So you're going to have puppies.............

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'It's all about- Me!'
Barked: Thu Feb 22, '07 4:31pm PST 
***Sorry very long kind of turned in to a book***

There have been sooooo many topics about breeding and having puppies recently Mom decided share her experiences whelping.

Ideally the sire and dam are healthy individuals, fully health screened, proper age (minimum 2 years old and, Mom's preference for the female, no older than 5 for a first litter) and in great physical condition.

First due date is aprox 63 days from the first breeding, though it can be as early as 58 and long as 68 days. Sperm can also live for quite a while before implanting so that can throw off calculations by up to a week. Mom does 2-3 breedings a day between each one. That limits the time frame somewhat, one girl she sent off to be bred was bred 8 times over a 12 day period, made determining her due date much more difficult.

Give them a good quality food. Mom feeds pretty much normal amounts the first month, then ups it. Too little food and the Mom to be suffers, too much and the puppies can get too big to be born naturally.

It's a good idea to take your girls temp once a week after being bred. That gives you a good idea of her normal temp (dogs, like people, can run a little hot or cold normally). If she seem 'off' at any point, take her temp. If there is a problem catching it early can save her life.

If there is any discharge during pregnancy-GO TO THE VET
If there is green discharge before the first puppy is born-GO TO THE VET
Green discharge after the first puppy is normal.

Determining pregnancy can be tricky. Mom's had no luck with palpating, so so luck with ultrasounds. She does usually do an x-ray a few days before delivery, but even then there have been pups hiding. They are useful in determining if the puppies are too large or not.

Two weeks before the first due date Mom moves the Mom to be into the whelping room. She uses a plastic wading kiddie wading pool (inexpensive and easy to keep clean) with an ex-pen around it to keep Mom to be in. She gives her plenty of blankets to root around in and usually puts a sheet over the top of the ex-pen to make it more dark and safe feeling. Some girls like tearing up newspaper, some don't.

About a week beforehand Mom makes up puppy birthing charts, places for time of birth, sex, color/markings, birth weight (also weight at 12 and 24 hours, then daily weight checks for the first 2 weeks. It's ok if a puppy doesn't gain in the first 24 hours, but they shouldn't loose weight either, can be a sign of something wrong.

Mom is very hands on with deliveries. She would hate herself if anything happened that could have been avoided by her being there. A week beforehand Mom and Dad takes turns sleeping next to the whelping box. Dad ends up working from home usually when it gets close, having two people present is so much easier.

A few days beforehand Mom gets her supplies ready:

towels, lots and lots of towels, bar towel size are great

Fresh blankets/sheets for bedding, again lots

bulb aspirator, baby size, for clearing puppy lungs is necessary, though have to be careful not to use too much force

dental floss, unwaxed, unflavored, for tieing off a bleeding umbilical cord.

forceps for clamping an umbilical cord and to help trim them up, simulates teeth cutting and gives a ragged edge that clots faster

scale, for weighing the pups

laundry basket lined with towels to put delivered puppies in while others are being born.

heating pad (the microwave ones are great)

paper towels and trashbags, an amazing amount of gloop is produced

her veterinary book with her vet and emergency vet numbers written on the cover.

There is sometimes a drop in temp 12 hours before delivery. Mom has yet to catch this. She does however take temps 2x a day the week before delivery, mainly to make sure they aren't running a fever.

So far every delivery has gone pretty much this way:

Mom to be starts getting restless, scratching some, panting some. Mom puts off her trip to the grocery store and has Dad bring home dinner.
Humans held hostage Day 1

Calm, quiet, acting normal, Mom thinks about making a quick run out and panting starts, Dad brings home more take-out.
Humans held hostage Day 2

Mom to be has a restless night, whoever is sleeping with her, gets other one up. Mom to be goes back to sleep. Mom tells Dad you're working from home tomorrow. Eat leftover take-out.
Humans held hostage day 3

Just enough panting, whining and digging to keep both people home. Mom and Dad are pretty groggy by his point. Dig something out of the freezer for dinner.
Humans held hostage day 4

Usually by late that night the puppies start coming. Mom and Dad have had maybe 8 hours sleep over the last 3 days. They are running on adrenaline and caffeine at this point.

Typically the first puppy is the hardest, especially with a first time Mom. Be prepared to assist if need be. Puppies can be born in or out of the placenta. If they are delivered in and Mom isn't getting them out, you need to do it. Rip it open, use a towel to start drying and rubbing the puppy. Hold of the cord so Mom doesn't bite it too short. This is not a time for delicacy. Again with the towel hold the puppy belly down and shake the forward, forcing the fluid out of their lungs. Use the aspirator if necessary to help clear the lungs. If fluid is left in them they can develop respiratory infections. If any extremities are blue rub them with the towel to stimulate circulation.

Mom usually has no choice with the placentas, they are usually swallowed before she can get them away. Ideally she would be able to weigh the placenta and the puppy but thats just never happened.

Encourage the puppy to nurse. Usually Mom will be quite happy with her one puppy and say she's done. Once contractions start again, Mom takes the puppy away to the prepared basket with the heating pad. After second puppy is born, first is put back in with Mom and new littermate, encourage nursing. Repeat until done, usually the sun is up and Mom and Dad are ready to pass out.

Now, if during the process the new Mother says I'm done and you know there are more in there a walk can be in order. Sometimes a bit of a walk and quick potty break can help get things going again. So leash, dog, husband with flashlight, towel and forceps all come along on the walk at 3am, hopefully not in the rain.

That is a nice normal delivery, everyone alive and thriving. Mom's had the horrible ones too though, dead septic puppy had to c-section to save the litter, puppies too large to be born naturally, stillborn that couldn't be revived, puppies that hadn't had good connection to the uterus and weren't fully formed. She goes into every breeding knowing she could loose the Mom, the litter or both.


Go ahead, make- my day.
Barked: Thu Feb 22, '07 4:41pm PST 
That sums it up perfectly. I remember going through that. Well, Kennit is beautiful and I'm sure all her puppies were gorgeous!
Kiona CGC

The Prettiest- Princess

Barked: Thu Feb 22, '07 5:13pm PST 
Kennitt, as always, you provide excellent advice.

Why, oh why, can't they all be like you?

PS - congrats on your new Keeshounds!!!! I meant to tell you that in your thread!!!

Kaiser - My sweet boy- is gone

The Mister
Barked: Thu Feb 22, '07 5:20pm PST 
And THIS is why I would never want to be a breeder!!! big laugh

Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Thu Feb 22, '07 10:17pm PST 
Great post! Thanks so much for taking the time to write that. I love reading other's accounts of the process, and hopefully this will be informative to those who are curious about what's involved. Hard work for the dog moms and their humans!

for Rio - CYSTS BE GONE!!
Barked: Fri Feb 23, '07 4:37am PST 
Hats off to the breeders - I know I could never do it! Thank you for that explanation!

'It's all about- Me!'
Barked: Fri Feb 23, '07 8:42am PST 
It is many long hours and a whole lot of work. And once they arrive the work really starts, but that's another book;-)

Kiona, the Kees are great, like big fuzzy bedroom slippers running around the house;-)

Rosalita Lola "Rosie"

Love is never- being told you'- naughty!
Barked: Fri Feb 23, '07 8:50am PST 
Great post Kennitt, if only others were as thorough as you.

Silent Observer
Barked: Tue Feb 27, '07 11:09am PST 
Kennitt -

What a fantastic guide. I always love reading your wise words and advice in these forums.

There's no such- thing as to much- food!
Barked: Tue Feb 27, '07 11:39am PST 
WONDERFUL advise!!!!!!! And you're right - even though it's very hard - the whelping is the easy part, is the rearing that's hard LOL I wish they could sticky some topics like this one so they're easy to find and refure people to!
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