American Morkshire Terrier Club®
Whether it's your first time whelping (the process of a female dog giving birth to puppies) or you're experienced, learning more about the process with some basic practices will help you become more prepared and informed.
Prepare for whelping
A whelping dog typically has very few issues during birth, but it's helpful to know what to look for so you can be prepared to help if something arises during labor. Over the course of 58 to 63 days from date of tie (the process of a male and female mating) and a successful tie occurred - expecting mothers will start to show signs of Impending Whelping about 48 hours prior to whelp and will go through three whelping stages, with the first stage there's a few things you should watch for:
First time mothers should be attended by their owners until at least one or two puppies have been born.
How to help a dog during labor
Now that you know the basics to Signs of Whelping - what can you do to help your dog through this stage? It typically takes 0-30 minutes for each puppy to be born. Monitor mom - It is common for two puppies to be delivered right after one another, with two placentas. Head-first and tail-first presentations of puppies are normal. Up to two hours between puppies is considered normal. Mom will relax and begin resting and taking care of the puppies whelped in-between puppies - this is normal. Mom will be have whelped all puppies when no more puppies have been born after a period of 3-4 hours and no signs of contractions (active pushing). Each puppy should be delivered with a placenta and your dog has almost certainly consumed them without you noticing. Consuming the placenta by mom is neither beneficial nor detrimental, but consumption of all placentas can result in diarrhea, which is normal. *Contact your veterinarian if more than two hours have passed between the delivery of puppies and mom is still actively pushing as there may be a complication.*
how long is labor?
On average, a dog will be in labor 6-12 hours before the start of stage 1 labor, but may last up to 24-36 hours is normal.
Vaginal discharge - what's normal?
After giving birth, it is normal for moms to have some vaginal discharge (lochia), which can range in color from straw (clear tinged with streaks of red), to green, to red, to brown. Lochia usually persists for about three weeks, but may last up to eight weeks long. It should progressively darken in color and decrease over time. Lochia should not have a foul odor. If a foul odor is noted or the amount of lochia increases at any time, seek veterinary care, as this could be a sign of infection or retained placenta.
Potential whelping problems
As previously mentioned - most dogs whelp without issue. However, there are some exceptions, and there are some common signs your dog is experiencing whelping problems that warrant calling or visiting your veterinarian:
Now that you know what's involved in Dog Whelping, you'll be ready to help when the time comes.
Article written by
American Morkshire Terrier Club
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