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How to Prepare your Dog to Give Birth October 3, 2017

If you were to get pregnant, you could ask your mother, sisters, and friends how to prepare. Your doctor would be a great resource, and you could bet you could find nearby childbirth classes. But when your dog gets pregnant, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do. You may not know anyone whose canine companion has given birth. So what do you do when you’re preparing your dog for motherhood?

1.) Talk to your veterinarian

Your veterinarian can advise you on how many puppies to expect and on whether or not there are special considerations for your particular dog breed. They are also the best resource on any particular dog foods you should be feeding your dog up to and after birth.

Make sure you ask what their emergency hours are, if any. If they don’t have emergency hours, ask who you can contact in the area if there are complications during whelping. Although most births can be handled at home, you’ll want someone to contact if your dog is struggling to or if one of the puppies is sick or injured when they come into this world.

2.) Prepare your home

You’ll want to get a whelping box so that your dog and her puppies can be comfortable during the birthing process. It’s important that the box has enough room for the whole family to rest in comfortably. Encourage the mom to nap in the box regularly, and make sure she seems comfortable there. You’ll want to make sure that this is her go-to place when she’s ready to give birth. For whelping boxes, whelping kits, and heated pet beds, check out Pet Nap.

Once the puppies start exploring, you’ll also want to ensure you can keep them contained to one area of your home. You may find that baby gates are the best way to enclose them. Remember that puppies aren’t born house-trained, and be sure to lay out plenty of newspapers for easy clean-up.

3.) Prepare your family

This is especially important if you have young children. Although it’s great for them to be excited about the incoming puppies, make sure they know that the mother will need some space during labor and shortly after. New mothers are instinctively protective of their young, so you’ll want to give her room to feel secure.

A litter of puppies can also be a lot of work. They need to be kept warm and fed regularly. If one of them is undersized at birth, you may have to supplement the food its mother is providing.

4.) Understand the needs at birth

Puppies are born in a thin membrane which needs to be broken shortly after birth. If the membrane isn’t broken, the puppies will suffocate. Although the mother should instinctively break this herself, you’ll want to be on hand to assist if she doesn’t or if she looks to be having difficulties. Make sure you have gloves ready, and that you remain calm while you assist so that she doesn’t think you are hurting her puppy.

Each puppy will be attached to its mother by an umbilical cord. The mother may chew through this cord herself, but if she does not, you’ll want to cut it and tie it off. And just like with human pregnancies, don’t forget about the after birth! Placentas can be safely disposed of.

After puppies are born, you’ll want to move them to a warm area. You can provide this either with heating lamps or with a heated bed. Wherever you move them to, make sure it’s within the mother’s line of vision.

5.) Stay calm

Instinct will prepare your dog for the birth of her litter. Keep in mind that she knows what to do to ensure her puppies are safe, and her instincts will take over as soon as she goes into labor. Although it’s important to be on hand if she needs you, don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful miracle that is birth.

Categories: Animals