How to cope with a dog who is giving birth, and be sure everyone is in good shape afterwards.
1 Dogs will start looking for a protected place to have puppies (dog pregnancies last about 63 days, in case you're counting). You can help her out by providing such a place. The ideal situation is out of household traffic, warm and dry, like a small den. She will stay there with the puppies until they are old enough (gradually, about 8 weeks till weaning). Closets often look good, sometimes under desks or in drawers (depending on the size of the dog).
2 Stay calm! If you're anxious, the new mom will pick this up and it will make her nervous, too.
3 Be sure all the puppies have been born. If the mother is calm and relaxed, settling in to clean and nurse the puppies, things are good. If she seems distressed or there is bleeding, call the vet!
4 Be sure clean water is available and close by (but not where puppies can fall in and drown). Same for food. Mom will not want to go far from the puppies, or for very long at first.
5 Keep your dog isolated, with a "den" she can care for the puppies in without a lot of disturbance. She will be protective; don't allow strangers (especially kids) to be there alone, and don't let anyone touch the puppies unless it's really clear the mother doesn't mind. Usually this will be after their eyes are open and they are wandering around a little.
6 Keep in mind that you must keep the dog clean and comfortable. Change the bedding periodically; there will be some urine and puppy poop to clean up.
The breasts should be bigger than usual; this means her milk glands are getting ready to feed babies. The first "milk" is a substance called colostrum, and is a sort of grayish-white; this is normal. It's loaded with antibodies to protect little ones from infection.
If you have questions or concerns, contact your local vet for information!
Puppies often need to be "wormed" after birth, and will need shots. Contact the vet to do these things.
Things You'll Need
Bedding that's washable or that can be discarded when you clean it up. Lots of bedding. There will be puppy pee and poo; they don't come housebroken, and aren't old enough for about 12 weeks.
- Lots of towels (so you can wash one set, and have a clean set on hand!) - Scale - Lots of food for mom! - We kept our mom and puppies in a baby pool for the delivery and afterwards, its quite nice and easy to wash regularly.