Whelping Puppies

Knowing that a bitch in whelp may have the ability to deliver an entire litter by herself, several breeders have
decided that they would help with each delivery, then immediately return the puppy to it's mother. Breeders
making this decision have done so because they have deep concerns about the health of the mother and each of
the puppies.

One problem which occurs when the mother is allowed to whelp each puppy by herself is a short umbilical cord.
Mothers tend to chew the cord off too close to the body, which may later result in an umbilical hernia. And most
umbilical hernias have to be surgically repaired. So, to avoid this unnecessary surgery, and to reduce the risk of
other problems which may arise from the mother whelping her pups, it is wise for the breeder to control the
situation as much as possible.

Starting on the 28th day of the gestation period (4 weeks after mating), many breeders have an ultra-sound test
on their bitch. This test is to confirm that the bitch is indeed pregnant, and to receive an approximate number of
puppies which may be born. More times than not, a breeder can double the number of pups seen in the
ultra-sound to arrive at a more accurate estimate. The pups can be side by side therefore only showing 1. If the
ultra-sound shows 2, plan on 4, and so on.


If it has been predetermined that a "C-section" is not necessary, the following may help a breeder to whelp the
pending litter.


A. Rectal Thermometer                        K. Plastic baby bottles ( w/premmie nipples
B. Newspapers                                                 and regular nipples)
C. Cotton thread                                    L. Formula ( Recipe on page 2 )
D. Scissors                                            M. Pedialyte
E. Iodine                                                N. Karo Syrup and/or creamy Peanut Butter
F. Towels                                               O. Kali Phosphoricum 6x ( a Homeopathic
G. Aspirator (De Lee)                                  natural remedy for producing
H. Colored yarn                                                        contractions.
I.  Baby scale                                       P. Surgical gloves & Vasoline
J. Note pad and pen/pencil                  Q. Vet's phone number (24 hr. on call)

A. Rectal Thermometer. The gestation period for dogs is 63 days (9 weeks). Prior to the 56th day, take the
bitch's temperature, once in the morning and once in the evening. Use these temps as a "normal temp". Starting
on the 58th day, take her temperature twice a day as before. When whelping time is near her temp will drop,
then rise back to normal or almost normal. This may happen as close as 48 hours prior to delivery.

When her temperature drops and does NOT rise, get ready to whelp puppies within the next 24 hours. The bitch
may start to nest, start wandering or start pacing, not knowing what to do or where to go. Be sure she knows
where the whelping box is (if you use one). Put her inside the whelping box far in advance and again during this
period when her temperature is down. Make her lie down and understand that the whelping box is a good place.
A safe place for her to have her puppies.

Watch for frantic licking and/or water emission. Emission of a clear "sticky" substance is normal. This emission
will not be in a quantity which can be mistaken for water breakage. This clear "sticky" liquid will be an ooze
rather than a stream. If extreme swelling of the vulva is noticed, or water has been emitted, take the bitch to her
whelping box.

B. Newspaper. This is in addition to the newspaper lining in the bottom of the whelping box. Place one small
section of newspaper under the bitch's rear for each of the puppies to be whelped on. Each pup gets their own
section. Once the head (or rear) of a pup is noticed, the breeder may help by gently pulling as mom pushes.
Some pups may be breach (rear first), but do not panic, watch and help if needed. When the pup is out, place it
on that section of newspaper and move it closer to you at the side of whelping box. Afterbirth may or may not
still be attached to cord. This section of newspaper is for the afterbirth. For health reasons, many breeders do
not allow the mother to eat the afterbirth, it is wrapped in newspaper and thrown in trash.

If a puppy's rear is first coming out (a breach), the breeder may have to help. These steps are listed under item
"P" - Surgical gloves and Vaseline.

Items "C" through "G" will happen in seconds of each other.

C. Cotton thread. Take the thread and tie 2 tight knots around the umbilical cord. The first knot approximately
2 inches from the pup's body, the second knot approximately 2-1/2 inches.

D. Scissors. Cut off excess hanging thread from knots. Then make sure that both knots are  tight, and cut the
umbilical cord between the knots.

E. Iodine. Once cord is cut, remove the top from the bottle of iodine an submerge cut end of umbilical cord
inside bottle, making sure that the end of cord is coated with iodine for disinfecting.

After cord is cut and disinfected, wrap afterbirth in the section of newspaper, throw away in trash can, and place
a check mark on your note pad next to that puppy's entry. The check mark is to serve as notice that each
puppy's afterbirth has been emitted by the mother and NOT still inside the birth canal. If a pup is born without
this afterbirth (sack), do not panic. The sack will probably be pushed out as the next pup in born. So do not
check mark the puppy on your note pad until the sack has been accounted for.

F. Towels. Start rubbing and drying puppy as soon as it arrives. This procedure will not only clean and dry the
pup, but it will also stimulate breatheing.

G. Aspirator (de lee). Place small tube inside pup's mouth and large tube inside your mouth. Gently suck to
remove mucus for puppy's airway. Several attempts may be needed. Pup's airway must be cleared of mucus so
breatheing will start by itself.

If the puppy is still not breatheing on it's own, CPR is the next step. Gently pinch nostrils closed and gently blow
in pup's mouth with your mouth, covering as much of pup's muzzle as possible and keeping fingers pinching

BLOW GENTLY ! Remember that puppy's lungs are very small and will only withstand very little pressure.

During the aspiration process, also check inside puppy's mouth for a cleft pallet. A cleft pallet is an opening in
the roof of the mouth. Breeders that do not check for clefts, usually find them when the puppy nurses. As puppy
sucks milk, bubbles will emerge from their nostrils. The bubbles do not always mean a cleft pallet, but this will
be the time to make sure.

H. Colored yarn. When pup is breatheing on it's own and everything is fine, the pup should be marked for
identification with colored yarn or other means.

I. Baby scale. For weighing each puppy. Bounce scale tray several times and reset at "0" zero for each puppy.
This will give you a correct weight.

J. Note pad and pen/pencil. Each birth can (and should) be recorded on this note pad. Many breeders include
time of birth as well as color of yarn, sex and weight of each puppy. And do not forget the check mark for each
puppy's afterbirth (sack).

Recording each puppy's weight at time of birth is important. By rule of thumb, a puppy should double their birth
weight by 10 days of age.

K. Plastic baby bottles (with premmie nipples and regular nipples). Premmie nipples are for premature and/or
smaller pups. You should have both sizes on hand just in case a smaller pup is born and the regular nipples are
too large or allows too much formula to be released.

L. Formula. (RECIPE ON NEXT PAGE)When pup is dry, breathing on it's own, tagged, weighed and recorded,
it is then placed on it's mother for nursing. Most pups start sucking immediatley. If a pup does not nurse on the
mother, a bottle of warm formula may be needed to begin the nursing process. Bottles of formula for puppies
are warmed just as they are for children. In a pan of water on the stove, NOT the microwave. First, squeeze
nipple and squirt formula into pups mouth to make sure that nipple is open, working properly and that puppy is
getting something.

M. Pedialyte.  If a warm bottle of formula does not work, try a bottle of warm Pedialyte. Same directions as
above. Many breeders have bottles of formula as well as bottles of Pedialyte ready to go prior to whelping the
first pup.

N. Karo Syrup and creamy Peanut Butter. If pup is still not sucking after trying mother, formula and Pedialyte,
rub some Karo Syrup on the puppy's gums or roof of mouth. Using your little finger, place a small amount of
syrup on the tip, then rub it back and forth on gums or roof of mouth. Wait 2 to 3 minutes and try formula again.
If formula does not work, try Pedialyte. When puppy starts to suck, return it to the mother for the needed
nourishment of mother's milk.

If pup still will not suck after trying formula, Pedialyte, and Karo Syrup, rub some creamy Peanut Butter on the
puppy's gums or roof of mouth in the same manner as listed above. Again wait 2 or 3 minutes then try formula.
Most pups will not have to go through this process, but you may have to repeat steps "L" through "N" on other
pups that will not suck.

Once pups are sucking, place them on their mother for nursing. This sucking motion helps to create contractions
for the next birth. When you see the next arrival starting to emerge, remove all puppies from nursing. Place
them on and/or in warm towels inside whelping box, but near you, away from the action that is about to take
place. Return all puppies to their nursing after each birth, for their nourishment as well as to help contractions.
(We use the top of a Vari-Kennel with a heating pad wrapped in towels, set on low, to put the pups in while next
birth is in progress.)

O. Kali Phosphoricum (6x). This is an all natural Homeopathic remedy that produces contractions, and "6x" is
the strength to use. A bottle of 100 pills is as round as your little finger and usually sells for approximately $5 at
a health food store. But only use this if your bitch has trouble with contractions, or no contractions at all with
pups still inside waiting to come out.

Many times a bitch will go up to an hour between the birth of the first pup and the second. Never wait too much
longer than this. A long delivery time for an entire litter will wear the bitch's system down. If her calcium level
drops too low, contractions will be impossible. Even the Kali Phosphoricum may not help with a low calcium
level. You may need help or directions from your vet. After the birth of the second puppy, never wait longer than
15 minutes. After 15 minutes, follow the directions below. (Large litters may take a long time so help from Kali
may be needed)

Take 4 tablets (large dog dose) of Kali Phosphoricum, crush them between 2 spoons and place powder on bitch's
tongue. Within 15 minutes, contractions should begin. (never touch the pills with your hands)

P. Surgical gloves and Vaseline. Keep these on hand just in case. If a pup is stuck in the birth canal and can not
move, or it is a breach birth (rear first), you may have to enter inside and help.
Put on surgical gloves, apply thin coat of Vaseline, then gently help puppy out. You may have to gently work
your fingers along side of the exposed parts to enter inside the canal for assistance.
Gently pulling on the puppy as you gently rock slightly back and forth.

Q. Vet's phone number. Make sure your vet is advised when it is close to time of whelping. See if they will give
you a number to reach them on a 24 hour basis if an emergency arises. Many times advise over the phone will
help you to continue with the whelping. Also. Your vet will know when and if it is necessary to have the bitch
taken to their office for help.

Always remember the old saying..................................................It is better to be safe, than sorry !

(Example of a birth listing on note pad)

Blue= TM - 6:32pm - 15oz.       (blue - yarn tied to pup for I.D. purposes)  (TM= tawny male)
                                  (6:32pm - time of birth)  (15oz. - birth weight of puppy)

A sample of the "Puppy Weight Chart" is available from the owners of this website. Transfer all information
from the notepad onto the puppy weight chart.  Puppy Weight Chart (
Microsoft Works)

The preceding  information on "Whelping Puppies" has been offered here, only as a guide, for breeders that
intend to help their bitch whelp the litter. By no means, do we the authors, recommend these procedures without
medical advise. Any and all procedures listed within this document have been "applied" and "proven", as an
aid, to help whelp full and healthy litters. Readers take full responsiblity for the health and welfare of each
puppy when applying these procedures under their own jurisdiction.

Continue: Puppy Formula & Training Tips