How do I prepare my house for a litter of puppies?
There are few things in the world more exciting than a litter of puppies. The lead-up to your new arrivals is filled with eager anticipation, but it can also be stressful. There are lots of things to do and prepare, which can be overwhelming. But don’t worry — we’ll talk you through what you need to prepare your house for a new litter.
What you need to prepare for a litter of puppies
As you prepare yourself for the chaos of newborn puppies around the house, there are things you must have to be able to safely raise a newborn litter of puppies.
A whelping box — also called a nesting box — is an enclosure designed to protect puppies during birth and early life. It is a safe space for puppies to stay warm and avoid injury.
You should set up the whelping box at least a week before the due date. It needs to be large enough to comfortably hold mama and her whole litter while ensuring the puppies can’t climb and fall out.
While you can buy purpose-built whelping boxes, you don’t need anything fancy. Even a child’s paddling pool will do the job! You’ll need to pack the box with plenty of soft blankets to make sure it’s warm and comfortable. Just remember that whatever you put in the whelping box should be easy to clean or replaceable.
Puppies can’t regulate their temperature very well for a week or two after birth. They’re usually okay as long as they stay close to their mother and are in a warm environment. However, sometimes the perfect environment isn’t possible, or their mother needs a break. In these situations, a heat lamp will help ensure they stay warm.
A female dog’s temperature is a great indicator of how close she is to giving birth. Start taking the mama’s temperature around two weeks before the due date and make sure to take note of it. When her temperature drops to 37/37.5C, get ready for those puppies to come within the next 24 hours!
Observing the puppies’ weight is crucial to ensure they grow up healthy. You can buy specially made scales or simply use a baby scale. Weigh each puppy once daily to ensure they’re gaining weight at a good pace. The rule of thumb is that at 10 days old, they should be double their birth weight.
While you don’t want to take the puppies away from their mother too much, you should be quickly tending to any issues that pop up. A bulb syringe to suction fluids from a newborn puppy’s mouth is crucial. It’s also essential you have a pair of medical scissors and a hemostat on hand to help detach umbilical cords if needed.
Towels and bedding
As we mentioned, a whelping box should be lined with lots of soft material. Towels and bedding are always great picks because they can be swapped and cleaned regularly. Puppy training pads are also a great idea to help you clean up easily.
The whelping process gets messy. And those little puppies are adorable, but they’re not clean! Make sure to have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand, including gloves, pee pads, hand sanitiser, antibacterial spray, and so on.
When you’re dealing with a litter of tiny little jellybean-like puppies, it’s going to be tough to tell them apart. Grab some thin, soft puppy collars in different colours to make sure you can tell Biscuit apart from Benedict Cumberbark.
Get ready for your first litter with Paws in Work