get a lot of email asking us how we go about whelping puppies.
Each breeder has their own way of doing things. This is ours.
This is what works best for us.
Planning and preparing for a litter begins long before the female
comes into season. BEFORE she is in season and bred,
she is checked and cleared for worms, current on her vaccinations
and checked to make sure she is in optimal physical condition.
About a month before she is due in season, we change her food
to a performance type food with a protein content of 30% and
a fat content of 20%. Studies
have found that higher conception rates occur, fewer
stillborns and more consistent-sized litters are produced from
litter to litter on this type of dog food. She is kept on this
food through weaning. Then she is put back on her normal maintenance
off we start by printing up a Whelping Sheet. This sheet records
everything about this particular litter.
start by putting the name of the sire and dam in the top line.
Next we figure out when day 57 is (from the first breeding)
and put that date on the sheet. Then we put the rest of the
dates in until day 66. If the bitch hasn't had the puppies by
day 66, then I would have a c-section done anyway.
start taking the bitch's temperature twice a day on day 57 with
a digital thermometer. We increase it to 3 times a day on day
61. Each temperature is recorded in its spot. Its not unheard
of that a bitch's temperature will bounce up and down for a
few days before it finally stays down. Once my bitch's temperature
goes under 99°, I know I can expect puppies within 12-24 hours.
Any longer than that and a trip to the vet is in order.
record the time the bitch's water breaks. If puppies haven't
arrived by 2 hours after the water breaks, then a trip to the
vet is in order.
also record the time we see the first contraction. If mom hasn't
had that puppy within 3 hours of the first contraction, then
a trip to the vet is in order.
supplies are out within reach well in advance. From left to
right we have Iodine to dab on the imbilical cords; scissors
for the string; Cotton balls; Vaseline (for the thermometer);
thermometer; alcohol; nasal aspirator. In the yellow tray we
have dull scissors in case we need to cut the cord; unwaxed
dental floss to tie up the cord and a hemostat in case we need
to clamp the cord off.
weigh each puppy as its born. We then weigh again 12 hours later,
then every day for the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks we try and
weigh every third day.
tells us specifically which puppy is gaining weight, which might
need to be supplemented or need to spend more time on momma.
use an postal scale (bought on ebay for less than $10) and a
basket velcroed on the top.
each puppy is born, we put a different color string of yarn
around its neck. This way we can spot individual puppies
to track their weight. The yarn is checked daily to make
sure its not too tight or too loose.
is our main puppy whelping box. The floor is a 4½ x 4½ ft.
wood base. The sides are laminated wood shelves cut to size.
This makes the sides very easy to clean up. This box is
put up in one of our spare bedrooms. This way we're close
enough to the puppies to hear if one needs help.
is the pigrail we use in the white box to keep the mom from
squishing her puppies up against the side of the box. Its
made out of 4 inch PVC pipe. Its easy to take out and clean
daily and removable when the pups are old enough.
is our second whelping box which we put in our dining room.
This way, when I'm working on the computer mom and pups
can be with me. This box has the pigrail built into the
side, approx. 4 inches up off the floor.
We use an exercise pen around this box
to keep the other dogs from bothering the puppies.
need lots and lots and lots of newspapers while the bitch
is whelping and to line the box with after whelping.
mom has some puppies born and is in active labor with the next
one, we keep the newborns out of mom's way in a plasic tub with
a heating pad under the clean towels.
having them in a box close by, mom can feel secure enough to
move about to whelp the new pup and the newborns aren't in any
danger of being crushed as she moves about the whelping box.
line both boxes with newspaper, then artifical lambswool over
that. This gives the puppies the traction they need to move
around. The urine goes through the lambswool to the papers,
keeping the material dry on the surface where the puppy is.
keep the puppy from getting under the lambswool material, the
sides of the box lift up and the material is stuffed under the
sides. Then the sides are lowered again which keep the material
flat on the bottom of the box.