do i need to help my dog give birth?
what to expect in this blog...
- problems and intervention.
- calming mum.
- when pups arrive.
- register with us.
By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.
things to consider.
It’s not just the birth you need to think of, but also the aftercare of your dog and her pups; this can become quite costly, depending on how big the litter of pups are.
You’ll need to cover the cost of the following: extra food for mum whilst she’s pregnant, food for weaning the pups, blankets, whelping boxes, flea and worming treatment for the pups, heat lamps / pads to keep the pups warm at all times, vet bills and microchipping. If the pups are purebreds and you want to register as a reputable dog breeder with The Kennel Club, you must pay a fee for every pup that has been born.
As well as the financial aspect, you should think about whether you would like someone else to be present, should you need support. There’s other factors that need to be taken into account, such as having other animals on the premises, and how safe the environment is for your dog and her pups. It is recommended to inform your vet when the litter is due and to keep their phone number at hand in case you need their advice.
problems that may arise and when to intervene.
Most births should run smoothly as nature takes its course and maternal instincts kick in, however, there are signs to look out for which may require immediate veterinary attention.
Some dogs experience dystocia, meaning they are having difficulties pushing their puppies through the pelvic canal. If you notice any of the following symptoms, please contact your vet immediately:
- Your dog has intense contractions for over 20 minutes with no sign of a pup being born
- Green discharge / blood is present and consistent without pups being born
- Your dog is continually straining with a pup stuck in the birth canal
- It has been 2 hours since labour began but no pups have been born
- 2 hours have passed since the first pup was born
- If a pup is in the breech position (tail first)
- Your dog seems lethargic, or her body temperature passes 39.4 Degrees Celsius
- If your dog is having difficulty breathing (might be a sign of hypoxia)
There are other scenarios when your dog might just need a little assistance from you. For example, when puppies are born, the mother instinctively licks off the protective membrane to clean them and help them breathe, and she also removes the umbilical cord. If you notice a pup has been born and mum hasn’t started this process after a few minutes, you’ll need to step in and help her with this. Please contact your vet for guidance.
Some breeds are more susceptible to complications such as dystocia and may require an emergency c-section. They are known as brachycephalic breeds, meaning they are flat-faced or short-nosed, such as pugs and french bulldogs. If your dog is classified as one of these breeds, it may be worth planning a c-section, as it is more likely that she would struggle with a natural birth.
Ask your vet when it is the safest time for your dog to have the procedure. It is important that the pups are fully developed and have the best chance of survival, as well as causing minimal distress to your dog.
keeping mum calm.
This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure her labour runs as smoothly as possible. Make sure her whelping box is in a quiet space, sanitised, and filled with plenty of blankets and cushions so she feels comfortable. She might want you to stay nearby or she’ll want her own space, you know your dog better than anyone so act accordingly. You can also try playing soothing music in the background; magic radio should do the trick!
what do i do with the pups whilst she is still birthing?
It’s best to let mum take over whilst her pups are being born, but she might need some guidance, especially for her first litter. Pups will have no sight or sound for the first few weeks of their life; occasionally, you might have to carefully move them back to their mother for her warmth and milk if you see that they’ve strayed too far. Pups at this age can chill easily and this could become fatal.
become a breeder partner with us.
We pride ourselves in working with ethical breeders who want the best for their pups. If you want to become a registered breeder with us and benefit from our puppy socialisation programmes, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.