What to do when your dog is in labor?

April 13, 2012

Approximately 69 days after the dog was mated, the pregnancy will be terminated. Adorable cuddly puppies will be born. An owner will wait for this moment excitedly. Since the beginning of dog’s existence, these animals bred and gave birth without human intervention. Dogs are very capable of doing all the work on their own. At the first stage of labor where the cervix dilates and the uterine contractions begin, the dog will appear to be very restless. Usually the dog will shake, pant and vomit. The dog may have chosen a spot where it will deliver her puppies but at this time it would be best to direct the dog to the whelping box. In about 10 or 20 minutes the dog will actively push to expel a puppy. The puppy will be born with an intact amniotic sac. The dog will rupture the sac, severe the umbilical cord and lick the newborn to stimulate respiration.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the birthing goes well and your participation will just be to give moral support and reassurance that the pet is loved? 98% of dog deliveries go smoothly. No mishaps happen to the dam and the puppies. However, there are situations where the dog will need your assistance. Some serious cases would necessitate the help of the vet.

When a puppy is expelled, it is still wrapped in amniotic sac. Sac must be removed as soon as the puppy is expelled. There are instances when the mother dog does not know how to take care of the newborn. The dog may be too exhausted or another puppy is on the way. In this case, you have to help. Tear the sac. This must be done immediately lest the pup suffocates. You need to cut the umbilical cord, to let the fluid drain by holding the pup upside down or use a rubber bulb syringe to clear the pathways. Mother dogs lick the pups to stimulate respiration. Your role would be to briskly rub the newborn with a towel.

It is normal for a dog to rest in between puppies. There will be no cause for worry even if it has been an hour since the last pup was born as long as the dog is not straining. However, if the dog pushes time and time again without a puppy coming out, it would be best to call a vet. A puppy may be stuck in the birth canal. The dog may be having weak contractions. Immediate medical attention will be most needed to save the life of the dog and the puppy.

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