Bitch Pregnancy Calendar
Overview Highlights of PregnancyIn the first 6 weeks of pregnancy
everything should remain as usual. She should be allowed to run & play all she wants and food amount should remain the
same! At 28-30 days into the pregnancy (from first breeding) she should be checked to confirm that she is actually pregnant.
Once pregnancy is confirmed, you can start to change her over to puppy food slowly! At
about 6 weeks after breeding, you should start to increase the amount of food and restrict some of the play time. Jumping
and roughhousing should be avoided!
As the need for food increases, the size of the stomach decreases due to puppies getting
bigger. That is why the number of feedings is increased and may be as many as 5 meals per day depending on the number of puppies
At 55 days, do an x-ray to help determine how many puppies are present. I have known
of females who have their labor end after a couple of puppies when the owner knew that there were more that needed to be delivered.
Several puppies and their Mom's have been saved by the knowledge of how many puppies to expect before giving up!
Highlights of Whelping
Notebook & pencil to record time, sex, weight, etc.
A scale for weighing puppies
Clean dry cloths/towels for drying, rubbing & possibly catching puppies
Scissors & hemostats (or dental floss) for clamping & cutting cords
Alcohol for cleaning the scissors & hemostats
Old sheets for Mom to nest & deliver puppies (get material from Wal-Mart for $1.00/yard, use the
t-shirt type of material)
Ice water & warm water
Whiskey & an eye dropper for the stubborn pup who doesn't want to breathe
Iodine tincture for the cut end of the puppys' cord
An ear bulb syringe for aspirating the puppy to facilitate breathing
LOTS of paper towels for cleaning up during whelping
K-Y Jelly for taking temperature etc...
Heat lamp or hot water bottle
Disposable latex gloves
A pot of hot coffee for the long night ahead.
How to Know When Mom is Ready
Usually the first indication will be her Temperature will go down at least 1 degree. This is one reason
why it is important to take her temperature at the same time every morning & night from at least a week before her due
date. It may go up & down, but when it stays down be prepared.
You may see her cleaning herself often. She may start cleaning her vulva & her breasts in preperation
for her babies. She may also have a blood tinged mucous discharge.
She will make a Nest, hopefully in the whelping box, by Digging through the sheets that you have put
in there for her.
She will start to have Frequent Soft Stools, & will begin Panting. Now you know she is ready!
Expect a late night delivery, since they seem to like to keep you up all night.
Take her temperature every 2 hours after she starts panting.
When to Start Worrying
Never let her temperature go below 97 degrees. If it does start to go down call the Vet immediately.
Puppies usually arrive within 5-10 minutes after the water breaks. NEVER LET HER GO WITHOUT A PUPPY
FOR MORE THEN AN HOUR AFTER THE WATER BREAKS.
Some signs of trouble are: Severe restlessness, sudden lack of puppy movement, a greenish colored
discharge, & any indication that she might be in pain.
You will see the pink little feet first. You can't do anything until the puppy is out. Always break
the sac at the FACE FIRST even with a breech.
If the sac breaks before the pup is all the way out, it could drown. NEVER break the sac in a breech
puppy until the pup is all the way out.
Opening the Sac
Use your finger and do the face first as previously mentioned.
When the sac is off the face, stick your finger into the puppy's mouth & scoop out anything inside.
If you start to see bubbles, then aspirate gently with the ear bulb syringe. ALWAYS ASPERATE THE MOUTH
Do ALL OF THE ABOVE before you worry about the cord.
Use the Hemostats & clamp the cord 2 inches away from the puppy. Cut the cord on the side away
from the puppy.
Do not cut too far away from the hemostats.
Put iodine all over the cut end of the cord.
Put a glove on & cover it with K-Y Jelly.
Carefully put your finger inside the bitch & wrap your finger around the cord.
Pull gently during a contraction. ONLY PULL DURING THE CONTRACTION.
Hold the puppy in a towel because the pup will be too slippery to grasp firmly with your hands.
Grasp the puppy FIRMLY NOT TIGHTLY in your hands with your thumbs behind the puppy's head/neck.
Hold the puppy above your head & swing gently downwards. Do not jerk, or swing fast. It should
be a solid flowing movement.
After the puppy is breathing and seems to be doing well, give it to Mom to nurse. The puppy should
begin nursing right away! If not, you may have to help it by holding it to a nipple. Being born can be exhausting!
When the next puppy is on it's way, you put the first one(s) to the side under the heat lamp or on
a warm hot water bottle.
Sometimes the bitch will become very restles when the next pup is coming. That is why you take the
first one(s) away at that time. They can go back to nursing after the pup is born.
Nourishment During Whelping
Give her Swanson's Chicken Broth to help keep her strength up between puppies.
If she will not take the broth then give her water, but try to get her to take the broth.
Try to keep the bedding as dry & clean as possible. This is where the paper towels come in handy.
There will be a lot of liquid from the whelping & you need to use the paper towels to soak at least some of it up. You
should also have a large garbage bag to put the soiled paper towels.
It would be a good idea to put down lots of paper towels & put a sheet on top of them for the
next puppy. The paper towels will keep it semi-dry in the box. Then between puppies you can throw away the old paper towels
& put new ones.
Let the family rest for about an hour, then take Mom out (very reluctantly) to relieve herself and
clean the entire bed.
Put the pups in a warm spot & take all of the bedding out of the box.It would be a good idea to
have another large bag to put the bedding in until you are done cleaning out the box & can take it to the washing machine.
You need to wash the bedding right away. Put it in the washer & let it sit in cold water for a
while, it will be easier to clean once you are ready to start the washer.
You need to change the bedding EVERY DAY & put new clean bedding in.
I use baby blankets during the day to cover soiled spots in the box. The receiving blankets work very
Take the puppies and Mom to the Veterinarian within 24 hours for puppy exams & a clean out shot
Have the dew claws done at 4-5 days old.
Consult your vet for a schedule of puppy shots.
Links To Other Whelping Info
Issues to discuss before you breed your dog
Litter Weight Record
Puppy Data Sheet
Schedule of Puppy events
Whelping Management Articles