A Timeline

First Stage of Labor

Stage 1
Temperature will drop to 98 degrees or so...
Eyes will dilate
She will stare at you and want you near
Refusal to eat
Hide under your bed or a dark place
Laying on her side but can't seem to get comfortable
Mucus Discharge

Stage 2 - pre labor

Staring at her rear end
Licking vulva excessively
Mild Uterine Contractions

Stage 3 - Labor

Hard Uterine Contractions
Extreme Shivering
Water Breaking
Grunting and pushing
Visible sign of the First pup and delivery (Whelp)
Note # If the Dam is pushing and grunting and crying out in pain that lasts for over an hour with no visible pup, you maybe in trouble.
This is when you need to search your gut. Ask yourself, How do you feel?
Do you feel you are safe or in trouble. Go by your gut instinct. Read the Dams signs, her body is talking to you. She is probably safe if she is napping between contractions, but if is she becoming exhausted from constant pushing and straining, if she appears close to collapse you maybe in trouble?
She is telling you something is wrong and a puppy maybe to large to pass thru her pelvis.
If you feel you are in trouble. Call your Vet and get ready to seek help.

Whelping Day / Delivering the Puppies

Continuing hard contractions should never last more than 20 minutes without passing the puppy
There are times when you must pull a pup out.

This puppies head is still in the birth canal. If the mother fails to push this puppy out in a few seconds you must take it out. With one hand slide open and push back the vulva. Take a towel and firmly grab the puppy by the body only when you see a contraction, pull the puppy out GENTLY or you may snap its neck.

Shiny, clear sac that encloses the puppy.
This sac will have to be removed by the Mother. If she fails to do this you must.

The sac is slippery and thick. With your finger nails pick and tear the sac over the face so the puppy can breath. Clean off excess fluids with a towel off the face, nose and mouth. Aspirate the mouth first, then the nose.. Rub the puppy with a towel; make sure the pup is breathing. If he is gasping for breath, aspirate again. If he is breathing with his mouth closed you can stop aspirating. Check the color of his feet they should appear pink. If they are blue he is not getting enough oxygen. Rub him more and aspirate.

If he feels cold, blow dry him on a low setting, if it burns your hands it will burn him. If he is pink dry and can breath you can give him to mother. She will lick him and try and redo what you have just done. Don't let her bite at the umbilical cord and cause it to bleed. She will lick the genitals, which stimulates defecation and causes him to urinate. If she fails to do this you must help by rubbing the gentiles with your finger or a warm wet cotton ball. A puppy cannot urinate or defecate on it's own for the first week or so.

Now you can allow the pup to nurse, this will cause the mother to have contractions. If another pups appear to be coming you may have to put the pups out of the way so they don't get injured. You can put them on a low setting heating pad to keep them warm. (Remember if it can burn you it will burn them)

Aspirating the Throat and Nostrils

The reason we aspirate is to remove fluids that the pup may have in his throat or nose from inhaling amniotic fluid. If the fluids are removed before he attempts to breath than we can prevent him from choking on the fluid or drowning. Pups that are not aspirated and have fluids enter their lungs have a good chance of developing pneumonia or immediate suffocation..  If you have ever seen a pup that has already inhaled fluids than you understand how helpless they are. The poor pup opens his mouth with gasps. He just can't get a full lung of air.

Prevention is always best, but if you are delivering pups and you have aspirated to the best of your ability and he is still gasping than try holding him in a towel and use gravity to pull the fluids out of his lungs. Swing him hard from arm length down through your knees. He will be slippery and you will need a good secure hold on him. Make sure his head is also secure so you don't snap his neck. Try aspirating again. If he breathes normal and has pink toes he's fine. If he is still gasping start over with swinging and aspirating. The reason we do the throat first is because a pup will attempt to take a breath as soon as the nostrils are aspirated and any fluids in the throat will be inhaled into the lungs.

Practice with your bulb syringe before whelping day. Squeeze the bulb till the air is out. Then place the open tip on your arm. Release the bulb, you can feel the sucking pressure on your arm. Always stick the bulb into the pup's mouth after you have squeezed the air out. We don't want to push the air into the throat and push fluid into his lungs.  

Care of the Puppies

Learning to recognize a healthy pup from a fading pup. Supplementing mother's milk by bottle-feeding or tube feeding for a pup that refuses to nurse. Treating a pup that has gas or colic. Weaning your puppies. Vaccination Schedules for the puppy

Learning to recognize a healthy pup from a fading pup

What is a Healthy pup - A Healthy pup feels warm, and has a full belly of milk. He twitches and never lies perfectly still. (Activated sleep) - The muscles are getting stronger during activated sleep

A Puppy in trouble will feel cold to the touch. Lays limp and refuses to nurse. This puppy needs your assistance in hope for survival.

Colic Puppy - A Colic puppy scream in pain for days. I found giving a puppy plain yogurt helps ease a colic puppy.

Gas - Gas is another culprit for causing a puppy to cry in pain. I give them a few drops Gasex and a lactate intolerance over the counter drug. If all this fails to relieve the puppy, you need to ask your vet for some medication

Feeding Methods - Bottle-feeding or Tube feeding.
Alternative feeding methods will are necessary when the mothers milk is dried up or the mother is ill.
Note# if you have another nursing mother you can give her the litter but you will still need to
help her by bottle feeding or tube feeding the pups.

Bottle feeding - Bottle feeding satisfies the natural instinct to suck. It also gives the puppy a choice on the amount it wishes to consume. Pups can get gas if they are not burped after feeding.
There is always the danger of a pup inhaling milk into its lungs and then getting pneumonia. Make sure your nipple hole is not to large or to small. Stick a hot paper clip in the nipple. Hold it upside down the milk should drip out, but never flow.

Encourage the pup by wiggling the nipple across his lips.
You will know if he is getting the milk by measuring the amount in the bottle and after burping can you see if he has a full belly or he needs more.
The puppy's mouth may have little bubbles on the side of his lips but the milk should not run out the sides of his mouth. Making up formulas and feeding a litter of puppies is very time consuming. It seems like as soon as your finished its time to began again.

Tube Feeding - Tube feeding advantages are that it takes very little time and you always know how much the puppy is getting. Burping is not necessary in tube feeding. The disadvantages are the puppies become lazy eaters. If you tube feeding because the puppy has a congenital defect like a bad heart or other life endangering defect his chances of survival are poor. A puppy that has no congenital problem has a good chance of survival.
Directions on tube feeding- Measure the distance from the pups mouth to the last rib and mark the tube, changing the distance as the pup grows.

Be a good Breeder-  Many breeders will just let a fading pup die because it is very stressful on them. I believe that I am responsible for the pup being born in the first place because I chose to breed the two dogs. I do all in my power to help the pups survive. I do not rest until all the puppies are thriving and sleeping peacefully with mom. At the first sign of trouble contact your vet immediately!! Always be prepared!!

Click the puppy to go Home
Pregnancy Overview

In the first 6 weeks of pregnancy everything should remain as usual. The female should be allowed to run & play and her food should remain the same. At 30 to 35 days into the pregnancy (starting from first day of breeding) she should be checked to confirm that she is actually pregnant. This can be done by gently feeling her tummy area for walnut size lumps. Lay the female on her side and very gently apply pressure.

Once the female is into her 8th week of pregnancy you can start to change her over to puppy food. You should start to increase the amount of food and restrict some of the playtime. Jumping and roughhousing should be avoided! Especially during the very last week as too much jumping can cause a miscarriage.

At 55 days you can have her x-rayed to help determine how many puppies are present. It is a good idea to know how many puppies to expect. Some females may take a break in between pups and not knowing how many to expect you may think she is done.
How to Know When Mom is Ready

Temperature will go down at least 1 degree. Normal temp is 102 and should drop to 99 or 98 when ready to whelp. Once the temp reaches it's lowest point you can usually expect her to deliver within 24 hours. This is one reason why it is important to take her temperature a 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 preparation for her babies. She may also have a blood tinged mucous discharge. Please make sure to keep her clean ... wiping her vulva a few times a day.

She will start digging her nest through the sheets that you have put in there for her.

She will have Frequent Soft Stools, & will begin Panting. She will no longer accept food. Now you know she is ready! Expect a late night delivery, since they seem to like to keep you up all night. Most females deliver in the wee hours of the morning for us.

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 20 minutes 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. Do not mistake the green colored afterbirth as a sign of trouble.. this is normal. But should you see a dark green discharge and no puppy coming it can be a sign that a pup has broken off the birth wall. You have 20 minutes to get the pup out by a vet. Usually it is too late and she will deliver a stillborn.

Breech Puppies

You will see the pink little feet first. You can't do anything until the puppy is out. Do not try to pull the pup out by the feet. Wait until you see more of the pup then gently grab by the shoulders and ease out with contractions. Usually she will be able to deliver the pup on her own but gently holding the pup can help her to push it 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.

Removing 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. Then aspirate gently with the ear bulb syringe.

ALWAYS ASPERATE THE MOUTH FIRST. Then each nostril to clear the pup of fluids.
Do ALL OF THE ABOVE before you worry about the cord.

Cutting The Cords

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. I use my fingers instead of hemostates and tightly hold the cord about a quarter inch from the tummy. I cut above my fingers .. NOT below. Then hold tightly for about 60 seconds. If you cut too close you can cause a hernia. If you leave too much on the mom will try chewing the excess cord off and may herself cause a hernia.

Short cords on pups need extra care.  Do not allow the mom to cut the cord herself as she may bite too close and disembowel the puppy.  It is up to you to help in this situation.  Keep the pup close to the vulva, do not pull.  Remove the sac from the pup, suction the fluids from the nose & mouth and keep the pup warm in your hands until you are able to get more cord visable to cut.  The umbilical cord will usually stretch more on it's own so be patient.  Once you see enough cord to cut you can carefully snip it off (while holding your fingers tightly on the cord near the pups tummy).  If you are experienced you may try pulling out more of the placenta from the vulva so that you can help release it, but ONLY if you continue to be VERY careful not to rip the cord from the puppy.  We have found that giving the mom a little more time to pass the placenta on her own while tending to the attached pup works best.

Put iodine all over the cut end of the cord. 

The Placenta

If the placenta is not attached to the pup you must try and retrieve it yourself. With a towel grasp it and pull it out. It is very slippery and will tear apart.

Keep a count of the placentas ... there is one per pup. Should she retain a placenta she will need to see the vet and he will help to clean her out.

A retained placenta can cause infection and other problems if not taken care of. Sometimes a lost placenta will come out with the next pup.

You can allow the mother to eat one or two placentas if she wants. Discard the rest. Eating the placenta provides nourishment for the mother. It also helps aid in milk production and will cause the uterus to shrink back down to size.

Swinging Puppies

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 supporting the neck and head.

Hold the puppy above your head & swing gently downwards. Do not jerk, or swing fast. It should be a solid flowing movement. This releases the fluid in the lungs. You can do this a few times if pup is not responding (breathing) and then aspirate agai

Between Whelps

After the puppy is breathing and seems to be doing well, give it to Mom to nurse. The puppy should want to nurse right away If not, you may have to help it by holding it to a nipple. A pup suckling can help to bring on contractions for the next pup. 

Do not panic if pup does not suckle right away. It can go a few hours before it needs to have mom's milk. This gives time for the other pups to be born.

When mom is ready to deliver the next pup you put the first one(s) to the side on the heating pad.
Sometimes the bitch will become very restless 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

We give Nutri-Cal ti keep mom's strength up during whelping. Squeeze about an inch on your finger and place in her mouth. Most dogs like the taste and will not refuse it. If she does refuse it wipe on the top of her mouth. You can give the Nutri-Cal a few times during labor. If she seems weak .. give her more.
Offer her water often during whelping.

During Whelping

Try to keep the bedding as dry & clean as possible. Change the towels/bedding that she is laying on and replace with fresh dry towels. You do not want her or the pups to be laying on wet bedding. 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.

After Whelping

Allow mom & pups to rest for about an hour, then take Mom out (she may fight you on this) to relieve herself and clean the entire bed before putting her back with her pups.

Make sure you place the pups in a warm spot while you 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.

You may give the mom a bath shortly after whelping if she is too messy. Or you can wait until she has rested a few hours and bathe her the next day.

You need to change the bedding EVERY DAY & put new clean bedding in. The pups should not be allowed to lay on soiled bedding!

You can use baby blankets during the day to cover soiled spots in the box. The receiving blankets work very well.

Veterinary Care

Most times you will not need to see your vet right after whelping unless you feel there is something wrong.  Give your vet a call to talk with him about the whelping and ask if he wishes to have you come in.  If you should notice any extreme bleeding from the female or notice her acting unusual call your vet right away. Take the female to the Veterinarian within 24 hours for an exam & a clean out shot if she has not passed all the placentas.
Have the dew claws done at 3-4 days old. Consult your vet for a schedule of puppy shots. If at any time you are feeling unsure during a whelping or your female is haveing a hard time ... contact your vet immediately!!! Always have your ER vet's phone number on hand.

So now you wonder are we done?

Here are a few ways that may help you tell.
Listen for heartbeats with a stethoscope, pretty reliable as long as the last pup or pups are alive.
Does Mom appear to be calm and restful?

Is she still having contractions.? Can you see a pup kicking?
She may still have more pups to whelp or she may need to push out a retained placenta.
Can you account for all placentas?

If I can't hear any heartbeats, and mom is resting and there seem to be no contractions or puppies kicking than I try to feel for any pups by doing this. I lay mom on her side I put one palm under the left side of her belly and one hand on the right side of her belly and try to squeeze my palms together with her belly in between my palms.

If I feel nothing, see nothing and hear nothing. I can be sure I am done.

FALSE PREGNANCY IN THE DOG occurs when the bitch produces both physical and psychological changes that are a nuisance to the bitch and the owner.  The psychological changes in the owner arise most often when informed that their prize bitch is NOT pregnant after all! The bitch will often produce milk, engage in nesting activity and look like she's pregnant.  It's amusingly sad to see the affected dog try to persuade a tennis shoe to nurse!  These visible changes take place beginning about 4 weeks after the heat cycle begins (estrus) and can continue for a number of weeks.  False pregnancies are always unpredictable and can show up  whether or not a mating has occurred.  Often so much milk is produced the bitch becomes uncomfortable.  Once a dog has had a false pregnancy she's likely to be afflicted again.  

Most dogs experiencing a false pregnancy will begin to show some swelling in the mammary glands about five weeks after their heat cycle has ended.  If you have bred your bitch, you will be elated that she "is getting ready to have pups".  You might also be surprised that she "isn't filling out much".  You will wonder why she isn't starting to show a big belly.  Many dogs whether they are bred or not, will develop a false pregnancy, and look, act, and even think as if they are pregnant.  Some will carry small toys or pillows around and even start digging a nesting site wherever they please.  When the time draws near to when they would be delivering the pups, usually 63 days after a mating, milk will drain on its own from the mammary glands.  Some dogs are really troubled that they cannot find the pups they psychologically feel they should be nursing.

The exact hormonal mechanisms that must occur to trigger false pregnancy are as yet unknown.  We do know that a combination of interacting hormones including estrogen, adrenal hormones, and prolactin from the pituitary gland influence milk production  in the mammary glands.  Prolactin levels seem to be the main culprit, but why this hormone does what it does when it shouldn't is a subject for future research.

Fortunately 90% of false pregnancies resolve over a period of three weeks with no treatment. Since no real harm is done there's no reason to speed up what nature will take care of in time.  For about 10% of bitches, though, the psychological effects directing mothering behavior are so intense that the bitch is miserable.  She's continually searching for pups that aren't there and seeking relief from the mammary gland engorgement that's making her uncomfortable. Mastitis, an infection of the mammary glands, if it were to occur at this time could be particularly dangerous.

On occasion, in about 10% of false pregnancy cases, treatment is warranted. Various hormonal substances have been used to hasten the reabsorption of milk and to halt the milk production. None of these medications is entirely safe so close veterinary supervision is necessary. Most often the veterinarian will administer a hormone to interrupt the dog's secretions of internal hormones that may be promoting the production of more milk.

Any bitch showing false pregnancy is apt to have a reoccurrence in the future. There is NO reason NOT to breed this bitch but she may be a poor producer.  There seems to be a greater risk of pyometra, a severe infection of the uterus, in any female dog that has had false pregnancies. There's no way of predicting the outcome of any breeding but many bitches that have had a false pregnancy have gone on to whelp normal, healthy litters. Evidence does not indicate that false pregnancies are an inherited disorder.
Whelping puppies is not always easy.

One must always be prepared for problems.

It is best to do x-rays on day 56 to 58 , to determine size and number of puppies. X-rays will show if there is  a large puppy which can cause a difficult delivery. Large pups can become stuck in the birth canal.

Sometimes you have to stimulate her for contractions if she is pushing too long that she isn't contracting anymore. Doing that is called feathering. It is done by placing a finger in the birth canal and gently stroke inside with your finger. This will help to bring on more contractions. Always use KY Jelly on your fingers first.

We once had a large puppy get stuck in the birth canal and the mom stopped contracting. Immediately the ER vet was called and I was instructed on how to remove the puppy. His head was out and he was breathing. I had to hold his head to make sure he did not go back in. I also suctioned the fluids from his mouth and nose to clear his air way so he could breathe. I then used KY Jelly and applied with my fingers all around where the pup was stuck.  I felt the mom for a slight contraction ... holding her under her belly. If you feel a slight contraction you can then begin to gently pull the puppy out .. trying to grab past the neck onto the shoulders. The vet did instruct me that if I was unable to get the pup out gently then action had to be take to save the mom.  KY Jelly is a must to have on hand for a stuck puppy .. it even helps to lubricate the mom before delivery. The mom was very exhausted but managed to deliver the next two pups with out any more problems. If you should find that the mom is not contracting any more and having a hard time delivering the next pup she must be rushed to the vet for a c-section.
C-Sections are always the last resort, and are sometimes can be unavoidable. You may have two pups trying to come out at once or a puppy may be too large to pass.  Keep your Vet on call and updated as to how she is doing.

Sometimes the sac will break inside the mom. This means that pup must come out soon and it will be a bit harder on the mom when it does. Sometimes you will see just one foot showing. If you do not see the other foot on the next contraction try gently pushing the foot back in and feather her into another contraction. Once you see two feet you can begin to help her pull the puppy out. NEVER grab the pup by it's paws or legs. Try to reach up and grab by the hips. On her next contraction you can begin to gently pull. Always remember to pull towards the moms tummy .. never away. Immediately clear the fluids from the pup's nose and mouth to make sure it is breathing. If you ever hear a rattled breathing that means there is still fluid in the pup. A good shake down and more suctioning can help.

It is very important to know how to revive puppies and get them breathing. Not all puppies come out, cry and start breathing. This takes experience. Puppies need to be rubbed vigorously till they cry and start moving. We hold them in a warm towel and gently rub their chest and back.If this does not work you must do a shake down. To do a shake down you will hold the puppy very securely in your cupped hands. Making sure you are holding onto the head so that the neck does not move when you do the shake down. You do nto want to snap the neck. Swing the puppy down between your legs (holding head VERY secure). Do this two or three times ... then continue to rub the chest again and suction. You do not shake the puppy .. the movement is not jerky .. it is a smooth down swing with a slow stop.

You can have 6 litters and each whelping will be different.  Always be prepared for problems incase you come across them. Some breeders tell you not let your pup have heavy contractions for more than ½ hour without producing a pup ... while some say 3 hours.  Each whelping is different. You cannot put a time limit on it. You must study and know all the warning signs of problems.

We have had a female deliver a litter of 4 in an hour while we have had a female deliver 4 pups two hours apart. During another litter after two pups were born we thought she was done. She was resting and no longer contracting. Then 4 hours later she produced another little boy ... healthy and fine.

Just keep a very close watch on the mom. If you had x-rays taken you should know how many pups to expect .. if not it is a guessing game so be prepared.  You can also buy a fetal monitor that is used for human babies and listen for heartbeats.  If something doesn't seem right with the female or you are worried about her taking to long contact your Vet.  The sooner the better to avoid a tragedy.

You must always replace warm dry blankets in-between delieveries. You do not want the mom or the new born pups to be laying on wet bedding. If puppies get chilled in the first days of life there is a good chance they will not survive. The whelping box needs to be kept warm. Puppies are very susceptible to heat/cold. We use a heating pad under where the pups will be laying with a towel over top of it. Always make sure it is not too warm to the touch. We keep the heating pad on low and feel that it is just nice and warm to the touch. Do not keep the mom on the heating pad. This is not good for her and will cause her discomfort and can also dehydrate her.

Even after the whelping is over problems can arise. The new Mom may need to be coaxed into accepting her puppies ..  especially if she had a hard delivery. Get the pups to nurse as soon as possible if you can. They will get the needed colostrums which is what the mom produces right in the beginning. This will also help to bring on her milk. You can also have a pup suckle in-between pups ... suckling also helps to bring on more contractions. Some puppies do not know how to suckle right away. Be patient and gently hold the pups mouth to the nipple utnil it gets a good hold. Be prepared to help the pups feed every two hours. Never let it up to the mom herself as some pups can be a bit stronger and push the weaker ones away. One trick to always remember .... a crying puppy is either cold or hungry. Never ignore their cries.  If you find a pup that will not suckle you will need to bottle feed it until you can get it to feed off mom. Purchase a canine puppy milk replacer and have it on hand. Hand feeding one puppy does happen but the worst is when you must feed the whole litter. Be prepared to step in and feed those puppies on your own. We use a puppy nurser bottle found in most pet stores. Do not make too large of a hole in the nipple as you do not want the pups to get the milk too fast. Always check the nose. If you see milk coming out they are suckling too much and too fast. You should then suction the milk out of the nose. A pup that suckles too much can get the milk in their lungs and actually drown .. or have other complications.

Make sure the mom has plenty of water at all times. Some will drink quite a bit and that it good .. it helps with the milk. Aslo feed her as soon as she is finished having her puppies. She needs to drink and eat more during this time to help produce milk. We feed our moms extra meals while they are nursing.

Please read all of this info before you breed.
It just may save a life.
Much of the info on this page has been collected by me from many other breeder's.
Some are written from my own experiences. I do not take credit for all of the articles.
I wanted to try my best to compile as much information as I could to help new breeders or people who may have purchased a rescue who is ready to have a litter.

Some people may disagree with this web page being out here for the public to read .... but I feel that without this knowledge the results could end up tragic.
I wish more breeders were more open and willing to help the novice.

Click on the links below to learn more about whelping puppies ......
List of Items to have on hand for New Born Puppies

Notebook & pencil to record time, sex, weight, etc.

Clean Towels...plenty of them. We put some down for the mom so she can dig and then we use the smaller towels to clean and wrap the pup in to keep it warm for awhile before we place it in the box with the heating pad on

Pee Pads (We line the floor with the pee pads. Sometimes the mom does not want to stay in the whelping box and prefers to walk around. Plus it can help from messing up your floors)

Dull Scissors & hemostats for clamping & cutting cords

Alcohol for cleaning the scissors & hemostats

Iodine used on the puppies cord ) helps in healing and also Mother will leave cords alone

Old sheets or towels for Mom to nest & deliver puppies

Fresh water to offer to the mom during labor. She will get very thirsty

Bulb Syringe The kind they send a new human baby home with from the hospital, This way you can clean the airways Nose and Mouth

Paper towels for cleaning up during whelping

K-Y Jelly for taking temperature or helping to lubricate the female should the pup need help coming out. Also helps with dry births or large puppies which are hard to deliver.

Digital Thermometer to keep an eye on the mom's temp.

Heating pad place the heating pad under a few towels. Keep the pad set to low heat (enough to only feel the warmth coming through the towels. Place new born puppies on this while mom is whelping more puppies.

Drop Light to keep the area of whelping well lit

A pot of hot coffee for the long night ahead.

Nutri-Cal this is my preferred favorite. Give this to the female during labor. It helps to keep her strength up.

Milk Replacer such as Just Born or Esbilac (Now I have used Goats Milk for many many years and that is what I prefer) and I have tubed more puppies than I care to think about.

Scale so that you can tell if puppy is gaining weight. I use a digital mailing scale and place a small bowl on top. Set the scale to zero while the bowl is placed on the scale to get a reading of the pup only

Pepto Bismol a drop or two can be given with a puppy with Gas

Food Coloring I usually leave the first male/female with out food coloring. Then the next pups get colors and I mark on the paper which pup is which color. Very good if you have more of the same sex. I do this immediately after weighing the pup before the next one comes

Emergency phone numbers have these on hand along with a phone to call in case of an emergency

I would get your whelping area and supplies ready about a week in advance.
You don't want to have to be looking for something during the whelping.

Whelping Info
Please do not copy the info and use it on your own web site. It took me a long time and a lot of work to research this info for you. You may however link back to this page.
Getting the mom to accept puppies

There are times when the mom will refuse to care for her puppies.  This can happen for a few reasons.  Most times it happens after a c-section since the puppies were not delivered naturally or with new moms who never had a litter before.  What I have found that helps is to wipe a little of the fluids from the mom's vulva (private area) onto the puppies.  Use your finger to wipe a little on the tummy and private areas of the pups.  This will put the scent of the mom on the pups and should help her to accept them. You may have to continue this for a day or two.  But during this time it will be up to you to hand feed the puppies and get them to defecate.  If you still cannot get the mom to accept her puppies you will have to hand raise them on your own until they are about 4 weeks old and able to start eating puppy food. Or if you have another female with a nursing litter you can give the pups to her to foster. Many times a breeder in this situation will call another breeder friend who might have a nursing female available to help out.  This is called getting a 'wet nurse'.


Low blood sugar, Is a disorder that occurs mainly in small breed puppies between six and twelve weeks of age. It is often precipitated by stress and can occur without warning. It might appear after the puppy has gone to a new home, missed a meal, chills, becomes exhausted from playing, has been over handled, or has a digestive upset. These upsets place and added strain on its energy reserve and bring on the symptoms.

Hypoglycemia is a real threat to these tiny puppies, watch for your puppy to become tired or droopy. The first sighs are those of listlessness and depression. They are followed by muscular weakness, tremors, and later convulsions, coma and even death. The puppy may be found in a coma.

If your puppy has any symptoms of hypoglycemia you must act fast. If the puppy is awake, give it nutrical, nutri-stat or karo syrup by mouth. You should see sighs of improvement in thirty minutes, if no improvement , then call your veterinarian at once.

Prevent hypoglycemia from happening by allowing the puppy to get enough sleep, do not allow the puppy to be overtired or over handled at first. Supervise closely with children to make sure the puppy is getting enough rest. Keep puppy warm, don't let it become chilled. Your puppy is a house dog and should not be living outdoors.

Prevent attacks by feeding a high quality diet. See that the puppy is eating often. just because the food is there dosesnt mean it is eating it. Keep dry food and water available at all times. You can give 1/2 teaspoon of nutrical or karo in the morning and night for a few days to help prevent the low blood sugar that come with excitement and stress. Always keep nutrical or karo syrup on hand.