Tips for caring for your first litter of puppies
Congratulations - you and your canine best friend are awaiting your first litter of puppies! What a wonderful time you’re going to have. It can be really exciting awaiting for the patter of tiny paws, but the period running up to those puppies arriving can also be a bit daunting - even to the experienced dog owner. So how do you prepare for your first litter?
Before the birth
in the run-up to the birth, take your expectant mama to the vet to have her checked over and ask about any vaccinations she may need. It’s not just mum you need to think about The mother will pass antibodies to the puppies when feeding. Be sure to take your vet’s advice on board. And don’t forget the space and things the puppies themselves will need when they arrive.
Setting up a whelping box
A whelping box is the space you create for your puppy momma to give birth. You’ll need something comfy in there for the mother, as she will hopefully give birth in there and also clean her puppies up once delivered. The whelping box could just be a box with raised edges or something more elaborate with a little ramp for the young ones. If you’re unsure of what to get, you can also find many whelping box options online in a variety of styles. Set this up somewhere relatively quiet and not too bright. Underneath this you can place a suitable mat to catch any little accidents.
Supporting a dog in labour
Keep a look out for the early stages of labour in the mum, she might stop eating, be sick or restless. These symptoms may show up around 12 hours before to the active labour stage. Don’t feel that you have to stay with her the whole time, she might want some space away from everyone. Keep male dogs away from the mother when she is in labour to avoid any upset or potentially the newborn puppies being hurt.
Puppies may start to arrive once active labour passes the one hour mark. Don’t get involved - mum’s instincts will show her what to do before, during and after the arrival of your new friends..
Once your pups are here
What else do you need to think about with the arrival of your new litter? Keep in mind that the arrival of them will change the dynamic of the home, so give the new mum some time to adjust. You could also get ahead of the game and get everything ready for when the puppies are a little older, such as food bowls, ID tags with your address on them, toys, collars and other items. While they won’t be in use straight away, it’s good to know you won’t need to rush out for them later.
The one thing you won’t need to stock up on is love, as the moment you see your first litter of puppies, it’ll never be in short supply!