My ladies like delivering pups in Veri-Kennel crates. While they are nesting, I detach the top section and remove the door. When they start birthing pups, I take the top off for easier access and viewing. The girls seem to like pressing against the edges of the box while undergoing contractions.
I use precut pieces of dental floss to tie off the cord after clamping it using hemostats.
Mom and pups are in my bedroom for the first three weeks in a 3 × 3 raised floor puppy kennel. For heat, I discovered (thanks to my Afghan Hound buddies) a great heat source called a “SweeterHeater” that lies over the top of the 3 × 3 kennels. The heater produces a gentle, even heat, and the heating surface is warm but not hot enough to burn when touched. The bottom of the enclosure may be raised or lowered depending on how much heat is required to keep Mom and pups comfortable.
During weeks 1 and 2, Mom and pups are most comfortable in the crate bottom and put in the 3 x 3 pen. A strong fleece cloth trimmed to fit covers the crate bottom and elevated wire floor. Mom and pups are never in a wet area since the fleece wicks moisture away from the surface.
Another advantage of putting the cage within the enclosure is that Mom may take a break from the pups while being close by.
What Do I Need to Whelp a Litter of Puppies?
I’ve used three whelping carts throughout my years of working with litters. One was borrowed and extremely tiny; the second was purchased and was stylish but bigger than required, and this is my third and much liked. For whelping and the first three weeks of puppy care, ANY durable container with bedding will work.
However, most breeders get a ‘box,’ and here is mine. It has a really distinct characteristic. The ‘pig rails’ (such a name!) that keep the dam from reclining on a side and crushing a pup between her and the side (and which, admittedly, TT dams don’t actually NEED!) are an intriguing and helpful design. Because their slats are installed vertically,’ fastened at intervals to the sidewalls, a trapped pup may readily be SPOTTED and REACHED DOWN beneath the dam to be retrieved. It’s quite handy. Tiny puppies prefer to curl up behind their mommy, but with these rails, I can keep track of their locations and take out a misplaced pup without disturbing the napping mom.
Here are some items you will need for your whelping cart:
- Sterile Scissors
- Trash bags
- Newspaper or incontinence pads – Use incontinence pads instead of newspaper or towels in your whelping box. They absorb much more liquids. The washable type is frequently available secondhand from nursing homes. The large size is somewhat larger than a bath towel. They will outlast several litters. If you don’t want to wash your dishes, you may purchase disposable ones, which are more costly.
- Clean bedding for the whelping box when whelping is complete
- Comfortable chair with TV and DVDs
- Coffee Pot
- Telephone with Vet contact info
- Notebook to record time of birth, sex and birth weight
- Baby scale
- Hairdryer – The hairdryer dries them so they don’t develop a cold and swiftly circulates their blood, allowing them to become more active and feed straight away.
- Nutrical aids – The nutrical aids those who are a little lethargic and/or smaller and need immediate nursing.
- Pedialyte – non-flavored to get the mothers electrolytes and energy where they should be prior to whelp
- A SMALL BIN/Box to set near the whelping box, into which to put pups when Mom is delivering another and may be restive… I have a pleasing-shaped rectangular one bought at Walmart with holes in the removable top so that it can also be used to transport pups to the vet for dew claws…
- A HEATING PAD of appropriate size to fit inside the puppy warm box… (many whelping locales are NOT in warm climates!) An adjustable dial is helpful. This is also useful on the Dew Claw trip, since one can transport pups therein and simply plug it in at the vets, and the pups don’t need to ‘touch’ much there, other than the vet’s hands and a sterile cover on the examining table.
- A HEAT LAMP for over the whelping box. I’ve found the CERAMIC style is best, perhaps procured in the reptile dept. of a pet store. It should be arranged in an adjustable manner, will likely come with a protective guard around the ceramic ‘bulb’, and doesn’t radiate heat beyond the area below it, better for the dam who can place her head and upper body out of its range.
- A pad of some sort for KNEELING humans during the long whelping hours, and subsequent care. Perhaps a patio chair pad that can be stretched conveniently on the floor.
- Water bowl for the dam… maybe a second one for chicken broth… (she likely won’t take any liquid till whelping is finished)
- Camera! or Video camera – New puppy announcements…I make my own and every litter is different.
- “Rescue Remedy'” or brandy or other stimulants to help revive a sagging newborn…
- A large supply of SMALL wipe-down TOWELS — one goes through an astonishing number rubbing down newborns.
- Bottle of PEDIOLYTE or other brands. One can add some to the dam’s water and sometimes syringe a little into a pup’s mouth to help sustain a small or weak one. The vet may tell you to use this, so have some on hand.
- Have a WEIGHT CHART all prepared in advance on which to enter the progressing weights. In the beginning, you’ll be weighing pups at least twice a day maybe more often…
- If all pups look virtually identical (my specialty became blacks with small white markings on chests) you might want to make them little RICKRACK necklaces in varying colors. It ties tightly because of the zigzag design, they never noticed it nor did the dam. Every week I would replace it with a longer one.
- NAIL CUTTING snippers for the pups. I obtain a Gerber’s Baby nail clipper from the baby dept in pharmacies, and some people find a kitty tool. This is a burdensome task, done frequently!
- ABSOLUTELY NATURAL ‘GROOMING AID’ is a product I highly recommend… it works a bit like a no-rinse shampoo, smells great, and helps hugely. Spray her rear end liberally, and wipe the area with a towel…. not as good as a wash/bath, but will take care of business in that first week or ten days when you cannot remove her from pups long enough for proper cleanup. (and by the way, I don’t cut down my girlies before they whelp a litter, except for trimming around nipples… I strive to keep coats and develop a few strategies to do so while they are in the whelping box nursing… it’s not difficult.)
- Suction bulb for fluid in the lungsIodine for the navel
- Clock for the time of birth & between births
- Esbilac is good for mom between babes
- Mineral oil is good to have around for when babies start to have solid stools they can get constipated
- Vet wrap – I always wrap my bitches tails with vet wrap when they are whelping. It really helps keep them cleaner. Just be careful not to use red vet wrap on a white dog. The results are, well… interesting!
Re. cleaning up the dam after whelping. Sometimes her rear quarters are really a mess. Not much you can do initially since she ONLY wants to be with those pups who need her to an equal degree.
But over the next few days — when dreaded diarrhea may strike, possibly repeatedly — you will WISH to clean her up, but what to do? You can’t keep her away from pups for long, she’ll get frantic…you can’t bathe her which would require drying or pups chilled since she would never submit calmly to such prolonged fussing… so…
How to Raise a Litter of Puppies?
I introduce young pups to water bottles by having them accessible from the moment they are old enough to walk. The pups seem to like the lixit bottles. This gives clean water without the mess caused by pups playing in it. My TTs typically prefer water from a bottle since it remains colder and cleaner as they grow. As they get older, the size of the lixit increases to provide them easy access to more water.
When the pups are 8 weeks old, I start putting them in separate crates. Despite the fact that I don’t get much sleep for a few nights as they acclimate, it has proved to be incredibly useful. It promotes independence, reduces reliance on their littermates, and makes the transfer to their new homes much simpler. As a consequence, I receive more remarks on how comfortable my pups are and how they sleep well in their new homes. New owners say they hope every puppy they had would respond as well to the training I offered. Despite the fact that they were separated to begin training at 8 weeks of age, I still offer tons of play time with their litter mates as well as continuing one on one time with me at least twice daily in an attempt to improve their socialization and ties with other dogs and people.
I use a Dry-Erase Board when we are whelping a litter. One of my jobs is to document every birth on the Dry Erase Board. For any puppy that becomes part of our family, they each have their own Dry-Erase Board hanging up in the puppy room and I write in dates for baths, shots, heartworm, any medicines, feeding schedule, and anything else important about each TT that someone who puppy- sat would need to know. Plus, I never forget who had their bath when and if it is time because my Mom insists they all get bathed and done out every week!! I will send photos of these!