1. Have the whelping area ready before labor begins.
Prepare the whelping box or area with waterproof flooring, heating pads, and clean bedding materials. Ensure that the area is free of any sharp objects, breakable items, or toxins that could harm the mother or puppies.
2. Check the mother-to-be’s temperature several times a day.
Monitoring the mother’s temperature is a key indicator that labor is approaching. The normal temperature should range between 100-102°F (37.7-38.8°C). Contact the vet if her temperature drops below, or rises above, this range.
3. Monitor for signs of labor and contact the vet if needed.
Common signs of labor include a decrease in appetite, restlessness, and panting. Contact the vet if labor does not begin within 24 hours of her temperature dropping or if the mother seems to be having difficulty delivering.
4. Ensure all necessary supplies are on hand such as clean towels, newspapers, baby scale, etc.
Have the necessary supplies on hand before labor begins to ensure that delivery is as smooth and safe as possible. Be sure to have extra towels, newspapers, a baby scale, and even an incubator available just in case any complications arise.
5. Keep puppies warm with a heating pad or lamp until they can regulate their body temperature.
Puppies are unable to regulate their body temperature until they reach around four weeks of age. To make sure that the puppies stay warm and healthy, provide a heating pad or lamp in the whelping area for added warmth.
6. Clean and disinfect the nesting box after delivery is complete.
Clean and disinfect the whelping box after delivery is complete to reduce the risk of infection. Replace soiled bedding and disinfect all surfaces with a mild bleach solution or other safe, vet-recommended cleaner.
7. Provide supplemental nutrition to the mother during the lactation period.
Offer the mother additional nutrition in the form of high-quality dog food or supplements to ensure she has the energy and resources to produce enough milk for her pups. Monitor her weight gain throughout lactation and contact the vet if her weight drops below a healthy range.
8. Record vital data from each pup including birth weight, gender, coat color/markings, and any defects detected at birth.
Keeping track of the puppies’ vital information is essential for both monitoring their health and preventing future genetic disorders. Record each pup’s birth weight, gender, coat color/markings, and any defects that were present at birth.
9. Ensure the pups are getting enough milk by monitoring their growth rate and tracking weight gain over time.
Check the puppies’ weight daily to ensure they are gaining enough milk from their mother. If any pups appear not to be gaining enough weight, supplementing with formula or colostrum may be necessary.
10. Keep an eye out for any problems that could arise in both mother & puppies including infection or dehydration.
Monitor the mother and puppies for any signs of infection or dehydration such as listlessness, a lack of appetite, or weight loss. Contact the vet if any problems arise and follow their instructions for treating them.