I am whelping a dog today. Her owners brought her to me the other day, and I started taking temperatures. They ranged between 99.5° and 100.5°, but last night I had...
5:30 p.m. – 99.3°
7:00 p.m. – 99.0°
8:00 p.m. – 98.9°
9:00 p.m. – 98.8°
10:00 p.m. – 98.7° (I know I HAVE to get up and take the temperature in four hours so I set the alarm.)
1:00 a.m. – 98.0° We have our drop; undetected pre-labor has started.
4:00 a.m. – 98.4° some nesting behavior.
6:30 a.m. – 98.4° more nesting, refusal to eat breakfast.
I have taken some pictures to show other things that have happened in the last day. I KNOW she is in pre-labor ONLY from the temperature. The refusal to eat canned tripe, or any favorite treat, is another sign she is in pre-labor.
Here is another sign: she has frequent small pees. At this time, it is fair to give your dam an indoor potty area in the whelping room, as she feels pressure and will want to try and pee every 20 minutes.
This is the position she has been in for a couple days, stretched out, to get pups lined up.
Her mucus plug has been letting go for the last few days, and her vulva area has really swelled up.
We always hope that milk (colostrum) comes in before whelping. The above picture shows a dry teat.
We have colostrum, the yellow pre-milk. YIPPEE!! We are ready.
Colostrum coming from the teat.
To check for colostrum, you have to get BELOW the milk ducts.
And then express the milk toward the teat. Do NOT squeeze the teat as the milk is much farther back.
It is 9:30 am and we have some moaning. Normal vomit, clear liquid.
9:45 a.m. – Water broke. I chewed up a Tums and spat in the dam’s mouth, for calcium.
10:46 a.m. – Strong pushing contractions. An internal gloved, lubed finger exam shows a puppy entering the birth canal.
Dam is pushing pup number one.
SHOOT, a pup is breech; one foot STUCK.
Get out the lube to inject it up past the puppy...
Making some progress, pulling on each contraction...
Got to here, but NOW STUCK SOLID—feet are wiggling, this puppy is going to die.
Pup goes lifeless. It MUST COME OUT...but it will not.
I PULL, nothing to lose, as you cannot kill an already dead puppy. The dam screams and sinks her teeth in my hand...OUCH!
(Picture taken eight hours after the bite) A dog bite can really hurt. But remember, giving birth can make the dam (like people) do these things. Some dogs will bite the puppy that is hurting them...so be prepared and keep a close watch when a problem, hard-birthing is present.
11:08 a.m. – girl, lifeless, but I was able to revive her. Dew claws are removed, and she is nursing.
If you breed, PLEASE learn how to revive puppies!
Pup number two...
11:18 a.m. – contractions—push, push.
11:28 a.m. – REALLY pushing and a bubble appears.
11:39 a.m. – still pushing hard, feet appear.
Shoot, another stuck puppy.
I had to pull this one harder...
This pup was really stuck.
And the feet stopped wiggling. This puppy was born white, blue and lifeless. It took me longer to revive him, but I did.
PHEW! Please learn how to revive puppies, as puppies that appear to be born dead are sometimes still alive and can be revived. Do NOT set them aside. Rough them up. Get him under heat, and give him a good rubbing to make him mad...get gently aggressive. Head down to drain the mucus. PLEASE learn from your vet or mentor on HOW to revive a puppy BEFORE you whelp.
This puppy’s shoulders are too big to pass easily...200 grams is 7 ounces.
Pup number three coming out head first.
Puppy takes his first breath, and gasps...this is a good sign...and exactly what you want.
Pup number four came easy at 12:30pm. The dam did it all on her own. This one is a normal birth. Pup is in the sac. Now I break the sac and get the pup going.
There were four pups born to this litter, and all four are doing well. Photo submitted by Annie
Mom and puppies on day three. Each puppy has gained 12 grams per day.
Puppies at three days old
Puppies at three days old
Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese
Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.