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What To Do When Your Dog is Going to Have Puppies

What To Do When Your Dog is Going to Have Puppies
Helping to bring an animal into this world is something that words cannot describe. Here is some information on what to do when your dog is about to have puppies, how to help her deliver, and also the stages involved in the process.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: Jun 5, 2018
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If your dog's gestation period exceeds 70 days, you should call the vet. In case of a pregnancy that extends well beyond the due date, a C-section sometimes becomes necessary.
Dogs are a source of abundant joy. And when a dog is going to have puppies, the happiness of the owners is boundless. The process of giving birth in dogs is called whelping, and you sometimes have to step in, assisting your dog if needed.
In most cases though, the female dog handles everything. It is only if she is a first time mother or is unable to do it, that you may need to help her out.
The following paragraphs will take you through the step-by-step whelping process, right from the stage before the labor to after the birth of the pups.
Before Birth
Preparations
Dog lying with pups
Have a whelping box made of cardboard, or anything that is big enough for your dog to comfortably lie down in along with her pups. 
which has raised sides to prevent them from getting cold, and which is easy for your dog to get in and out of (an old cupboard or wooden basket will also do). Put 3 to 4 inches of old newspapers, disposable diapers, or old blankets at the bottom of the box.
Make a separate puppy box with similar bedding material for the pups to sleep in until all of them are born. Keep warm bottles or a heating pad under the box to keep it warm. Its temperature should not exceed 80°F to 85°F.

Make these boxes in a quiet corner inside the house where your dog will be comfortable and away from the thoroughfare of the household.

A blunt, sterilized pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord may be necessary.

Keep some clean (either sterilized or new) pieces of thread to tie the cord after it is cut.

Clean hand towels or extra disposable diapers are needed.

Keep spare newspapers to replace the ones that get wet.

Keep a writing pad to note the time of birth and the total duration between each birth and also for keeping all emergency contact numbers in hand.

Keep KY jelly to help a puppy out if it is stuck due to lubrication.

You will either have to wash your hands thoroughly before your dog begins delivering, or you can wear a pair of latex gloves.
Labor - Stage One
The gestation period of dogs is 60 to 65 days on an average. During the last 4 to 5 days, keep checking your dog's temperature using a rectal thermometer. The average body temperature of a dog is 101° to 102°F. When it drops below 100°F (usually 99°F), it is an indication that she will go into labor in about 24 hours.
There are three stages of labor that your dog will undergo. During the first stage, she will begin experiencing contractions, and you will see signs like panting, restlessness, shivering, digging, whining, or vomiting. 
This is completely normal. Ensure that you provide her with adequate water, and keep some food available if she wants it. Talk to her lovingly, and comfort her during this time. This phase will be the longest and can last between 6 to 16 hours.
Whelping - How to Assist
Labor - Stage 2
When your dog reaches the second stage of labor, she will start having more forceful contractions. At this time, her water will break; it is a yellowish-white-colored liquid. In case she is somewhere far away from the whelping box at this time, let her give birth in the place she selects, as moving her after the contractions begin is not recommended.
After a while, she will begin to strain to push the puppy out. Let her do it by herself; do not try to intervene and help unless she is unable to push it out. In such an event, call the vet and ask the right technique to massage her abdomen and ease the process.
When the pup comes out, it will be covered with the amniotic sac. Your dog should break this and lick her puppy clean. If she does not do so, then you will need to break the sac near the pup's neck and lift it off its head. 
After breaking the sac wipe the mucous from the pup's nostrils and mouth to help it breathe. If it still does not breathe, then swing it slowly up and down with its head tilted downwards so that the liquid is expelled from its lungs.
If your dog does not bite off the umbilical cord, then you need to cut it 2 inches away from the pup's stomach and tie it an inch away. It will fall off on its own in 2-3 days. Apply some betadine ointment at the top of the cord to prevent an infection.
Labor - Stage 3
The third stage of labor is delivering the placenta, which follows every pup or after 2 to 3 pups. Your dog may eat this up, but it is not necessary to feed her this, it has no useful nutritional value. The duration between each birth can range from 15 minutes to an hour. Also, there is a chance that at least a third of the pups will be born tail-end first. 
If in case a puppy gets stuck, then apply the KY jelly around your dog's vulva, grasp the pup firmly but gently with the towel or diaper, wait for your dog to have a contraction, and then gently and steadily pull the pup in an outward and downward direction.
Dog nursing her pups
When the pups are born, keep them near the mother for a while, and then place them in the puppy box. When all of them are born, put them back into the whelping box with their mother for nursing.
Dog and pup
After your dog has fed her puppies, allow all of them, including your dog, to rest. She will be the most tired and will need sleep to replenish her lost energy.
After your dog has fed her puppies, allow all of them, including your dog, to rest. She will be the most tired and will need sleep to replenish her lost energy.
Medical Intervention During Birth
During Birth
The following scenarios may require an emergency medical intervention by your vet. Do not hesitate to call him/her in the event of any of the following occurrences.
  • If a pup is stuck midway for more than 5 minutes and you are unable to get it out
  • If your dog is contracting and pushing consistently, but is unable to deliver for more than an hour
  • She has delivered 2 to 4 hours ago, but there are more pups inside
  • Her body temperature has dropped, but she still isn't in labor after 24 hours
  • She is in a lot of physical pain
Post-birth Possibilities
If you notice any strange symptoms in your dog after she has delivered, then call your vet immediately. It is always better to get her checked out once after she has given birth.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disinterest in the pups
  • Listless, depressed, or nervous behavior
  • Fever
  • Vaginal discharge that is smelling
  • Pain/stiffness while moving
  • Hardening and reddening of breasts, causing pain, and reluctance to feed the pups
After the Birth
Do not give your dog a bath immediately after she delivers. Wipe her clean with a wet cloth. Also, never bathe puppies till they are at least 6 weeks old, as they have a high risk of contracting pneumonia.
Newborn pups
Newborn puppies have closed eyes and ears, and they weigh just a few grams. Their eyes and ears will open after approximately 11 to 14 days. Once they are a bit older, clip their nails regularly as it will otherwise injure your dog when she is nursing.
Pup being bottle-fed
The puppies will be weaned by their mother after about 5 weeks of age, but also start them on other food before this. As they grow older, only consuming the mother's milk will not be sufficient for their growth. If the mother refuses to feed them, the pups will need to be fed through a sterilized baby bottle.
The puppies will be weaned by their mother after about 5 weeks of age, but also start them on other food before this. As they grow older, only consuming the mother's milk will not be sufficient for their growth. If the mother refuses to feed them, the pups will need to be fed through a sterilized baby bottle.
Until they are 4 to 5 weeks old, handle them as less as possible. The first vaccines must be administered between 6 to 8 weeks. The vet will give you the schedule.
Having puppies around the house is a lot of fun, and helping them come into this world is a beautiful experience. Be there for your dog when she needs you, and encourage her with loving words and a soothing tone. It will be a phase of your life that you will never forget.