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When it’s time for your dog to give birth, you need to be prepared for all eventualities. Prepare a whelping kit which includes clean towels, surgical gloves, a hemostat, clean scissors and some clean cotton thread. Don’t forget to keep the phone number of your nearest emergency vet handy, should your bitch need help to deliver her babies.
In the few days before she has her puppies, your dog may go off her food, and milk often leaks from her nipples. Her body temperature will drop, and she will start to prepare her nesting area.
There are three parts of the birth process in dogs. During stage 1 of labor, her uterus has regular contractions, which increase in frequency and intensity. Your dog will probably be restless and uncomfortable, and will change position regularly. There will be a clear mucus discharge from her vagina.
Stage 2 is when the hard work starts, and the pups are pushed out. Most dogs lie down to deliver their puppies, but don’t be concerned if your dog chooses to squat, or even to stand up for the birth. The first pup should make its appearance within an hour of your bitch starting to push.
A pup may be born still in its sac, and the new mom should tear the sac open with their teeth and start cleaning her baby. You can also expect her to break the umbilical cord and eat the placenta. If she doesn’t know what to do, you’ll have to take over. Remove the sac from the pup and rub it dry with a clean towel until it is breathing well. Tie the umbilical cord off about 1″ from the pup, then carefully cut it.
If the placenta hasn’t been delivered with the pup, it should be passed soon afterwards. This is stage 3 of labor.
This is what happens during a normal whelping. Here are some indications that things aren’t going well, and your dog needs veterinary help.
1. If she has excessive amounts of fresh blood from the vagina.
2. If her body temperature increases beyond 102 degrees Fahrenheit
3. If there is no puppy after half an hour of hard pushing.
4. If she becomes very depressed and stops pushing.
In Summary – Most dogs don’t have any problems at all having their babies, and don’t need any help from their owner. However, if you are concerned at all, call your veterinarian for advice.
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