The time of delivery is always delicate and it is common for us, as caretakers of a pregnant dog, to have doubts about how to handle it. Below we will explain all the points to keep in mind for it to be successful.
Informing us about gestation, childbirth or lactation will help us understand the maternal process of the bitch and detect any problem that should be brought to the attention of the veterinaryn. Ready @?
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Index of contents
- 1 The bitch in gestation
- 2 Preparing for delivery
- 3 The importance of stress
- 4 The phases of labor
- 5 Warning signs
- 6 Cesarean section
- 7 Does a bitch have to have puppies?
The bitch in gestation
The first thing we should know if we live with a dog that is waiting for puppies is that the gestational period in this species lasts an average of 63 days. This will help us prepare for delivery.
For it to be a success and end well for both the mother and the puppies it is very important that the dog during pregnancy receive adequate nutrition to your new nutritional requirements. A menu for puppies is suitable.
The bitch should be properly dewormed externally and internally and vaccinated. If this has not been possible, we must go to the vet to decide what actions can be carried out. It is also important for this professional to provide us with a follow-up to ensure that pregnancy is proceeding correctly.
Preparing for delivery
As the end of gestation approaches, we can perceive search behavior in the bitch. It is due to the nesting instinct, that is, the need to find a quiet place protected from predators, called nest, to bring the cubs to the world.
We can help you by providing you with a bed in a location outside of home traffic. A box with blankets or towels covered by soaks can be ideal. We will ensure that they are not too fluffy for avoid the risk of choking puppies.
In any case, we must know that it is possible that our dog rejects the option that we propose and even decides on places that seem inappropriate to us, such as the inside of a closet. In these cases we can try to change your mind, always without forcing it, or transfer it once you have given birth.
The importance of stress
In order for labor to begin and proceed normally, the dog’s body must secrete a series of hormones that initiate contractions. These hormones, among which oxytocin stands out, need the bitch be calm to flow and inhibit yourself in stressful situations.
So it is essential not to burden the bitch. Although childbirth and puppies attract the attention of adults and children, the well-being of the family must prevail. Thus, we will avoid manipulating the bitch and the litter, at least until the puppies begin to interact with the environment, around 3-4 weeks of age.
And, just as tranquility during labor is essential, for lactation it is also essential that the dog secrete oxytocin. This hormone encourages milk to escape. A stressed bitch, even if she has milk, will have a hard time breastfeeding.
- Symptoms of stress in dogs
The phases of labor
Shortly before delivery, it is usual to notice our restless dog. Stop eating and scratch the ground as if looking for something. They are signs that labor is approaching. It is time to make sure that the nest is prepared, that nothing disturbs the bitch and that we have the veterinary emergency phone number at hand, just in case.
Childbirth, which is usually at night, It begins with a phase of contractions that usually goes unnoticed. It is used to prepare the birth canal for the cubs to leave. When the contractions intensify we are already in the second phase. The bitch will gasp, we will notice that it is forceful and some may vomit.
From that moment on, the dog will be expelled and the puppies will begin to be born one by one. The third phase consists of the delivery of the placenta. The duration of delivery is variable. They can last up to 12 hours. Puppies are born at intervals of 15 minutes to 2 hours. The bitch cleans them, eats the placentas and cuts the umbilical cords.
The best help we can give a bitch when giving birth is to provide her with tranquility and comfort. But this does not imply that we ignore it. You have to check that everything runs smoothly.
If we see signs such as the following, it is essential to immediately contact the vet:
- The bitch makes obvious efforts for 30-60 minutes but does not stop.
- Purulent, greenish discharge or vaginal bleeding appear.
- We see that a puppy is stuck in the vulva.
- We suspect that a little one is still to be born.
- More than 63 days have passed and labor has not started.
- General weakness.
Some of the warning signs that we have described will end in cesarean section. In addition, in bitches of brachycephalic or very small breeds such as Chihuahuas, we must know that births are usually from this surgery.
The anatomical modifications that these specimens have undergone have made the puppies’ heads bigger than the birth canal, making natural births impossible. Veterinary monitoring in these cases is mandatory.
Does a bitch have to have puppies?
Lastly, although this idea is still circulating, bitches don’t have to have any litter to be happy, neither physically nor psychologically. Taking into account the high number of abandoned and mistreated animals, the sterilization of our dogs is part of a responsible tenure.