Somehow, puppy birthing, or whelping, is something a lot of owners appear to dread.
Is it really, though? Scary?
Delivering young’uns, be it babies or puppies, is definitely a “handle with due care” kind of scene.
But it need not be something you become overtly nervous about.
As a doggy’s BFF, you should know that dogs are more than okay handling this themselves. How do you think wolves, and other non-canine beings that don’t live with us “civilized folk”, manage?
A mother’s instincts, animal or otherwise, are very reliable indeed, and you can be sure that your assistance is not crucial.
It is very welcome, however.
And as long as you’re keeping an eye on things, it’s best to do everything right, isn’t it?
Let’s whittle down everything to 5 simple, and crucial things to keep in mind. But first, let’s make sure you know two very basic things, to be fully prepared mentally for the process:
- Do your best not to get too involved as long as things are progressing smoothly
- It’s going to get messy. You’re forewarned.
- Whatever happens, be cool, and efficient. You don’t want the first thing the pups experience to be a human freaking out on them.
So without further ado, let’s get into the 5 simple, and crucial things to keep in mind when delivering puppies:
1. Prior Check-Up for the Mother to See that Everything’s A-Okay
Like any mother of the people kind keeps her obstetrician/gynecologist appointments without fail, you must see that your dog is fully checked up by the vet before whelping.
You want to know if there are any particular things you need to keep in mind regarding her condition, or, God forbid, there’s any trouble that needs the vet’s attention.
And if there are any reasons for you not to deliver the puppies at home, but under the vet’s supervision, they can get flagged well in advance.
If you’re really ahead of the curve, you’ll get a medical check-up for her before she breeds, too.
And if you’re really smart, and fortunate, you could get your hands on the medical certificates of the father, as well.
Make sure you follow all the instructions and advice the vet has for you, including those for her diet, exercise, and monitoring the signs of the beginning of the whelping.
2. Set the Stage Well in Advance
By stage, we mean the whelping box, of course.
This is very important to the mother, being the place she chooses to deliver her pups.
So having it ready well in advance, and to the liking of the mother will be really helpful to smoothen the whole process.
The boxes to tick when it comes to the whelping box:
- It’s warm and dry
- It’s away from the general noise and hubbub of the living area – i.e. other people and animals
- It’s comfortable – with the right balance between roomy and cozy
The box should be more or less like a den of sorts, but with an open top and front for the mum to enter and exit easily, and enough protection from the elements.
A cardboard box with a cut-out front and/or top with some warm rags or blankets inside for comfort makes a pretty decent whelping box.
3. Be Ready With All the Supplies for the Birthing
Make sure you have everything you need for the delivery of the pups before the actual delivering!
You don’t want to miss the spectacle running around looking for spare towels and stuff!
Make sure you have the following in hand for the actual whelping:
- The vet’s contact number(s) – in case of any emergencies or questions
- Newspapers for her to lie on during the delivery – these are easy to clear up after
- Clean towels for wiping down the newborns
- A thermometer for checking on her condition
- A warm box to temporarily stash the newborns until everything’s done and cleaned up
- Sterile equipment – scissors, gloves, floss – we’ll get to their uses in a bit
4. Things to Take Care of Immediately After Delivering
If the mum hasn’t cut the placenta of any of the pups, use the aforementioned scissors to help her out, and use the floss to tie them off.
See that the box you’re keeping the puppies in is clean, soft, warm and dry. Check with the vet to see that you have the right temperature range for the box.
Make sure that she’s nursing them okay after the whelping is over.
She will also be busy licking them clean and keeping them close and warm. Keep an eye on things to watch out for any unusual behavior, in case you need to check with the vet.
Also, cross-check that you have the same number of puppies and placentae.
5. Monitoring the Nursing and Growth
Keep a close eye on the new pups for the first few weeks or so.
By that, we mean keeping tabs on their weight to see that it’s increasing consistently, and that they’re otherwise generally healthy and well-cared for.
Another thing you can do is to see to it that the pups interact regularly with others. By others, we mean their siblings, mum, as well as people – so they get used to the human touch.
Also, this goes without saying, but see to it that the puppies’ general living and playing area is clean, warm and dry on a regular basis.
Keeping warm is really important for young puppies, as is keeping clean. And until they grow up a bit, it’s up to you and the mother to see to it that they are.
And for comprehensive advice on raising and training the young’uns through their growth and development in the coming years, make sure you check out our Dogology Blueprint.
The simple, fact-based narrative will help you understand how their minds work, and what you can do to help them learn well as they grow up. A small investment for a great time growing up for your pups!
What do you make of these puppy whelping tips? Do you have any experiences of your own to share with other readers? Do write about them in our comments section below.