16 Useful Clues To Understand Your Dog Better
How to Make Sure That Your Dog Is Ok After Giving Birth
The best way to make sure that your dog is okay after giving birth is to learn more about what typical canine whelping is like. Remember, dogs have been giving birth for thousands of years. It is a natural process, but there are things you can do to help. A vet check up is strongly advised after whelping so that you can be sure she has birthed all the puppies.
Providing Care Immediately After Birth
Clean your dog with a warm, damp cloth.Make sure she's clean of any trace of blood, placental fluid, or fecal matter. Good hygiene reduces the risk of bacterial infection following birth.
- You may see leaking fluids, calledlochia, for several weeks after giving birth. These fluids are natural and normal, resulting from the shedding of your dog's uterine lining. Healthy lochia should be odorless, and may range in color from greenish-brown to blood-red.
- If your dog hasn't licked her pups clean within a few minutes of birth, you should wipe the puppies' face and nostrils with a damp, clean cloth to remove the placental sac. Give the pup back to its mother immediately.
- If your dog appears uninterested in cleaning her new pups, you may need to rub them with a clean cloth to stimulate breathing.
Remove all soiled bedding from whelping area.You may want to take your dog outside for a pee and/or poop while another person replaces bedding with clean, dry cloths.
- Continue to replace soiled bedding regularly, ensuring that the area remains clean.
- Keep a stash of clean bedding near your whelping box for easy access.
Allow your dog to rest.Your dog may sleep for several hours following the birth, while her pups nurse or sleep. When she wakes, she should appear alert and interested in her new puppies.
- If your dog doesn't appear interested in her new pups, this may be a sign of infection.Check her for other signs of distress, such as whining, dilated eyes, or foul-smelling discharge. If these are present, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Though your dog may sleep more than usual, you should be attentive to any signs of discomfort or restlessness.
Make sure that your dog has access to plenty of fluids during and immediately following the whelping process.
- If your dog doesn't want to drink water, try offering her chicken broth.
Knowing What to Look for in a Post-Partum Dog
Monitor your dog's health carefully for the first weeks after giving birth.Although she may sleep more than usual, when she's awake she should appear bright-eyed. Your dog should have a good appetite.
- Feed your dog several meals a day, rather than one or two larger ones. You can increase her food intake several weeks prior to the birth, and continue for several weeks following birth. It's not unusual for a nursing dog to consume 3-4 times her regular amount of food.
- Many veterinarians encourage feeding puppy food to your dog during this time for its higher caloric value. This may need to be introduced gradually with your dog's regular food for best results.
- Include special treats to whet your dog's appetite. Consider offering cottage cheese, eggs, liver or other nutrition-packed delicacies.
- Make sure your dog always has easy access to fresh water. Add chicken broth to your dog's dry kibble to help supplement your dog's liquid intake.
Look for signs of infection.Your dog may have a slightly elevated temperature in the first 24-48 hours following birth. A rise in temperature is normal, and should not be accompanied by signs of illness.
- Signs of infection in dogs include: restlessness, disinterest in puppies, foul-smelling discharge.If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Check your dog's mammary glands twice per day for signs of healthy nursing glands.Normal nursing glands, or nipples, should be soft and enlarged from milk production. If the glands are hard or red, this may indicate presence of infection.
- If your dog appears to be avoiding nursing her pups, check her mammary glands for signs of infection. Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the nursing glands, and easily treated with antibiotics. Contact your veterinarian for assistance.
- You can easily check your dog's nursing glands by squeezing them. If your dog reacts with pain to your touch, or if you notice that the nipple is hard and/or hot to the touch, this is likely an indication of infection.
- Your dog's milk should be white and smooth, with no signs of clotting. Signs of mastitis include coloration of the milk (usually pinkish or yellow)
Look for signs of metritis during the first 24-48 hours following birth.Metritis is inflammation of the uterus, and may be a result of an undelivered placenta or an experience of trauma during delivery.
- Signs of metritis include: fever, foul-smelling discharge, loss of appetite or decreased interest in puppies.
- If you notice signs of metritis, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
Look for signs of eclampsia during the first few weeks following birth.Eclampsia ("milk fever") is a result of depleted calcium, and can result in muscle spasms, seizures and death.
- Signs of eclampsia include: restlessness, muscle tremors, and weakness.
- If you notice signs of eclampsia, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
Helping Your Dog Care for Her New Puppies
Watch closely to ensure that your dog is attentive to her new pups.For the first week, she will spend most of her time with them. A healthy dog will be interested in her puppies, and happy to have them nurse.
- Ensure the puppies have a clean, safe place to nurse. Make sure bedding is clean and dry. Move the whelping box out of high traffic areas.
- Keep the whelping box warm. Ideally, the temperature should be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the puppies' first week. If your home is warmer than that, bring in a fan to keep the puppies cool. In cooler weather, bring a heating unit nearby to make sure the new pups are kept warm.
- Clip the puppies' nails to prevent them from scratching their mother.
Assist in the weaning process.Within the third week, puppies will start to be able to lap liquids. When this occurs, they can start to be weaned. Offer milk replacement for one meal per day. This will help teach them to "lap" liquids, as well as supplementing their nutritional intake. After two days of this, begin to mix milk replacement together with puppy food to create a very mushy meal.
- Continue to gradually increase the amount of solid food over time. The texture of the food should go from soup to Cream-of-Wheat to oatmeal within about a week's time.
- Puppies will continue to nurse as they are weaned. By week 6, they should be offered soft, moist food as well as puppy kibble. Puppies should be completely weaned by week 8.
Offer stimulating toys.Puppies will be increasingly aware of their surroundings beginning in the third week. They will start to develop teeth, and the need to chew. You can help them by providing toys to focus their attention, and stimulate their play skills.
- Start to accustom the puppies to the sounds of everyday life. Bring in new people, one at a time, to play with the pups. Turn on your household radio near the puppies for 5 minutes at a time.
QuestionWhat is milk replacer?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerMilk replacer, also known a dog milk replacer, is a powdered formula that, when reconstituted with water, is the same as the dog mother's milk. Therefore, it can "replace" a canine mother's milk if she isn't feeding the puppies properly.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog is experiencing diarrhea after giving birth, and the poop is dark green. Is this normal?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerMany female dogs eat the placenta and afterbirth, which can upset their stomachs and produce green poop. Make sure she is otherwise well (eating, drinking, wagging, and feeding the puppies), and offer her bland foods such as chicken and rice for a few days. If there is blood in the diarrhea, she seems out of sorts, or isn't eating or drinking, then get her checked right away.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog is restless, panting, and drinking a lot. She didn't react like this the first time she gave birth. Is this normal?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerNo, this isn't normal. There could be a number of explanations, including a puppy still stuck in the womb, an infection, or low blood calcium levels. It is best to get your dog checked by a veterinarian immediately.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog has not urinated for 24 hours after giving birth. Should I be worried?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerIt's possible she doesn't need to urinate, especially if she stopped drinking while giving birth. However, many new mothers are reluctant to leave their newborns and therefore will "hold it." Try putting a puppy pad near the litter, so that the mother can use it while staying within earshot of her babies.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog is bleeding excessively in between births. Is she okay?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerSome discharge is expected in between each puppy, but this is normally a watery, reddy-brown color. If the discharge is the bright red of fresh blood, then contact the vet immediately. She may be hemorrhaging from one of the bands where a puppy's placenta was attached to the womb wall.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal for a female to be lethargic and have a dry nose after giving birth? She is taking good care of the puppies.
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThe female dog's behavior will change now she is a mother, as her attention is focused on protecting and nurturing her pups. Most female dogs refuse to leave newborn puppies, and this can include refusing to move to get food, water, or go to the toilet. Therefore, make sure she has food and water close, and that she drinks. If she seems very tired, take her temperature and then phone your vet to discuss if she needs to be seen.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog gave birth last night and is eating well, and the pups are feeding well, but mom isn't drinking water. Should I be worried?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry giving her chicken broth instead, and put it closer to the den. Sometimes, she just wants to stay with the puppies.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I tell if she has stillborn puppies still inside of her?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is best to have a veterinarian determine if you dog is done with the puppies. Dogs should expel stillborns like regular pups, but in some cases may not clear the afterbirth and could retain a pup. Any concerns of this kind should be treated by the vet.Thanks!
QuestionIs it normal for my dog to be having diarrhea with blood after giving birth?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe ingestion of placenta may cause the new mom to have diarrhea. Stress may also be a contributing factor. However, the soft stools should subside after a few days. About one to two teaspoonfuls of pure plain canned pumpkin, not the pie mix, can help firm up the stools.Thanks!
QuestionHow long after a dog has given birth can they have a bath?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can give your dog a bath usually after a few hours. Make sure that you clean your dog's area right after birth to prevent infections.Thanks!
Its been a week since my dog gave birth and she is still bleeding. Is that something to worry about?
I have a German shepherd female how do I know if it is pregnant
Should I worry if my dog has not had a bowl movement for 3 days after birth?
My dog gave birth one week ago, but now is not drinking much water. What should I do?
My dog is losing hair after giving birth 2 weeks ago, is that normal? What vitamins can I give her?
- Signs of discomfort or infection in dogs include: restlessness, disinterest in puppies, foul-smelling discharge, dilated eyes. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- If you have questions or concerns, contact your local veterinarian.
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