If your dog is getting ready to deliver her puppies, it's time to get your whelping supplies together. It's a good idea to assemble these in advance because once your pet goes into labor, you won't want to leave her to find what you need.
The whelping box is vital to keep the mother comfortable and the pups contained. It should be large enough for the expectant mom to turn around and lie down. Fill the box with plenty of shredded newspapers and old, clean towels. Have hot water bottles ready to be filled to keep the mother and puppies warm. If you use a heating pad, make sure it has an automatic shut off. You don't want it to get too hot.
Keeping the mother as comfortable as possible is the goal. Have a leash ready in case she needs a bathroom break.
An electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte, will help keep her hydrated.
It's also a good idea to have a water-based lubricant on hand, such as K-Y Jelly, to help ease the delivery if a puppy becomes stuck.
Supplies for the Puppies
You'll need a few things ready for the puppies' arrival:
- A separate box with towels and a hot water bottle to hold the pups while mom is still delivering
- A bulb syringe to suction mucus from the mouth and upper respiratory tract
- A small scale, like a postal scale, with a basket for weighing the pups
- An identification system, such as puppy tags, so you can tell the pups apart
For the Delivery
When it's delivery time, you'll find these tools handy.
- 1 or 2 pairs of forceps or hemostats to clamp the umbilical cords prior to cutting
- Clean scissors for cutting the cords
- Iodine for disinfecting the cords
- A small basin with disinfectant for soaking the scissors and forceps between puppies
In Case of Emergency
You can never predict when an emergency might occur.
- Have a nursing kit and formula on hand to supplement the puppies if needed.
- Have plenty of cloth towels ready for rubbing a puppy that needs stimulation to breathe.
- Most importantly, have a telephone and the number for the vet or emergency room ready.
Your role is to be Mom's supporter and friend. A few items may help you do your job better.
- Have plenty of disposable latex gloves available for handling slippery puppies.
- You'll find washcloths or cloth squares convenient for holding those pups.
- Keep a flashlight handy, in case mom's bathroom break happens in the middle of the night.
- You will want to a whelping record to record the births.
- You might also want to keep plenty of coffee available in case of a long night.
Waiting for a Birthday
You have your whelping supplies ready, and now it's a waiting game. Learn how to determine if your dog is ready to give birth.