Determining Whelping Dates

Download PDF form

Whelp Dates

Patient Name________________  Owner Name_________________ Date__________

The “Whelp Dates” is determined by counting 63 days from the date of ovulation. Ovularion occurs when the progesterone range is between 4 and 6 ng/mls (this may vary in some cases where progesterone “surges” or different test protocols between laboratories). The whelp date is estimated with a typical fluctuation of no more than +/- hours.

If LH testing is done, the Whelp Date is calculated at 65 days from a positive LH test result.

If a vaginal smear is done and show a jump from being “in season to “not in season” (cornflakes w/ nuclei g fried eggs w/ nuclei), the due date is 56 days from the “not in season” smear date.

If no timing was done and we are unsure of a due date, progesterone testing at the end of pregnancy is recommended to determine when the bitch will whelp.

If a c-section is not planned, the owner needs to monitor for temperature drop (3 times a day) and test progesterone level to make sure that we are not taking the puppies out too soon or put the mother and pups in a compromised situation by keeping them in too late.

Progesterone tests performed at the time of whelping are a good idea because the temperature might not always drop as low as desired. The amount of the drop depends on the size of the litter, (cases of only 1-2 puppies typically have smaller drops). This test is also recommended as it helps us estimate when she will deliver. And, in the end, it will cost less to the owner.

Ultrasound(s) or Radiograph(s) can help determine a whelp date if no other options are available.

Ultrasounds help the doctor to determine the age of the puppies and is easier to do around day 25 to 30, but it is possible to do it later.

adiographs can help determine the calcification level of the puppies. If toes, or teeth are present on the radiograph, the bitch is expected to whelp within 1-3 days.

When it comes to bulldogs, it is always better to schedule and perform a c-section 1 day before estimated due date. This prevents putting the bitch in a compromised situation of natural whelping and having an emergency in the middle of the night.

Singlton cases (one puppy litters) are the most challenging to time whelping because it is the puppy that initiates labor, not the mother, If there is not enough stimulation in the uterus due to the decreased levels of hormones from only one puppy, the temperature might not deop and the mother will not go into labor,

____(Owners initials acknowledging receipt and understanding of the above information)

____Tech/Dr. initials

Vasectomy in the male dog

Vasectomy is a procedure used for sterilization that entails removing a small section of the vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testicle to the urethra, during ejaculation).  This is a technical surgery that requires accurate knowledge of the anatomy of the spermatic cord and meticulous attention to detail. If the wrong tissue is removed or too small a portion is removed, fertility may remain or may return at some time after surgery.  After vasectomy is performed, testosterone levels will remain the same, along with all other male traits (drive, interest in breeding, male behaviors). Sperm production is also maintained, it is just that the sperm cannot get out of the testicle to the urethra.

Vasectomy sites can sometimes recanalate restoring flow of sperm through the urethra. Recanalization of the vas occurs in almost 2% of human vasectomies overall (early or late combined), the species where the procedure is done most. In cattle and sheep, between 1- 5% recanalate, either early or late.

Complications of vasectomy include sperm granuloma formation which can cause pain in the scrotum requiring a second, more difficult surgery to remove them or development of tumors at the ends of the vasectomy site, which are usually benign but can become malignant if not noticed early in their development.  Hemorrhage into the scrotum and infection of the surgery sites may also develop, requiring treatment.

Vasectomized dogs are just like intact dogs in all behaviors (desire to breed, roam, potential for aggressive behavior) and their ability to transmit disease (Brucella, herpesvirus, transmissible venereal tumor). Any owner that has a vasectomized dog must be responsible enough to control these behaviors exactly the same as an intact male. Even if they are sterile, they can and will still actively seek out and breed bitches. A possible concern for owners of vasectomized dogs is that after the procedure is performed they may relax their handling behaviors, perhaps allowing an accidental breeding to occur. Not only can this transmit disease between the male and female (brucellosis or herpesvirus) but if recanalization has occurred it may result in pregnancy as well.

For the above mentioned reasons, it is this author’s recommendation, that if owners want their dogs to have exposure to gonadal steroids for a few years to gain their benefits, they should just leave the dog intact for 3-5 years, treat him like an intact male with all the protections that go with it, and then neuter him.  After 3-5 years, there are more down sides (benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatitis, perianal adenoma formation, testicular tumors), to being intact than benefits.

Courtesy of Dr Cheryl Lopate of REPRODUCTIVE REVOLUTIONS

Recommendations for Whelping Bitches

Gestation Time:

  • 63 Days ( + / – one day) from the day of ovulation (or at 56 days from the end of their cycle)

Nutrition:

  • We recommend that bitches in whelp be fed their normal food for the first half of the pregnancy. For the last trimester, we recommend switching to a puppy food or high performance diet which has higher protein levels. No vitamins or calcium supplements need to be given unless your bitch is a toy breed or has had problems in the past.

There are some homeopathic remedies that we recommend & we can discuss them with you. If expecting a very large litter, we recommend “Structure Formula” as a supplement during the last half of pregnancy.

Supplies for Whelping:

  • Whelping Box- Some are commercially made, some are home made designs. You can find designs online or in books. This can be as simple as a child’s plastic pool but we recommend using the ones that have “pig rail” all around. Avoid soft beds or beds that are unable to be washed and disinfected easily. Do not put excessive amounts of blankets in the whelping box to prevent puppies from being entangled and suffocated. It is a good idea to allow the bitch to get used to sleeping in the whelping box during the last week before she is due.
  • Heating Lamp- Pups need to be kept at a room temperature of 80-85 degrees for the first 10 day, then at 75 degrees. The number one reason or pups dying is getting cold. Do not use heating pads. They can become too hot and the pups may be unable to get off the heating pad and become burned. We recommend a ceramic type of bulb as a radiant heat source (you can find them at a reptile store) and protective cover.
  • Thermometer – we recommend a pool thermometer that has a temperature and a humidity reading). Put it on the level with the pups, so you know their  exact environment.
  • Lots of small hand towels used to dry and rub pups.
  • A pediatric nasal aspirator will be necessary to “suck out” any extra fluid or mucous discharge that may be present after birth.
  • Dental floss to tie umbilical cords. Use hemostats Betadine to disinfect umbilical cords
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Gauze, cotton balls
  • Birth chart
  • Yarn or wrick wrack for puppy identification

Signs of Whelping:

  • Usually, dogs will stop eating about 1 day before or the day of whelping.
  • It is a good idea to learn how to take your dogs temperature rectally. Normal temp for a dog is 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit. In 90% of all dogs, their body temperature will drop to 98 degrees Fahrenheit 24 hours before whelping (this does not apply to a singleton litter). This is an excellent way to monitor when the bitch will initiate whelp. Sometimes a dog’s temperature will vary during the day, it will be lowest in the early morning and creep up during the day. Therefore it is a good idea to take the temp two to three times a day to establish a baseline temperature. When the temp drops and stays low, the dog will whelp in 24 hours. Rarely, the temperature might not decrease to 98 degrees, but a full 1 degree temp drop might be significant.
  • Most dogs will start nesting about 24 hours before whelping. Nesting may include such behavior as tearing up beds, shredding towels or blankets, and sleeping in small areas such as closets or going outside to dig up holes.
  • At the beginning of the actual “birth stage”, most dogs will pant and act uncomfortable or unsettled.
  • If no whelping has started for 24-36 hours past the temperature drop, your vet needs to see you and ultrasound the bitch to ensure pup’s heart rates are okay and they are not in distress.

Whelping:

  • After 30-60 minutes of productive contractions, pups should begin to arrive.
  • Pups are inside of a double-layered membranous sack. This sack should be removed by dam or through your assistance as soon as possible to prevent suffocation. Pups should be dried off and have their mouth and nose suctioned out to help clear the air ways. Most of the time the umbilical cord will be still attached to the placenta. Clamp the cord with hemostats and cut the cord about ½  inch from the pup (where the hemostat is) and tie off with the dental floss if it is still bleeding. Dab the area with betadine. The mother dog will probably want to eat the placenta. It is ok if she eats 1 or 2 but if she eats all of them, it may cause her to vomit. More frequently, eating placentas may cause diarrhea or loose tarry black stools.
  • Pups are usually born every 30-60 mins. If more than 2 hours elapse between pups then there may be a problem. It is a good idea to get the bitch up every 2-3 hours and walk her around. This will stimulate the contractions to become more effective. Make sure when you take the dog out to keep her on a leash or go with her to ensure that no pups are accidentally born outside and left. Car rides work well, as well as feeding her some melted ice cream. If that doesn’t get her going and you are approaching the 3 hour mark, you might need to call the vet’s office.
  • If a pup becomes “stuck” in the birth canal, you may have to gently pull on the pup and help it along. It is normal for some pups to be born hind end first, and do not worry if this happens.
  • When active contractions start and the bitch seems to be straining for longer than 30mins, there may be a problem. Call the office right away, and start packing for the trip.
  • Allowing the pups to nurse on the mom soon after birth during the whelping stages will stimulate further contractions and help the whelping process along.
  • If more than 2 pups are stillborn, call the office, we will need to see you right away.

Signs of Trouble

  • If longer than 3 hours in between pups, call the office.
  • If blackish-green discharge appears, call the office.
  • If hard pushing and no pup is produced in 30 minutes, call the office.

Post-Whelping:

  • Monitor bitch’s temperature and consistency of mammary glands.
  • The pups should be monitored closely for the first 24-72 hours to ensure that the mother is being careful and not lying on the pups in the whelping box or showing any aggressive behavior (especially in first time mothers).
  • The mother will have a brownish to red discharge for 6-8 weeks after whelping. If the discharge seems heavy or has a foul odor, then there may be a problem.
  • While the mother is nursing pups, she should be fed a puppy food or high protein diet at least 150-200% more than usual. Small but more frequent meals are recommended. The amount should be at least 1 cup for every 20lbs of body weight.

Signs of Trouble

  • Fever of greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Strawberry and cream or green-yellow discharge
  • Lethargy, non-interest in puppies
  • Hot, red or firm mammary glands

Other Helpful Facts:

  • Pups usually open their eyes at 10-15 days.
  • Most pups should be started on solid food at 3-4 weeks of age.
  • Pups should be weaned at 5-6 weeks of age
  • Pups should remain with their litter mates until 8 weeks of age
  • Pups need to be de-wormed at 3, 6, and 8 weeks of age
  • Vaccinations need to be started at 6-8 weeks of age.

 

 

Source: Reproductive Resources + NOAH

Labor and Delivery

PRIOR TO LABOR:

Several days before delivery, her vulva will enlarge, the tail head may become prominent, and watery milk may be present. Bitches with large amounts of hair on the abdomen should be shaved to assist the pups in nursing. Twenty-four hours prior to delivery, she may nest, stop eating and may vomit. Eight to 12 hours before delivery, the rectal temperature may drop by 2 to 3 degrees, to below 100 degrees, then rises back to 102 degrees as whelping approaches. At this time, she should be housed in a quiet warm room with suitable flooring or plastic sheeting and absorbent blankets. If not already done, her whelping box should be prepared. An inexpensive, easy to clean whelping box can be made from a child’s round swimming pool lined with towels, blankets, or a fitted carpet to improve footing for the pups to aid in their development.

LABOR:

As with all mammals, there are 3 stages to delivery. The first consists of mild uterine contractions, and may last 6 to 12 hours, during which milk is present and the bitch is restless. At this point, you may notice that she passes a plug of mucus, called the cervical plug. The second stage is true labor (abdominal and uterine contractions) and delivery. In hard labor, the bitch will visibly strain and groan – she may lay down or stand.

DELIVERY:

In the uterus, each pup is surrounded by fetal membranes known as allantoic and amniotic membranes, their associated fluids, and a placenta. Delivery is  preceded by passage of dark amber allantoic fluids. The amniotic sac passes into the cervix and anterior pelvis, resulting in abdominal straining and panting. Next, the perineum (skin around the vulva) distends as the amnion and pup is delivered. The first fetus should be delivered within 2 to 3 hours after the beginning of the start of hard labor. As long as the bitch’s vaginal discharge is clear and she is not in hard labor, she should not be disturbed. Puppies can live in the uterus for up to 24 hours after labor starts. Dogs in labor for 3 hours without delivery of the first pup should be examined for evidence of complications. If you are comfortable with this, you may don a glove and do a vaginal examination to assess position of the puppy. If there is a puppy in the pelvic

canal, you can help her by massaging the roof of the vagina (called feathering). You may be able to feel the pup’s head or legs and assist the bitch by pulling the puppy out and down (toward the bitch’s feet). Labor should be progressive and productive. If you are uninterested in intervening yourself, the bitch is weak and seems to you to be in danger, or you unable to assess the situation, this is the time to contact a veterinarian for assistance. Subsequent pups should be delivered within 45 to 60 minutes of hard labor.  Often the first 2 pups are born close together, and then a pause of up to several hours can occur. As long as the bitch is not in hard labor, or there is not excessive blood or green color to the discharge, there is no need to intervene.  (Green color is normal AFTER 1 or more pups have been delivered as this signifies placental separation). Frequently, the first and last pups are the largest, due to position in the uterus and optimum nutrition. It is not abnormal for pups to beborn tail first (up to 40%). As long as the delivery is short, the pup should survive. Regardless of presentation, if the delivery is slow or difficult, the bitch can be assisted by gently grasping the pup with a towel or gauze and pulling with gentle traction downward between her rear legs.

The third and final stage of labor is the delivery of the placentae, which frequently occurs with each delivery. The amniotic sac is may be intact and the umbilical cord is unbroken. The bitch will normally remove the amnion and chew through the cord after each birth, then lick the pup to stimulate breathing. Do not interfere unless she is not interested, too aggressive or too weak. Try to account for one placenta per pup and allow her to eat only a few. Too many may cause stomach upset.

If the bitch fails to clean up the pup within 30 to 60 seconds of birth, you may need to intervene. This is best accomplished by tearing the sac off the face with a terry towel and rubbing the pup vigorously. A bulb syringe or DeeLee mucus trap can be used to suction excess fluids from the back of the pup’s throat. (Never swing the pups as this causes brain damage.) The pup can be held at a 45 degree angle with the head down to allow drainage of fluids from the airways if necessary.

If the pup does not start to breathe promptly, an acupuncture point (25 gauge needle inserted in the center of the upper lip, below the nostrils, insert to bone and rotate) or a caffeine solution (1 caffeine tablet crushed in 1 cc of water) dropped on to the pups tongue can be used to stimulate the first breath. Mouthto-mouth and chest compressions can be attempted if the pup fails to respond to the above measures.  If the umbilical cord tears too short and bleeds, immediately clamp the cord and tie dental floss or thread around it to control blood loss.

Whelping is best accomplished at home and without intervention if possible.  Disrupting the bitch can stop or delay delivery of the pups. Occasional walking to allow the bitch to urinate may assist with delivery. Be sure to accompany her and take along a towel (and flashlight if in the dark), just in case she delivers a pup while outside. Allowing pups to nurse between deliveries will aid in uterine contractions. Ice cream (for calcium and energy) can be fed to her (and you) throughout labor to aid in keeping her contractions strong and effective. If indicated, oxytocin use MUST be done very conservatively to avoid endangering the health of the bitch and puppies. Only very small doses, if any, should be administered without veterinary or Whelpwise® oversight and should NEVER exceed 2 injections. The more oxytocin most experienced breeder-veterinarians use, the more respect they have for it’s misuse.

UTERINE CONTRACTION MONITORING:

The WhelpwiseTM uterine contraction monitor (tocodynomometer) can be used to monitor pre-labor and labor and allow for early intervention if premature delivery or dystocia is diagnosed. As in human obstetrics, insightful monitoring of labor can significantly improve neonatal survival. The equipment for this service needs to be ordered in advance. They may be reached at 1-888-281-4867. The fetal Doppler included can be utilized to assess fetal heartbeats and detect fetal distress.

DYSTOCIA:

There are 2 basic causes for dystocia or difficulties with deliveries: those caused by the bitch and those caused by the pups. Maternal causes included obesity; voluntary inhibition if interrupted or overly sensitive; abnormally small litters (1-2 pups); exhaustion; or small pelvic or vaginal diameter. Fetal causes are large head, malposition or malpresentation, large size, other structural defects, and 2 pups being delivered simultaneously. To help alleviate exhaustion in the bitch you may wish to offer vanilla ice cream to provide energy, fluids and calcium without causing vomiting.

Under some circumstances, the bitch will need assistance and should be taken to the veterinarian. Corrections of dystocia (performed by your veterinarian) include manipulation and traction on the pup, episiotomy, drug therapy (oxytocin, calcium and glucose) and Caesarian section. Each case must be considered and  treated individually.

CESARIAN SECTION (C-section):

At times, a C-section may be scheduled prior to the onset of labor. These reasons  include small litters of 1-2 pups, larger litters of over 10 pups, or a breed at risk.  On occasion, surgical intervention may be necessary to save the bitch and/or  puppies. DO NOT DELAY HERE.

Any bitch that is too weak to stand, has an unexplained discharge from her eyes, unrelenting vomiting, has severe abdominal pain, is greater than 68 days postovulation, has a history of dystocia unrelated to fetal malposition, is having severe tremors, has green vaginal discharge without a pup delivered, has signs of fetal distress, has failed to respond to oxytocin, has weak contractions, has had her temp rise Without labor starting, or is in hard labor 2 hours without presenting a pup needs immediate veterinary attention.

Done prior to the bitch and puppies developing extreme distress and done well by an experienced team of veterinarians and veterinary staff, C-sections can be highly successful, often producing 100% puppy survival rates. This is done with general anesthesia using PropofolR for induction followed by isoflurane or sevoflurane. The bitch is monitored during anesthesia with a pulse oximeter and is given IV fluids. A spay should only be performed at the c-section under extraordinary circumstances due to the associated risks. The puppies are rapidly removed from the uterus and revived. As soon as the puppies and bitch are medically stable, they are sent home in your care.

Courtesy of Dr Marty Greer of Veterinary Village, Lomira WI

List of Items to Bring for Your Bitch’s C-Section

List of Items to Bring for Your Bitch’s C-Section

  • The pregnant dog in need of the C-section
  • Cell phone
  • Tarp, shower curtain, or vinyl tablecloth to cover the seats or floor of the car
  • Crate large enough for the pregnant bitch to travel in
  • Large Vari-Kennel crate with top ½ removed, which easily gives you access to the bitch or preferred a baby pool
  • 3 Blankets for inside crate or pool (One for the way down, then a clean one for the return home, and a smaller one that will go on top of the heating pad- So that heating pad is between the blankets.) Or you can use large towels. I cover the bitch and puppies with a large towel on the return home- everything covered except the bitch’s head so there are no drafts on the puppies.  Or you can clip a towel over most of the crate, allowing room for easy access if needed
  • Heating pad – take two, one for the crate/pool for the return ride home and one for in the basket. Don’t forget the adapter to plug into
  • Hot water bottle – take one just in case something happens and the heating pads don’t work
  • Plastic laundry basket – to use after puppies are cleaned up and getting ready to leave the clinic
  • Towels – plenty of them!! Hand towels and full size bath size towels
  • Small garbage bag
  • Paper towels
  • Kleenex – especially good for pooping puppies
  • Cotton balls, Q-Tips, and cotton gauze squares
  • Nolvasan (properly diluted and ready to use)
  • Puppy formula mixed – in a seal tight container and enough to feed litter if needed before leaving the clinic. If bringing a premixed can, remember a container to heat the formula in, and a lid for the remaining unused portion in the can.
  • French feeding tube and syringe (sterilized and ready to use)
  • Bulb syringe and Dee Lee mucus trap – for suctioning puppies if needed
  • Hemostat
  • Dental floss – in case you need to re-tie an umbilical
  • Water
  • Water dish for bitch, and or a squirt bottle of water
  • Cooler
  • Ice (I bring ice just in case you have a bleeding dew claw) or Quick-Stop or
  • Antiseptic powder, or all of the above
  • Normal first aid

Determine Whelping Dates

DETERMINE WHELPING DATES

The “Whelp Dates” is determined by counting 63 days from the date of ovulation. Ovularion occurs when the progesterone range is between 4 and 6 ng/mls (this may vary in some cases where progesterone “surges” or different test protocols between laboratories). The whelp date is estimated with a typical fluctuation of no more than +/- hours.

If LH testing is done, the Whelp Date is calculated at 65 days from a positive LH test result.

If a vaginal smear is done and show a jump from being “in season to “not in season” (cornflakes w/ nuclei g fried eggs w/ nuclei), the due date is 56 days from the “not in season” smear date.

If no timing was done and we are unsure of a due date, progesterone testing at the end of pregnancy is recommended to determine when the bitch will whelp.

If a c-section is not planned, the owner needs to monitor for temperature drop (3 times a day) and test progesterone level to make sure that we are not taking the puppies out too soon or put the mother and pups in a compromised situation by keeping them in too late.

Progesterone tests performed at the time of whelping are a good idea because the temperature might not always drop as low as desired. The amount of the drop depends on the size of the litter, (cases of only 1-2 puppies typically have smaller drops). This test is also recommended as it helps us estimate when she will deliver. And, in the end, it will cost less to the owner.

Ultrasound(s) or Radiograph(s) can help determine a whelp date if no other options are available.

Ultrasounds help the doctor to determine the age of the puppies and is easier to do around day 25 to 30, but it is possible to do it later.

Radiographs can help determine the calcification level of the puppies. If toes, or teeth are present on the radiograph, the bitch is expected to whelp within 1-3 days.

When it comes to bulldogs, it is always better to schedule and perform a c-section 1 day before estimated due date. This prevents putting the bitch in a compromised situation of natural whelping and having an emergency in the middle of the night.

Singlton cases (one puppy litters) are the most challenging to time whelping because it is the puppy that initiates labor, not the mother, If there is not enough stimulation in the uterus due to the decreased levels of hormones from only one puppy, the temperature might not drop and the mother will not go into labor.

What is normal?

What is normal? Week 1 Week 2 Week 3-4 Week 5-6
Temperature, rectal 96 – 98° 96 – 99° 100° 100 – 101°
Ambient Temperature 75 – 80° 70 – 80° 70 – 75° 65 – 75°
Heart Rate & Blood Pressure 200 to 240 beats per min; systolic blood pressure: 61 mm Hg 200 to 240 beats per min, sinus rhythm 160 to 200 beats per min; sinus rhythm; systolic blood pressure: 139 mm Hg Varies with breed
Blood Volume 75 ml/kg
Respiratory Rate 15 to 35 per min 15 to 35 per min 15 to 25 per min 15 to 25 per min
Mucus Membranes Color/CRT Pink to hyperemic if recently nursed Pink/1 second Pink/1 second Pink/1 second
Urine color Very pale yellow, <1.020 Very pale yellow, <1.020 Pale yellow Pale to moderate yellow
Weight May lose up to 10% in the first 3 days. Birth weight:

Toys 100-200gms;

Large 400-500gms

Giant 700 gms

Gaining 5 to 10% daily, many double birth weight by day 10. Calculate weight gain of 2-4 gm/day/kg anticipated adult weight. Calculate weight gain of 2-4 gm/day/kg anticipated adult weight. Calculate weight gain of 1-4 gm/day/kg anticipated adult weight. Giant and large breed at faster rate than small breeds.
Activity Sleepts & eats 90% of the time, twitch while sleeping. Movement is a crawl. Sleeps & eats 90% of the time, twitch while sleeping. Begin to support themselves on their forelegs. Beginning to stand and walk by day 21. Start to play when eyes open. Can sit. Walking, climbing, playing, may bark, begin to explore environment,
Attitude Quiet, cry infrequently Quiet Quiet, more active Start to develop “personalities”
Body Tone & Reflexes Flexor dominance for 1st 4 days, then extensor. Righting, rooting, weak withdrawl. Extensor dominance, righting, rooting, crossed extensor. Withdrawl developing. Approaching normal for adult. Suckling reflex & crossed extensor disappears. Normal adult
Vision and hearing No vision but blink with bright light. Limited hearing. None to limited vision and hearing, menace present but slow initially. Limited hearing, waxy discharge Vision blurry, Pupillary light reflex present within 24 hours of eyelids opening, respond to sound. Startle reflex develops. Approaching full vision and hearing
Teeth None None Decidious incisors & canine erupt Decidious premolard erupt
Breeder’s interaction Assure pups are nursing, supplement if necessary. Once to twice daily tape and record temp, weight, urine & stool character. Continue Early Neurologic Stimulation day 3-16. Assure pups are nursing, supplement if necessary. Daily temp take and record, weight, urine & stool character. Continue Early Neurologic Stimulation day 3-16 Continue to assure pups are thriving, begin to enrich environment by variation of toys and surfaces. Continue to assure pups are thriving, continue to enrich environment. Lots of human interaction for socialization.
Veterinary Care Assess & treat if not thriving, taildogs and dewclaws prior to 5th day if appropriate for breed. Assess & treat if not thriving. Dispense pyrantel pamoate to use on day 14 after birth. Assess & treat if not thriving. Dispense pyrantel pamoate to use on day 28 after birth. Veterinary wellness visit – assess pups for any abnormalities to allow breeder to sell pup with full disclosure. First vaccinations (DAPPv) end of 7th wee. Dispense pyrantel pamoate to use on day 42 after birth.
Food and water Nursing only – if supplementing, 60ml/lb/24 hours divided by 8, fed every 3 hours. Nursing only – if supplementing, 70ml/lb/24 hours divided by 8, fed every 3 hours. Offer water, then gruel to start weaning. If supplementing, 90ml/lb/24 hours divided by 8, fed every 3 hours. Teething. Many pups weaned, on full food and water, some still nurse for social interaction.

Weaning Puppies

  • Puppies are weaned typically 4-5 weeks of age, unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.
  • The puppies will need to be fed 5 times a day and alternating between the mother and the food.
  • When introducing them to the food, you will need to start with small amounts, however, let them eat as much as they would like.
  • For kibble: soak the kibble in warm water for 15-20 minutes and grind it into a porridge consistency.
  • For raw diet: Use new portion of meat each time so that decreases any chance of bacteria growing.
  • Do not leave the kibble or the raw down for longer than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Do not mix the kibble with the raw diet as the body metabolizes these at two different speeds.
  • You can mix in some canned Esbilac, as well as add a few “islands” of meat flavored baby food or Royal Canin Puppy Starter Mousse.

Mother / Puppy Feeding Schedule

Starting the process:

  • Puppies nurse twice a day for 2 days (feeding the kibble or meat in between).
  • Then let the puppies nurse once a day for 2 days.
  • Then every other day for 2 days.
  • Then stop ALL contact with mother, feed only kibble or meat.

 

Tube Feeding

Tube Feeding

  • Using a red rubber catheter (size of catheter depends on size of pup), place the closed tip end of catheter against the puppy, and measure from the last rib, all the way to the mouth.
  • Measure 75% of this length, and mark tube with permanent marker. Once the tube is placed, you should be able to see this mark at the opening of the mouth.
  • Fill tube with formula and make sure all air is expelled by overfilling the syringe, making sure milk comes out of the end of the red rubber catheter.
  • Slide tube into mouth along the hard palate, following the path of least resistance. If there is resistance, pull out and try again.  Once the tube is properly placed, pull back on the syringe to ensure that there is negative pressure (no air).
  • Push on the syringe plunger to feed.
  • Make sure to re-measure tube and adjust the depth as the puppy grows. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT
  • To decrease the chance of aspiration, kink the tube before pulling out
  • Feed _______ mls per day. Divide into 8-12 feedings initially. Then consult the veterinarian for further instructions.
  • Don’t forget to give 2mls (cc) of Nursemate supplement for the first few days. This is colostrum, which is very important for the protection of the immune system.
  • You can also mix any prescribed antibiotic solution into the formula and give it as directed.

_____ Owner’s Initials acknowledge receipt and understanding of the above information

 

_____ Tech/Dr Initials

Puppy Care

POSTPARTUM AND PEDIATRIC CARE:

Careful management of the pregnant bitch (prenatal period), birth of the pups (parturition) and the postpartum (neonatal) period is critical to assure the best possible outcome. In other words, YOU are in control of your puppies’ destiny. Carefully handled, you can set a goal of raising 100% of your puppies. Unfortunately, the veterinary literature often reports a “normal” death loss of up to 40% in the first 4 weeks of life. The goal of this information is to arm you with ammunition you need to maximize your success rate. We cannot expect our bitches and puppies to thrive unless we manage their health, nutrition and environment carefully.

It is critical to keep the pups warm with supplemental heat at this point – we use a towel and heating pad on low and wrap the pup like a taco while doing the initial handling and drying. The umbilical cord can be clamped and tied with thread or dental floss, cut 3/4″ from the abdominal wall, and treated with iodine to prevent infection. The placenta/umbilical cord can be left attached if the pups are being delivered quickly. The pups should be left with the bitch if possible during subsequent deliveries to nurse, as this nursing will stimulate uterine contractions. If the pups must be separated from the mother, they should be kept warm by placing them in an incubator or in a pinch the chest pocket of a shirt turned wrong side out. (You or an assistant wears the shirt, not the bitch!) This avoids burns associated with external heat source misuse and your movement will keep the pup stimulated. If the pups seem reluctant to nurse or are crying, a rectal temperature should be taken and if it is under 97 degrees, they should be warmed up to 97 degrees prior to feeding. If the rectal temperature exceeds 99 degrees, this indicates overheating or illness.

Environmental temperatures should be checked with a thermometer. Puppies do not have the mechanism to maintain their own body temperature. The area should be 80 to 90 degrees the first week and dropped 5 degrees a week until weaning. Specialized whelping nests are available commercially which provide a controlled and safe heat source. Light bulbs, heat lamps, hot water bottles, towel wrapped heating pads, or incubators can be used with caution to keep the pups warm. Only half of the box should be warmed so as to allow the pups and mother to move to warmer or cooler areas to best suit their needs.

Once (or more daily if the pups are not thriving), at the same time each day, the pups should be weighed and have a rectal temperature taken, recording it to monitor for adequate nursing and weight gain. At least once a day, you should really LOOK and LISTEN to your litter. Pick up the puppies, roll them over, feel how they hold their body, their body condition, their attitude and their general appearance. Don’t worry – Mom should let you do this and she won’t reject them. After all, you tend to her needs and she looks to you for this.

Stools should be formed, light brown with a yellow–seedy appearance. Urine color should be assessed on a cotton ball at least once daily to monitor for
Adequate nursing and dehydration. The urine should be pale yellow in color. If the urine is darker yellow in color, this signifies dehydration.

If the pups fail to gain weight, are fussy or weak, the urine is dark, the stools are abnormal, or the pups do not have good body tone, contact your veterinarian.

The first week of life is the time of greatest risk for the newborn. The pups should be kept warm, free from drafts, away from other dogs, and the neighbors and their children. Healthy well-nourished pups should be quiet, eat and sleep (with some jerking during REM) 90% of the time, gain weight daily after the first 2 days, and show increasing strength and body tone. Each pup should gain 2 to 7 grams per day per kilogram of anticipated adult body weight (1 ounce= 28.35 grams) (1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs). By day 10 to 12 of age, their birth weight should double. This is an average of 1 to 3 oz per day per puppy as neonates.

Daily, you should also examine your bitch. Assess her appetite, water consumption, urination, stools, temperature, and attitude. Look at the color, character and volume of her vaginal discharge. Take note of any unusual odor. Feel each mammary gland for texture and temperature (they should feel soft to firm, never hard) and look at a few drops of milk from each nipple. Colostrum, the first milk, will be yellow and thick. After the first 2 days, the color and consistency should very closely resemble cows milk. Thick milk of any color other than white should be noted. Report any abnormalities to your veterinarian. DO NOT START MEDICATIONS without consultation as some medications can harm the pups.

POST-PARTUM EXAMINATION:

Normal postpartum discharge is dark green for the first 1 to 2 days, then becomes bloody. There is usually a lot of discharge for the first 5 to 7 days. It should gradually decrease in volume and become thick and clear or gray by day 10. Abnormal, excessive or foul smelling vaginal discharge may indicate an infection, and you should consult your veterinarian. Postpartum complications
include uterine infections, retained fetuses, retained placentas, poor return of the uterus to normal, mastitis, eclampsia (low blood calcium), and fetal death. It is recommended to have the bitch and puppies examined within 24 hours of delivery to assure there are no retained pups, that the mammary glands are normal, and to have the puppies examined for defects or illness. The first day or two after whelping, the bitch may be reluctant to eat and have diarrhea. Drinking adequate fluids must be encouraged to assure adequate milk production. The mother’s diet should be a high quality puppy or performance food to assure adequate consumption of calcium, protein, and calories. She will eat 2 to 3 times the amount she ate prior to breeding. Adding salt to her food and increasing the water availability will help assure adequate milk production. Do not administer any medications at this time without your veterinarians advice as many drugs can pass through the milk and affect the puppies.

TAILDOCKS AND DEWLAWS

Taildocks and/or dewclaw removal, if standard for your breed, are done between 3 and 5 days by your veterinarian. From day 3 to day 16, we recommend the Early Neurologic Stimulation program by Carmen Battaglia be instituted to help the pups grow up as tolerant well-adjusted adults. (A handout covering this information is available.) By days 10 to 14, the pups ears and eyes are usually opening. If bulging of the eyelids (Neonatal Ophthalmia) is noted prior to the eyes opening, you should seek veterinary care at once. At this time, the pups become more aware of their surroundings. By 3 weeks, the pups are becoming active. Often, a runt pup is noted in the litter. It may help to direct the pup to nurse on one of the mammary glands between the back legs as these have the most milk. Nutritional supplementation may also be indicated. (see handout on tube feeding) Frequently, this pup will catch up by weaning time, and often this pup has the most spunk. This pup should not be destroyed.

LITTER REGISTRATION:

This is the time to remember to submit litter registration papers to the AKC or other registry organization in order to receive the individual puppy registration papers back in time for the puppy’s adoption.

SICK NEWBORNS:

The most common concerns we see in the newborn are fading pups (failure to thrive), diarrhea and constipation. The first place to start is to assess the situation. Evaluate the puppy’s environment: are they too warm, too cold, dry, clean? Do the pups have a normal temperature (96-99 degrees)? Are they gaining weight? How are their urine and stools? Do they feel dehydrated? How is their body tone? Is mom feeling her best? If she is sick, has infected mammary glands, a uterine infection, or is not eating well, she cannot adequately care for the pups. Once you have done the assessment, it is now time to address the situation. Correct any environmental issues. Supplement feed with a bottle or tube if the pups are weak, thin, weak, dehydrated, or not nursing ONLY IF they have a rectal temperature over 96 degrees. If they have diarrhea, feed 1-2 cc of active culture yogurt and a couple of drops of KaoPectate. If they continue to have diarrhea, you may need to reduce their intake of milk for 1 to 2 feedings and/or substitute an electrolyte solution. If they are constipated, stimulate stool passage by rubbing the rectal area with a warm wet cotton ball and give a few drops of Karo syrup orally. Pediatric simethicone drops can be used under veterinary direction if excess gas is noted. Should this not resolve the problem within a few hours, or if the pups cry or mew excessively, fail to gain weight, fail to suck, have bloody urine, have labored breathing, have ongoing diarrhea, abdominal distension and pain, slough the toes or tail tip, or do not appear to be thriving, seek veterinary advice.

HAND-RAISING PUPPIES: 

Unfortunately, not all puppies are lucky enough to be raised exclusively by their mothers. The first 24 to 48 hours are the most critical for the puppy to nurse. This is when the colostrum, the first milk, is produced. Colostrum contains high levels of antibodies critical to the pup’s ability to resist infectious diseases (bacterial or viral). Without this, the pups will be more vulnerable to contagious diseases. If the pup is unable to nurse from it’s mother, the second best option is to find another lactating bitch that will accept the pups. This surrogate mother can
usually increase her milk supply within a few days to respond to the increased demand. Plasma, available commercially, may be given to sick pups. This is useful in providing antibodies and proteins to pups, and will support pups with a wide variety of illnesses. A total dose of 15 cc is required over a 24 hour period.

NO PUPPY SHOULD DIE OF STARVATION OR DEHYDRATION!

If necessary, you may need to bottle or tube feed the pups. Pasteurized goat’s milk or commercially available bitch milk substitutes make excellent supplements. In an emergency, a formula of 1 cup cow’s milk, 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon Karo syrup can be used temporarily. Puppies can ingest 20 cc (4 teaspoons) of formula per 16 oz of body weight per feeding. Pups can be fed with an appropriate sized bottle if they will suck effectively. If not, they must be tube fed with a soft feeding catheter. With veterinary assistance, most owners can be taught how to place the tube. This should not be attempted without instruction as there are associated risks such as inhalation of the formula. The pups should not be fed or allowed to nurse if their rectal temperature is not between 96 and 99o F. Whether bottle or tube feeding, pups should be fed at least 4 times daily, preferably every 2 to 4 hours. Less frequent feedings or cow’s milk formulas will guarantee diarrhea, weight loss and unthrifty pups.

For the first 2 weeks of life, after feeding, the pups should be stimulated to urinate and defecate by rubbing the area between the back legs with a warm wet cotton ball. This simulates the mother’s clean-up efforts. At three weeks, or if the pups are orphaned at this age, a gruel of Eukanuba Weaning Formula® or high quality softened small breed puppy food can be made and the pups handled as if they were being weaned. Orphaned pups should be immunized at a younger age than other pups. Hand-raising pups is time-consuming and an enormous amount of work but can be very rewarding when successful.

Courtesy of Dr Marty Greer of Veterinary Village, Lomira WI