Tips for Safer Dog Whelping

Whether you are an experienced breeder or if you are caring for your first canine pregnancy, there are many important things to remember before, during and after dog whelping. Beginning when you have confirmed that your dog is pregnant, there are a variety of preparatory measures that you should take in order to ensure that your pet and puppies are safe and healthy. Continue reading for some basic tips for a successful active labor and whelping.

Preparing Your Dog for Whelping

It is vitally important that your dog be comfortable during labor. However, ensuring that this process occurs smoothly requires preparation on your part. The single most important factor in your dog's comfort is the whelping box. When you confirm that your pet is pregnant, cordon off a section of a well-lit, warm room and encourage your dog to spend as much time there as possible. Lay a flattened box or tray out with cushions and blankets. The box itself should be large enough to allow the dog to move around slightly, but it should be cozy.

A veterinarian should keep a close eye on your dog during her pregnancy. There are a number of complications that can arise before and during a pregnancy that can prove harmful to the mother and the puppies both. Having your pregnant dog examined regularly will help to ensure that she carries her pups to term healthily.

Ensuring a Healthy Delivery

Dogs have successfully delivered pups without human assistance for the entirety of the species' existence. However, a human presence can help to ensure that the entire process is free of complications.

It is crucial that you recognize the signs of imminent labor. This will allow you to prepare yourself and your dog both. Watch for signs of labor around 60 days into the pregnancy. Canine gestation is typically 63 days, but there is a chance that your pet will deliver a few days earlier or later than that.

When your dog is a few hours away from delivery, her internal temperature will drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect delivery to begin within 24 hours of this temperature drop. If it doesn't begin in this time frame, take your dog for emergency medical examination.

During Labor

Each puppy is born in a placenta sac. Typically the mother will break this sac within seconds in order to prevent the puppy from suffocating. If she fails to do so, gently break the membrane of the sac to allow the new pup access to fresh air.

Wait 30 minutes after delivery before cutting each pup's umbilical cord. Again, the mother may do this herself, but monitor her closely and prepare to cut the cord one inch from her body if she does not.

Immediately following the birth of the pups, turn on a heat lamp to ensure that they don't become dangerously cold. It is also vital that they nurse within 2 hours after birth, as this ensures that each puppy receives the necessary immune system boost from the mother's colostrum.

These tips will prove helpful in ensuring a safe pregnancy, but there are many other issues that may arise. If in doubt at any point in the process, consult with a veterinarian for further advice.