch. Heavier activities such as working, agility exercises, and the like should be avoided as this can exhaust the dog and divert nutrients intended for the fetuses into the mother’s energy requirements. After the first 30 days, walking is the only activity that will be allowed for your pet since your dog will have a heavier belly by this time and it would be risky for them to jump or run fast.
- Have your Veterinarian take X-rays of the puppies. The vet will be able to count the number of puppies in the litter using x-rays by 45 days into the pregnancy.
If your dog is a large breed like a German Shepherd Labrador, as many as 10 puppies is common, However if your dog is a small breed like a Chihuahua or Shih Tzu, 3 or 4 puppies in a litter would be plenty.
If the vet can see only one or two puppies, it may pose problems at the time of birth. Fewer puppies mean the puppies will be larger and may be too big to pass through the birth canal naturally. In such cases, a planned C-section is often the best option. Though a planned C-section will be more costly, it will still be cheaper than an emergency C-section. So plan ahead.
“To be consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month or even one year – but for a lifetime.“
- Bill Rodgers
Remember, over preparing is not bad at all. It is a million times better than having nothing. Anyhow, we can already look forward on meeting one of the cutest things on earth, puppies. So, before spending precious moments with them, let’s make sure they come out safely. Together with their expectant moms, let’s make everything work perfectly and beautifully.
Next Stop: Dog Whelping