The natural instinct of a pregnant dog is to take precautions when giving birth to young puppies. However, the dog owner must ensure the safety and health of the mother and young puppies by knowing the ways in which they can be helped.
Preparing to give birth
1- Check the pregnant dog at the vet for regular follow-up.
Make an appointment to go to the vet to check on your pregnant dog. The doctor will make sure the bitch is pregnant and review any complications that may occur.
2- Choose the right place to give birth.
Provide a designated area for the puppies to be born at least a week before their due date. You should give her enough space by placing a towel or blanket on the bed or box, to make sure she is completely comfortable.
– Pick a specific place from the start, such as a separate room, so you can have complete privacy and peace of mind.
3- Provide food and water near the birthplace.
Have food and water available to the pregnant dog within walking distance so that she can easily reach him. This will prevent the dog from leaving the puppies alone to drink or eat.
4- Feed the dog puppy food during pregnancy.
A pregnant dog should eat a large amount of puppy food as it is high in protein and calcium. The goal is to prepare the body to excrete a large amount of the basic components of milk.
– The dog will eat puppy food until they reach weaning age.
Inspect the pregnant dog before and after birth
5- Monitor the dog’s condition during delivery.
If you feel comfortable with her, then you can monitor her during delivery, being careful not to overdo it. Expect your pregnant dog to feel uncomfortable during contractions, just as it would in humans. These contractions are an essential component of the process.
– In many cases, puppies are born in the middle of the night while you sleep. Try to check on the bitch when you wake up, to make it a continuous habit, as she approaches the scheduled birth date.
6- Make sure your bitch cleans the puppies right after birth.
The mother should groom the puppies as soon as they are born, so give her a minute or two to get the fetus out of the bag and start licking the puppies. If the mother takes longer than that, in this case you can intervene and remove the cyst and rub the fetus hard to stimulate the respiratory system.
– In extreme cases, the umbilical cord can be carefully tied about 2.5 cm from the puppy’s side and cut with clean scissors.
7- Make sure the mother takes care of her puppies.
Puppies should start feeding about 1 to 3 hours after birth. Sometimes you may want to place the puppy on the mother’s nipple and gently squeeze the milk out to show him the idea.
– If the young puppy refuses to nurse or the mother refuses to breastfeed, the puppy may suffer from some serious medical conditions such as a split palate. Open the puppy’s mouth and check the roof of the throat. It should have a solid surface with no gaps in the sinus duct. Consult a doctor if you feel concerned.
– You may have to feed the puppies with special accounts using a dedicated tube or bottle, when they are unable to eat, on the other hand it is a healthy way.
Count the babies after birth to find out the exact amount. This helps identify each puppy’s data.
9- Do not remove the placenta right away.
The mother bitch may want to eat the placenta, which is not considered harmful. Eating the placenta after delivery restores all the nutrients lost during pregnancy. Do not feel the need to remove it immediately unless you refuse to take it, in which case you can throw it away.
– In some cases, eating the placenta may cause the dog to vomit.
– Remember that every puppy has a placenta.
10- Keep the place of birth warm.
Puppies are unable to regulate their temperature efficiently and need to be kept warm. Keep the birthing area warm for the first few days at 29°C, which can then reach 21 to 26°C.
– You can use a heat lamp on one side of the birthing box to provide some extra heat. If your puppy is cold, he won’t move around much. Check the birthing area to make sure it is warm enough and that the puppy stays close to its mother with the rest of the puppies.
11- Take the pregnant dog and puppies to the vet for some tests.
Make an appointment to see your doctor for some postpartum checkups. The vet will make sure that the mother is healing properly and the puppies are growing properly.
12- Separate the mother and puppies from other dogs.
If your father dog is with you, make sure it is in an area separate from the mother and the puppies. Other dogs should not be around causing distress to the mother or the puppies. There is a possibility of a fight between the adult dogs or between the puppies themselves, making the mother aggressive in order to protect her young. This act is a natural behavior, and the pregnant dog should not be punished for her natural instinct.
– Aggression by the mother towards humans may also occur, so keep the children away from the puppies as well.
13- Avoid bathing the pregnant dog immediately after birth.
If the bitch is unclean, wait several weeks before bathing with an oatmeal shampoo for dogs. Make sure to rinse it carefully to not leave any powder residue that could come into contact with the puppies while they are feeding.
Modern Mother Care
14- Feed the mother the food of the young puppies.
A nursing mother needs to eat an appropriate amount of foods rich in calcium and protein. This will increase the mother’s production of beneficial milk. You should eat puppy food until they reach puberty.
– Allow her to eat as much food as she needs, which will be four times as much for a non-pregnant bitch. You cannot overfeed her during this period as the milk production process requires a large amount of calories.
– Remember that the first 24 or 48 hours after birth the mother may stop eating any foods.
15- Do not use calcium supplements in the mother’s food.
Do not increase the calcium level in the mother’s food without first talking to your vet. Getting more calcium than she needs may give her milk fever later on.
– Milk fever is caused by a noticeable decrease in the level of calcium in the blood, which usually occurs one or two weeks after breastfeeding. The dog’s muscles will start to stiffen and may lead to shivering and then some tremors due to too low calcium.
– Go to the vet immediately if you suspect she has milk fever.
16- Allow the mother to arrange the task schedule.
From the beginning of the second week until the fourth week, the mother will be busy with the young pups to attend to their needs and take care of them. It will be necessary to reach them easily to provide them with love and hygiene. Take her outside for short periods of time for a 10-minute shower.
17- Cut the dog’s long hair.
If your dog has long hair, trim it hygienically around the tail, hind feet, and around the udder to help keep these areas clean when the puppies are born.
– The breeder or vet will do these steps if you feel uncomfortable or if you don’t have the tools you need.
18- Check the udder of the nursing dog daily.
Mastitis is possible, but it won’t develop quickly. If you notice that the udder turns red or purple, becomes dry and hot, and your dog ache when pressed, then there is a problem. In some serious cases, mastitis can lead to the death of a nursing dog.
– If you suspect that she has mastitis, go to the vet immediately. You must go immediately, even if it is necessary to go to the emergency veterinary hospital.
19- Expect to see some vaginal discharge.
It is normal to see some vaginal discharge from the mother bitch during the first weeks (up to 8 weeks) after giving birth. These secretions appear reddish brown and are mucous in shape. These secretions will be accompanied by some strange odors.
– Take your dog to the vet if you notice some green, gray, or yellow discharge. The cause of these secretions may be an infection in the uterus.
Small puppy care
20- Lose the puppies while feeding.
Make sure to feed the puppies every few hours for the first few weeks. They should eat at least every two to four hours. Happy puppies are sleeping puppies, so it may be because they are not getting enough food that they cry a lot. Check their full bellies and clean hair to make sure they are getting all the care.
– Try weighing the puppies on a digital scale to make sure they gain the specified weight each day. The puppies should double their weight during the first week.
– Never lose sight of a puppy that is smaller in size or less mobile than other puppies. Take him to the vet right away as he may need some extra care or some supplements.
21- Inspect puppies for abnormalities.
If you notice that your puppy is thinner and smaller than the rest, this could be a sign of a lack of food or some other problem. Take the puppy to the vet for an examination immediately, as young puppies develop dehydration and some health problems quickly, just like a newborn.
As puppies get older and more mobile, the place becomes more messy than before. Cleaning up after puppies at least two or three times a day will keep the puppies healthy.
Puppies need your help to socialize appropriately with the new world and meet new people. Carry each puppy a few times a day and try to get the puppies to get used to the idea of touching any part of their body so that they don’t feel suspicious when they get older.
24- Wait until the puppies are 8 weeks old before you start separating them from the mother.
If you are about to sell or give the puppies to someone else, wait until they are 8 weeks old before handing them over to the new buyer. Selling puppies before they reach eight weeks of age is against the law in some countries and regions.
– Puppies should reach weaning on their own to eat and drink water before leaving the house.
– Begin following up on deworming and immunizations before leaving the puppy. Consult your vet and follow his instructions.