Helping Your Dog Get through Labor
Planning for your dog to deliver her pups is an exciting and scary experience for everyone. If you were surprised by the pregnancy, hopefully at this point you will have prepared for the birth. Or if you planned to breed your dog and this is your first time, these tools will help you get your dog through labor.
If you’ve been keeping up with your dog’s gestation, anywhere between 58 and 68 weeks she should go into labor. You’ll know that it is close to that time once she begins to nest, clean herself and her space more than usual. She may retreat from the family and sleep more often to prepare for her labor, as well. Your dog knows what to do naturally, so the most you should have to do is keep her hydrated, fed, a camp space and blankets for when the pups do arrive.
A couple of weeks before the puppies are expected to arrive, set up space in your garage, kitchen, bathroom, or dog shed if you have one. Get lots of blankets, puppy food, and water. You’ll need plenty of non-hazardous cleaning materials because they will make a huge mess everywhere. The puppy food is for mom, and she’ll need this for the last part of her pregnancy and through feeding her pups to keep here energy and calories plentiful. Buy some puppy formula, just in case one has problems feeding on mom.
Your dog’s delivery should not take longer than 8 hours; she should have at least one puppy within 30-60 minutes of going into labor, and another every 30-60 minutes until all have been delivered. She may move around in pain and whimper, though if she is experiencing severe pain or if there are no puppies within a few hours of contractions or an hour after one pup is delivered; you should call the veterinarian immediately.
Give your dog space, and only intervene when necessary. Pups can come out head or tail first, so either is perfectly fine. Don’t be alarmed if puppies come out crying that is a good sign. If you notice one has defects or is unresponsive, leave it alone until the mother has given you space to intervene proactively.
Dogs are natural to labor and delivery and she should be done in no time. Be prepared to keep all of the puppies until about eight weeks, when they are ready for new homes.