Preparing to whelp puppies

After you breed your female, you have 63 days from the day her eggs are fertilized until the puppies arrive. During this time it is necessary to buy or build a whelping bin for your female to deliver her litter. It needs to be large enough for her to move around comfortably. It is extremely important to have rails about 4 inches wide attached to all 4 sides of the bin. The rails need to be 4 inches off the floor of the whelping bin. This prevents the puppies from accidentally being crushed under the mother. Once the whelping bin is ready, line it with absorbent whelping pads. It is recommended to have 3 pads so they can be washed and rotated as needed. Make sure the whelping bin is in a warm, quiet place.

After the whelping bin is prepared, there are some other supplies you will need to have on hand. Keeping newborn puppies warm is of the utmost importance, therefore, you should have a ceramic heat source specifically designed for whelping bins. You will also need a digital rectal thermometer, thread and stainless scissors. It is usually necessary to tie off the part of the umbilical cord the mother has not removed. Once the cord is tied off, snip it above the tie with the stainless scissors. Keep a rubber bulb syringe for removing fluid from the puppies airway and liquid puppy formula and a bottle in case one or more puppy has difficulty nursing. You may also need to use a bottle and formula if there are more than 10 puppies since the mom can only nurse 10 pups at a time. If you choose, you can have several pairs of latex gloves available since it is a bit of a messy job.

Finally, it is a good idea to have a clock, paper and pencil on hand to record the time, sex and color of each puppy. The time sheet also serves as a way to track the amount of time between puppies. If the time becomes excessive, you will want to call and consult your veterinarian as their may be a problem.