Preparing for Dog Delivery

Taking part in a dog delivery can be an overwhelming experience, but you need to be prepared with the basic equipment and supplies to make sure your dog has all she needs. You also need to know what to expect during the labor, so you can ask for assistance if there are any complications.

Whelping Box

Regardless of whether you call the vet or assist the dog in the delivery yourself, you need a whelping box. This should be a large wooden or plastic box with an open side. Place a warm blanket in the box.

The dog should start looking for an isolated place a few days prior to the delivery. Place the whelping box in the place chosen by your dog or look for a quiet, warm place. You may encourage the dog to use this box as a nest for a few weeks before the delivery, to make sure she will deliver the dogs in this box.

Necessary Supplies

In addition to the whelping box you will also need:

  • Towels
  • Surgical gloves for the person(s) attending the delivery
  • A bowl of fresh water
  • A sterilized pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cords
  • Thread to tie the cords before cutting

Stage I Labor

The dog labor has 3 stages. The stage I labor lasts for 48 hours on average. The dog will start alternating between dilation and relaxing her passages. Make sure the room has a high temperature and the dog has all she needs. Offer fresh water and food, even if the dog is less likely to approach the food.

Stage II Labor

When the dog starts the contractions, this means that stage II labor has begun. The cervix will be fully dilated. Try to keep your calm and don't stress the dog, because she might voluntarily stop the labor. Make sure there are no noises or other stimuli that could distract her attention.

Stage III Labor

Stage III labor is typically simultaneous with stage II. The last stage of the labor is when the dog starts delivering the puppies and expelling the placentas. The contractions should be frequent and will help the dog deliver the puppies. The first puppy can appear within the first 30 minutes after the contractions start. If after 3 hours of contractions there are still no puppies, you need to call the vet.

The puppies will be delivered at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes. You can expect 5 to 8 puppies. The dog will be changing her position and you can help her stretch her legs. Keep her hydrated.

If you need to help the dog by extracting a puppy, make sure you use slow and gentle moves that are coordinated with the contractions.

Each puppy will be delivered in a membranous sac and has an umbilicus. The umbilicus is attached to the placenta, which should be also expelled. Sometimes the mother can cut the umbilical cords with her teeth, but if she fails to do so, you will need to cut the cords yourself. Tie the cord at about 1 inch from the puppy's stomach, using dental floss that is not waxed. Tie the dental floss with a tight double knot. Tie another piece of dental floss half an inch above the first knot. Cut the umbilical cord between the two knots, using sterile scissors. Wait for a few minutes for the blood to clot and you can remove the first knot. Keep the puppy away from the mother, so she doesn't remove the floss.

The mother doesn't need to eat the placenta, so remove the placenta from the whelping box. Make sure the dog eliminates all the placentas (there should be one placenta for each puppy), otherwise she will get infected and have further complications.