Detailed below is guidance for the care of your bitch following a mating with Blacheborne Stud, for guidance about when your bitch is ready for mating please contact us.
The estimated whelping date for your puppies will be 63 days from the date of first mating.
We have detailed below some basic information aimed to be a quick read. We would strongly recommend that if you need detailed advice that you consult your vet. This information is based on our experience.
If your bitch is fit and healthy there is no need to visit your vet before whelping, but it would perhaps assist to place a call to the vet to let them know that your bitch is having puppies.
Your vet will be able to confirm pregnancy by feeling between the 28th and 35th day. This is done by palpation. We are not great fans of this as the reality is the vet cannot say how many puppies you will have, and you will know within a couple of weeks anyway. After this time a scan can confirm, but again this is not fool proof…..and costs!
Never try to feel for yourself as any damage caused will make the embryos resorb.
For the first 3 weeks you can continue to treat your bitch as normal. It is doubtful that you will see any changes with your dog in size, condition or temperament.
Do not give any flea treatments during the pregnancy, and consult your vet in relation to any other medication, or boosters.
From Week 4
Start to limit exercise; daily lead walks morning and evening are great. It is best practice to keep your bitch fit and healthy without over doing it and avoiding rough and tumble play or work.
From week 4 you will also need to start increasing her food intake, we would suggest an increase of around 10 percent. This can be made up with other foods such as egg (in the shell, and no more than 1 every other day), cottage cheese (couple of table spoons), sardines in oil or tomato (Half a tin), vegetables including cabbage and broccoli.
She may begin to nap more, and appear more hungry than normal.
DO NOT OVERFEED. If you over feed her, you are overfeeding the puppies, and large chunky puppies will be harder to deliver.
From week 5
Increase food intake again. We also recommend that you switch to puppy food at this time as it is higher in protein.
Continue to mix various nutritious foods into her diet, but be mindful that if she starts to get diarrhoea that the cause must be cut out soonest.
You should now start to see changes in her size and shape.
Worming should start from day 40. This will be daily now until 3 days after whelping. We use Panacur liquid which is suitable for use on pregnant bitches.
Nipples may start to grow, and become a darker red colour.
From week 6
Again increase food intake.
By now there should be some noticeable size change, especially when she lies on her side. When viewed from the rear she may start to look a little pear shaped.
From week 7
This is where the real changes will begin. Keep up the exercise despite her growing size, but nothing strenuous, and ensure no jumping.
Food to be increased
Ensure that she is now sleeping in her whelping box.
From week 8
Start to confine her to her whelping area. She may start to follow you around, or try to get on your bed or settee. Be careful as she may decide this is the area she wants to have her pups. Spend time with her in the whelping area so she does not get anxious when alone.
STOP FEEDING EGGS & COTTAGE CHEESE. Use your puppy food, but split this over various small meals throughout the day.
Feeding should now be about 50% more than before mating.
Zoey at 8 weeks.
The exciting week !
Start taking her temperature twice daily, morning and evening. Keep a record as this will give you an early indication of when she is about to whelp. Her temperature will drop 12-24 hours before as her body prepares itself.
She may start to go off her food.
You may (or not) see milk start to appear in her teats.
You may be able to feel the puppies moving in her abdomen when your place your hand gently on her.
Feeding should now be about 60% more than before mating.
For your bitch this is the most natural thing in the world. She may appear distressed, or scared at first, but most bitches will just carry on like they have read the manual.
Try to remain calm and steady your bitch. You are there for support IF NEEDED she will do all the work, and you should allow her to do so.
Before the date read all you can on the internet, watch videos on youtube, and read the suggested books. Keep them on hand for reference as the whelping begins.
Make sure you are comfortable; you may be in for a long wait.
All our puppies are born inside. In the room we have the whelping box, and then move in a settee, stereo, laptop and everything to pass the time in between pups arriving.
Whelping box – We like to use a cardboard box that can be thrown away with all the mess after the birth and replaced with a fresh one. After a couple of days that can be thrown, and then put your bitch and puppies in your puppy bed or pen. Cut the box quite high on the sides, and low at the front, then place a sheet over it to make a really dark ‘den’.
Vet Bedding – Expensive but worth its weight in gold, it soaks away any wetness to the bottom and keeps the puppies dry.
Heat Source – Your puppies cannot regulate their body temperature, and need to be kept quite warm (But not overheated) They also need to be able to ‘escape’ the heat. We use an oil filled radiator next to the bed in the house, and then ‘pig’ lamps when they go outside. Heatpads are also good for the bed, but ensure there is a cool area.
Towels – Small hand towels or flannels for rubbing each pup as they come. Cheap ones from Asda are ideal.
Whelpi – If mum will not feed you will have to do it, so you need a supply of whelpi at hand, as well as a bottle, sterilisers etc.
Cleaning fluid – There will be plenty of mess, ensure that you get spray and fluid for mopping that is designed for dogs. We use ‘Clean N Safe’ spray for cleaning the area.
ID bands – So you can ID each puppy as they come out. This will be important for your records.
Scissors – For cutting cord if mum does not.
Iodene – For sterilising scissors.
Scales – Each puppy will need weighing when it comes and then daily so you can see it thrive.
Book or diary – To record the information as the puppies are born, make sure you have a pen handy.
Torch – If your bitch starts whelping at night then you will need to take her outside at times. ALWAYS make sure she is on the lead and keep your torch on her to make sure she doesn’t drop a pup on the garden. Our last litter had two of the puppies born outside when she went out for a wee.
Hot water bottle – Covered for putting puppies on as your bitch delivers the others.
Towels – To use as bedding before vet bed
Plastic syringe – Useful for pulling any liquid out of a puppies mouth after they are born if there are problems.
Dopram – Medical product that was designed to start the breathing in a premature baby. Used on a puppy that doesn’t start to breath. (Discuss this with us)
This list is not exhaustive, but is our minimum requirement. You can add to it when you read the books, and speak to other people. Our suggestion is that you are ready, and organised. Know where everything is….have it laid out ready for a week before.
We hope you have found this guide of some use. If you need any further information or advice then please contact us as we are always happy to help.