Category Archives: Puppy whelping
It was almost 10pm on Saturday night 3 July 2016 and we were doing our usual Saturday night activity – watching a movie. Molly was with us. She had been very clingy all day and just wanted to be with us, her people. We had spent the day cleaning the puppy room – washing floors and walls, sterilising towels and blankets, and starting to get the room ready for the pups which we expected to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday. We planned to put down a new floor in the puppy room on Sunday and then get everything we might need ready for the big event.
Suddenly Molly got up and started walking as though she had a thorn under her tail. Well, it wasn’t a thorn! A little grey bulge started to appear!! Oh gosh! The pups were on their way and we weren’t yet ready! We led Molly into the puppy room, put down some towels and quickly put on the heaters and the heat light to warm the room.
While we were getting ready, the puppy was whelping. Molly turned around to see what was going on under her tail and yelped when she saw this bulge coming out of her. She ran as fast as she could to get away from it, which was not very far at all as the doors were closed to get the room warmed up as quickly as possible. Karen delivered the puppy while Chris calmed Molly down and reassured her that it was all okay. But Molly was having none of it! She sat facing the farthest corner with her head averted. She was not at all interested in this mysterious thing that just appeared.
While Karen was rubbing the pup and cutting the umbilical cord to free the newborn from its placenta, Chris ran around getting more towels, the whelping kit, thermometers, newspapers and cloths. Then together Chris and Karen dragged in the whelping box which had been washed and left outside to dry. Newspapers and towels were laid in the box and Molly was led into the box to whelp the rest of her litter. She had only been mated once, right at the end of her season and had not been very big in her pregnancy. We were expecting only 4 or 5 pups.
As Chris was putting the side bars on the box, Molly started to contract again. We put wooden bars along the inside edges of the box to stop the mommy dog from unintentionally squashing a puppy against the sides of the box. As Chris was pushing the screws in to hold the bars, Molly started pushing out the next puppy. Again she was upset by the events and would have nothing to do with the puppy-in-the-bag or the placenta that followed the puppy out. Once again, we had to hand-deliver the pup and tear open the water-filled bag to get the puppy out. After rubbing the pup firmly to get it to take its first breath, Karen then turned her attention to the umbilical cord and placenta. Birth is a miraculous event! It is such a privilege to see a new born take its first breath! Once the pup is breathing, the blood drains out of the umbilical cord back into the placenta. When the cord is white, we can then cut the cord about 2cm from the pup’s belly. If we cut too close, the pup may develop an umbilical hernia. Many pups get them and usually outgrow them in the first 6 months.
So now we had 2 little boys and 2 placentas. And Molly sitting in total denial facing the other direction. She would not smell or even look at these things that were arriving from who-knows-where. Mommy dogs usually break open the sack around the puppy with their teeth. They then lick up the water, and eat the bag, followed by the placenta and then they bite the umbilical cord with their teeth. The little pup can get tossed and banged around in this process, which although rough, helps loosen the water in the lungs so that the little one can draw its first breath. The mommy-dog then licks the puppy clean and helps stimulate the breathing. The placenta is full of nourishment and allows the mommy-dog to stay in the nest for the first 2 or 3 days without having to go out for food. By cleaning and eating everything, she also gets rid of the smell which would attract predators in the wild.
We had to encourage Molly to lie down so that the pups could begin to suckle. She ignored them and would not look at them pulling on her teats.
By now it was close to midnight and we realised that sleep was going to be very broken if at all. Four minutes after midnight, the first little girl arrived. Again, fully hand-delivered, she weighed 338 grams. Puppy number 4, also a girl, arrived within minutes of her sister, weighing in at 368g.
Usually by the second or third puppy, the mommy-dog’s instinct kicks in and she starts doing everything herself. Not Miss Molly. She was not into this break-open-the-bag-and-eat-the-placenta thing. In fact she really wanted nothing at all to do with the whole process! Only by puppy number five did she take a little sniff at one of these little things in front of her. Then she stuck out her tongue and gave it a little lick, almost as though she was tasting it. Slowly we could see something click in her. It was as though her instinct had to be thawed out and stimulated to life. Little by little she sniffed and licked each pup in turn as they searched out her teats and learnt to latch.
Even that process is amazing to watch. As soon as the new born is breathing and clean, it starts to seek out nourishment from mommy-dog. It kind of swims towards her teats and sniffs around for the milk which it knows is there. It takes a while for the new-born to figure out that it has to open its mouth and attach itself to a teat. But nature is amazing, and almost all of them get it right within five to ten minutes of being born!
At 01:50 a small little girl was born – she was perfect but tiny. Her birth weight was just 278 grams, but she was strong.
We though that might be the last, but when we felt along Molly’s flanks, there was the shape of another puppy. He / she was sitting high inside and was not in a hurry to come out. So we decided that one of us should sleep and the other stand watch. Karen got first sleep and at 03:20am was woken by Chris to help deliver puppy number six!
By this stage Chris was also getting involved in the whelping and actually dealt with the yukky placenta. If you’ve never seen a placenta, it looks a bit like a floppy slippery liver with various shades of green, red and brown. Yes green! The green stuff is likely the waste products of the puppy. Although it has no obvious odour, it is nevertheless not nice to touch.
Molly now had this birthing-thing down to a fine art. She’s a real Sandton girl! She would push the puppy half-way out and then just lie there. We had to then gently pull the puppy out of her in its bag, attached with its cord to the placenta. While birthing is a relatively quick process, it also cannot be rushed. If you try to pull the placenta out too quickly, the cord tears, leaving the placenta inside. This is not good, as if it remains inside the mommy-dog, it could become infected and poison her. You have to wait for her body to continue contracting to expel the placenta. While you are keen to get the puppy out the bag and breathing, you cannot rush the process. In previous litters, we had watched the mommy-dog take 2 to 3 minutes to release the puppy and start it breathing.
At 04:20am puppy number seven came out without its bag! The bag had torn open in the birthing canal! Because puppy was out of it birth-water and was not yet moving, we wanted to hurry the placenta out so that we could start rubbing the pup to stimulate its breathing. But, as I said, you cannot hurry nature. The umbilical cord tore and the placenta was left inside! Our primary focus was on the new-born and we left the placenta, hoping it would get expelled in due time.
Many breeders use oxytocin after the end of the whole whelping process to ‘clean out’ any residue to prevent internal infection in the mommy-dog. I had never used oxytocin before, preferring to keep as natural as possible. However, if the missing placenta did not materialise, I would have to go get some from the vet.
Fifteen minutes later puppy number eight arrived with the placenta of the sister before her! Chris dealt with the placenta’s and Karen dealt with the puppy.
Chris was almost falling over by this stage, so he went off to get a couple hours sleep while Karen stood watch for the next puppy. She did not have to wait long. 05:10am yet another little girl arrived!! Molly was now getting into the feeding-licking puppy thing. She would still only half-deliver a puppy, leaving her human midwives to finish the delivery and take care of pup and placenta. But she was licking the puppies and starting to stimulate the little bowels. A puppy’s first little poo is green – like the placenta. Once the mother’s milk starts going through the system, it changes to a yellowish-ochre colour.
By now there were nine puppies! We were amazed at how Molly had hidden so many inside her! However, there was one more surprise to come. At 06:30am the last little boy arrived, making a grand total of ten in the litter!! Four boys and six girls. We would never have guessed ten puppies! What a blessing! All strong and of good birth weight. Molly’s mothering instinct had finally kicked in and she was doing a grand job feeding and cleaning and caring for her babies!
It was 9:30pm on Tuesday night 21 January 2014. I was in bed, chatting on the phone to my husband who was out of town. As we were talking I suddenly noticed that the other dogs in the house were very interested in something next to my bed. Looking down I was amazed to see not one, but TWO little puppies with Jade! Needless to say I immediately ended the call and took Jade and the pups into the puppy room, placing the little ones in the whelping box. Jade got in there right behind them. She and I then spent the next 10 hours bringing another 8 puppies into the world! It was a long night and I faded at about 4am with 8 pups in the box. After a short 30 min nap, I returned to count 9! She had one without my help! (Why did I think I need to be there?!?!) the last pup arrived at 07:30 am on Wednesday morning. All look well and weigh in between 310grams and 415 grams.
Three little boys were born to Abigail and Copper in the early morning of Monday 9 July 2012. There were no complications and all are well. Baby dogs have already gained weight and are looking good and healthy. Mom is well and happy.
We were woken at just after midnight to the growl of Abigail . Waking up to see what was happening, we found Abi had whelped her first baby and was warning off the other inquisitive adult dogs. We quickly moved mom and baby to the whelping room, which was already warmed, where she could have peace and quiet for the rest of the whelping. The other 2 puppies arrived at 00:28 and 01:45 respectively. We waited patiently until 06:00 for the rest to arrive, except there were no “rest”. That was it – three little boys. They weighed in at birth weights: 465 grams, 509 grams and 419 grams respectively.
By 15:30 the same day the three boys had gained weight, weighing in at 520 grams, 532 grams and 462 grams. They are already looking a little fatter and can swim their way around to find “mom”.
Happy Birth Day Triplets!
Abigail is making all the signs of getting ready to whelp. She started puffing and panting this morning and seems to be feeling quite hot as she took an early morning dip in the pond – poor babies in her belly got quite a rude wake up call. She is a also climbing in and out of her whelping box, scuffling up newspapers, towels and whelping mat to ‘make a nest’ for the newcomers. Her milk has come in and her teats are getting full. Only thing she hasn’t done is stop eating, but then this is Abigail who LOVES her food! She had breakfast this morning, but nothing since. So I expect puppies to arrive within the next 24 hours!
Abigail is in her last week of pregnancy and will soon be getting ready to whelp. She has become so clingy and follows me like a shadow. Her little belly is HUGE and she likes to lie in her whelping box, waiting for her babies to arrive. We have had to clear space in our “office” for the whelping box, as Jade and her puppies are in the Puppy Room. Abi has a brand new whelping mat and the heat light is already in place. Newspapers and towels are on standby, ready for the Big Day.
Typical lady, she does not want to be photographed in her “fat” state. So I had to sneak a picture of her while she was sleeping. (She caught me doing it!) I have already trimmed her lovely chestnut locks from around her teats in preparation for the little ones’ arrival, so that they don’t have to drink hair when they suckle.
Radley, her litter brother, is an excellent nurse-maid and loves puppies! He loves to sit in the whelping box with her waiting…..
It started at 9:30pm last night with lots of puffing, panting, grunting and groaning. Suddenly a little yelp and there was the first puppy! Jade took fright and ran off to her cushion leaving me literally holding the puppy (in a towel). She examined her tail to try to figure out what just happened while I took the little one through to the whelping box and proceeded to open the sack and rub the little chap to get him to breathe. Jade then joined me and took a look at what I was doing. Suddenly realisation dawned and I could literally see her think, “Hey that’s my puppy!” because she climbed into the box and started to lick him. Thereafter followed another 8 births over a period of 12.5 hours. There was a long break between 4am and 10am when the last puppy arrived. She (the last to arrive) was happy to stay inside for an extra 6 hours and was getting us quite concerned that she may be stuck. As we were about to go to the vet, Jade started contractions again and she popped out. All the pups are strong and healthy weighing in at around 500 grams each. They have all had several sucks of colostrum and are doing exceptionally well. So there is a total of 6 boys and 3 girls.
I just spent this afternoon trimming off all Jade’s beautiful long hair around her tail and belly. Tail end so the pups pop out without getting tangled (and it’s easier for her to keep that area clean) and belly so that the little ones can find the teats easily without sucking in a mouthful of hair.
I am also excited. I am so glad my husband is back so he can help be aware for any “noises in the night”. We will keep her in our bedroom at night based on past experiences. Our first bitch gave birth in her basket and ran. She got such a fright. It was the crying of the puppy that woke us. So we had to bring her back and show her that it was okay to have a puppy. By the third puppy, her instinct had kicked in and she was a natural mom. Chris meanwhile had to hunt all around the garden with a torch looking under every bush to see if she had dropped any other pups. So now we keep the mom close to us at night just before whelping.
I bought Jade a new whelping mat – kinda like a mock sheepskin, but machine washable, which we gave to her today to get used to.
As of today, Jade has become very “clingy” – won’t let me out of her sight. This is significant!
Watch this space.
More updates to follow as they happen……
Jade is now more than 8 weeks pregnant and has a fully little belly. She really is exceptionally well, having not gained any excessive weight. She has shown no signs of getting ready to whelp yet – eating two big meals a day. I suspect the pups will arrive closer to Thursday or Friday. I am watching her carefully for any signs of getting ready, e.g. making a “nest” where she starts scuffling and scratching her bed to make it ready for her babies. She will also stop eating closer to the time. That’s when I start taking her temperature and when it drops by one whole degree, we know the pups will come within 12 hours. So far she is still her usual self, although she finds she cannot run and jump like she did before. She still ‘talks’ whenever she sees me – typical Jade, which means she is perfectly fine.