How to Help a Whelping Dog

By Jerry Welsh

Dogs are kind of addicting – dog owners can’t seem to have enough of these wonderful furry creatures. Dog owners that form a strong bond with the pet would want to breed the dog. Four legged fur balls that follow the original pooch would be a wonderful sight. Watching a dog deliver the puppies is one of the wonders of nature that should not be missed.

Normally, dogs, like their ancient ancestors in the wild would not need human intervention to whelp. However, whelping difficulties that can endanger the life of the dam and the puppies can occur. It is the task of the owner to provide for all the necessities that will make the whelping dog as comfortable as possible. To be able to give urgent assistance, a dog owner has to be able to promptly recognize the signs that the pet is having difficulties in delivering the puppies. While it is important to promptly recognize the signs of difficult labor, it is also equally important for a dog owner to know what must be done to help the pet.

A dog will be pregnant for about eight to nine weeks. At the end of this period, the whelping box lined with old blankets should be ready. Other equipments that must be readied are scissors or dental floss to cut the puppies’ umbilical cord and towels. One very important tool that will let the dog owner know that the pet is ready to give birth is a thermometer. Twelve to twenty four hours before the dog whelps, the normal body temperature of 101.5 F will drop 2 to 3 degrees.

The dog usually takes care of the birthing. The puppy will be licked clean and the umbilical cord will be severed by the dog’s teeth. Cleaning the newborn and cutting the umbilical cord will be the task of the dog owner if for some reasons, the dog would not want to attend to the newly born puppies. This usually happens to first time moms. It will be the dog owner’s task to tear the sac to prevent the puppy from suffocation. As the dog would not clean the puppy the task will fall on the hands of the dog owner.

A whelping dog with a puppy stuck half in and half out would need urgent help. Firmly hold the protruding body part with a towel and pull out the puppy. Remove a dead puppy stuck in the birth canal immediately. This is a life threatening condition that would need urgent professional attention but if none is available, the owner can lubricate the hand with K-Y jelly and try to remove the dead pup. This can be a hard line first aid method but it is very necessary to save both the lives of the unborn puppies and the mother dog.

Find out more about dog first aid at Sarah’s Dogs.

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