General Whelping Whelping Accessories Whelping Boxes Whelping Kits

The Whelping Process

What is the process of whelping?

How to prepare dogs for whelping

  1. Due date
  2. Vet care

Whelping box

What does the typical whelping process look like?

What are Stages of birth?

  1. Preparing for birth
  2. Giving birth
  3. After labor

What are the Problems during whelping?

  1. General illness
  2. Straining but no pup
  3. Green discharge
  4. Bleeding
  5. Exhaustion
  6. Puppy Stuck
  7. Sac problems
  8. Umbilical cord problems
  9. No puppies

What are Signs of pregnancy in dogs?

How will my vet know if my dog is pregnant?

  1. Examining
  2. Ultrasonography
  3. A test of blood

How can you Care of your pregnant dog?

  1. Feeding
  2. Exercise
  3. Worming

What are Problems after pregnancy?

  1. Problems with the breasts
  2. Metritis (infection of the womb)
  3. Eclampsia (hypocalcaemia)
  4. Problems related to behavior and motherhood

What is treatment for dogs who have dystocia?

  1. Monitoring
  2. X-rays or some kind of scan
  3. Medication
  4. Assisted delivery
  5. Caesarean

Where do you begin to look for indications that something is wrong?

The Whelping Process

What is the process of whelping?

Whelping is the term used to describe the process by which a dog gives birth to her litter of puppies. The vast majority of dogs are completely capable of giving birth to their puppies without any assistance. However, you should keep a close eye on your dog while she is in the later stages of her pregnancy and while she is giving birth. If you have a good understanding of what is typical for a dog while it is in labor, you will be able to recognize warning signs of potential complications earlier.


Preparing dog for whelping

Before your dog gives birth, you should begin preparing for the whelping process. Additionally, vaguely remember the following:

  1. Due date

You should be aware of your dog’s estimated due date so you can adequately prepare and monitor her throughout her pregnancy. On average, dogs give birth after 63 days (but this can range from 57-71 days).

  1. Vet care

Immediately upon suspecting that your dog may be pregnant, if you have not already done so, register her with a veterinarian. They will be able to tell you when she becomes pregnant and when she will give birth. In case of an emergency, keep your vet’s daytime and after-hours phone number on your phone.

Whelping box

As soon as possible out that your dog is going to have puppies, you need to get everything ready, including a box for her to give birth in. Either you can get a box that has already been made for you, or you can make one yourself (a large rigid cardboard box will often do). It is imperative that the container be:

  • Warm and comfortable and inviting.
  • In a calm, secluded area that is kept at an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius.
  • A bedding lining that is hygienic, washable in the machine, and absorbent (towels are perfect).
  • Capable of accommodating your pet’s ability to move freely and stretch out while inside.
  • Your dog should be able to walk over it without difficulty, but it should be high enough to prevent any newborn puppies from escaping.
  • Outfitted on the inside with rails or obstacles to prevent the puppies from being pressed up against the walls of the cardboard box.

What does the typical whelping process look like?

In most cases, the pregnant woman will be aware of the upcoming onset of labor; however, there are situations in which she may be misremembering, particularly if she is an extremely young woman. She will become restless two to four days before she gives birth, and she will look for a quiet place to give birth. If you have properly prepared the area and introduced her to it, this should be the location where she gives birth to her puppies. Because her core temperature will drop by a significant amount in the last twenty-four hours before she gives birth, it is generally a good idea to check it several times throughout the day in order to get a “heads up.”

What are Stages of birth?

After that, she will travel off to the location of her choosing to start constructing a nest and having babies there. The bitch goes through three stages:

Stage 1: Preparing for birth

Stage 2: Giving birth

Stage 3: After labor

Stage 1: Preparing for birth

As the time grows closer for your dog to give birth, her birth canal will begin to relax and widen, and her puppies will rotate and position themselves in the correct position. Whelping preparation usually takes between six and twelve hours, but it can take as long as thirty-six (especially for a first time mum, or a nervous dog). At this point, you should be able to observe the following behaviours in your dog and get your whelping kit ready:

  • Becoming agitated
  • Keeping Panting hidden
  • Eating less (contact your vet if you are concerned or she vomits a lot)
  • Digging, pacing, and circling her whelping box are all examples of “nesting.”
  • Faint cramping accompanied by a trace amount of blood or mucus that is either red or brown, coming from her vulva (but not straining)

Your dog should start to relax right before she begins labor, preferably in the whelping box that you have prepared for her.

Stage 2: Giving birth

When your dog is ready to have her puppies, she will start having strong contractions and have the urge to move around.

  • Most of the time, the first puppy takes the longest to be born. If the contractions are weak, it could take two to four hours, but if they are strong, it should only take 20 to 30 minutes.
  • There will be time between each puppy, which could be anywhere from five minutes to an hour. This is a normal amount of time between puppies, as long as your dog is calm and not working too hard.
  • If your dog has ever struggled and had painful contractions for 20 to 30 minutes without moving forward or giving birth, you should call your vet right away.
  • Even though most pups come out with their heads first, some do not.
  • Puppies are born in a small sac that their mother will open so they can breathe.
  • After giving birth to a puppy, your dog should pass an afterbirth (called a placenta), which they often eat. The placenta is the organ that gives the puppy oxygen and food while it is still in the womb. Even though a placenta should form about 15 minutes after each new puppy, they usually don’t (i.e. a few pups may be born before their placentas are passed). If not all of the placentas are passed, a condition called “merits” may show up in the weeks after the pups are born. If your dog has a big litter, don’t let her eat too many placentas because that could make her throw up and have diarrhea.
  • Your dog should be calm and at ease, licking her puppies until her contractions start up again.
  • During childbirth, your dog’s vulva will most likely leak some clear or red fluid. But there isn’t usually that much blood.
  • You might see a small amount of green discharge after a puppy is born, but a lot of green discharge without a puppy could be a problem.

Most of the time, your dog will not need help during labor. It’s important to keep an eye on her, but its best not to check on her or try to help her give birth, because too much interference can cause problems after the baby is born. If you are worried that your dog is having trouble giving birth, you should call your veterinarian.


Stage 3: After labor

  • Depending on how long the contractions and straining have been going on, it can take anywhere from three to twelve hours to deliver the entire litter. Even though the exact timing can vary, most dogs have their entire litter within the span of six hours.
  • Never allow the procedure to last longer than twenty-four hours; if it does, there is a very significant risk that something will go wrong.
  • After she has finished giving birth to all of her puppies, your dog will most likely be very tired and hungry at the same time. As she will need to eat, relax, connect with, and feed her puppies, you should make sure that they are in an area that is quiet, comfortable, and where they won’t be bothered by anyone else.
  • If your dog isn’t calm and at ease after giving birth, there is a possibility that she will reject her puppies and refuse to nurse them.

What are the Problems during whelping?

Most dogs can give birth on their own, but sometimes there are problems, which vets call dystocia (difficulty giving birth). French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, and Pugs have flat faces more than most other dog breeds. Get help from your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

New born puppies

  1. General illness

If your dog shows signs of being sick or just does not seem like herself before, during, or after giving birth.

  1. Straining but no pup

If your dog has been trying to mate for 20 to 30 minutes but hasn’t been able to, you should go to the vet right away.

  1. Green discharge

If you don’t see a puppy, a green leak from your dog’s vulva could mean that the puppy is in pain (for example, if their blood and oxygen supply is failing).

  1. Bleeding

During a whelping, you may see some fluid and red discharge, but anything more than a few drops of blood is abnormal and needs to be checked out by your vet right away.

  1. Exhaustion

If your dog’s labor goes on for a long time or if she is an older dog with less energy to start with, she may get tired, stop trying, and need help from your vet.

  1. Puppy Stuck

Puppies that are big, don’t look right, or are born backwards can sometimes get stuck in the pelvis, either partially or completely. If your dog has a puppy stuck inside of her, call your vet right away. Do not try to take the puppy away or even touch it without specific advice and instructions from your vet.

  1. Sac problems

Some dogs need help getting the birth sac off their puppies (especially first time mothers). Give your dog a chance to get rid of it on her own, but if she can’t do it soon after giving birth to the puppy, you may need to help her. Just rip a hole in the sac to free the puppy’s head and let them breathe. Don’t use scissors; instead, use your fingers to rip a hole. If you are having trouble, you should call your vet right away.

  1. Umbilical cord problems

Dogs usually chew through their umbilical cords, which connect them to their mother’s placenta, as soon as they are born. You don’t have to get rid of them right away, but if you put it off too long, they could make you sick or cause other problems. If some of your puppies still have their umbilical cords attached a few hours after they were born, you might have to tie and cut them off by hand. You may also want to tie up any loose wires (often caused by the mother overenthusiastically nibbling them). Call your vet to find out how to tie a knot and cut an umbilical cord. If you do it wrong, the dog could get an infection or be hurt.

  1. No puppies

Ask your vet for help if your dog is pregnant but hasn’t shown any signs of labor a few days after it should have started (usually 70–72 days after the two of them mated).

  1. Fading or unwell puppies

Call your vet right away if any of your dog’s puppies stop breathing, can’t move or eat, or show other signs of illness.

What are Signs of pregnancy in dogs?

  • The time a dog is pregnant is about 63 days, or 9 weeks, but it can be anywhere from 56 to 72 days.
  • In the early stages of pregnancy, your dog isn’t likely to show many signs other than bigger or pinker nipples and a swollen vulva (private parts). However, as her pregnancy goes on, you will start to see more obvious signs, such as: Putting on weight and getting a solid, round stomach that starts to sag.
  • Having a bigger appetite, especially in the second half of the pregnancy. The mammary glands and milk coming in (from the 5th week)
  • Low strength
  • Behavior changes include nesting, being quieter than usual, and sometimes being mean (especially around the time of whelping)

How will my vet know if my dog is pregnant?

There are a few ways to tell if your dog is pregnant or not:

  1. Examining

If your dog is three to five weeks pregnant, your vet may be able to feel for puppies through your dog’s stomach (belly). However, this isn’t the most reliable way to tell if you’re pregnant, and it can be hard.

  1. Ultrasonography

Your vet will be able to use an ultrasound on your dog about 25 days after they have been together.

  1. A test of blood

Your vet can do blood tests around 25 days after mating to see if your pet is pregnant.

 How can you Care of your pregnant dog?

  1. Feeding

Your pregnant dog will experience a significant increase in appetite; by the time her pregnancy is over, it is likely that she will be eating anywhere from two to three times as much as she normally does! You are required to feed her high-quality puppy chow or food that is specifically formulated for canines that are breastfeeding or pregnant. Your dog will be able to receive all of the essential nutrients if she is fed the appropriate diet, and she will have a lower chance of developing conditions such as pregnancy toxemia and hypocalcaemia/eclampsia. It is best to feed your pregnant dog a series of small meals throughout the day rather than one large meal because her womb will be pressing on her stomach, making it difficult for her to consume a lot of food at once.

  1. Exercise

It is extremely important to maintain your dog’s health throughout her pregnancy; however, as the due date draws closer, she won’t require or want as much exercise as she normally would. Give your dog the freedom to choose how much she wants to accomplish, particularly in the later stages of her pregnancy, and give her permission to take a break whenever she shows signs of being tired.

  1. Worming

When your dog is pregnant, she will need to undergo deworming treatments on a more regular basis so that she does not pass worms on to her puppies. Always seek guidance from the office of your veterinarian, as this is necessary because not all workers are considered safe for use during pregnancy.

What are Problems after pregnancy?

After your dog has given birth, there are a few things that you will need to keep an eye out for, including the following:

  1. Problems with the breasts

It is important to perform routine checks on your dog’s mammary glands to ensure that she is producing an adequate amount of milk to sustain her puppies and that she is not suffering from any conditions, such as mastitis (a painful infection of the mammary glands). Immediately seek the assistance of your veterinarian if you observe any of the following warning signs:

  • Milk not being available
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Milk with a hue that is not normal
  1. Metritis (infection of the womb)

Metritis is the common name for this uterine infection. Dogs that have trouble giving birth, who still have puppies or placentas in the uterus after giving birth, or who have puppies or placentas still inside the uterus are most likely to be affected by this uncommon but significant issue (very rare in dogs). Metritis often manifests with symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, increased body temperature, offensive-smelling vaginal discharge, and a reduction for milk produced. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your local veterinarian as soon as possible for advice. It’s possible that your dog will have some vaginal discharge for up to six weeks after giving birth; however, the discharge shouldn’t have a smell, and she shouldn’t show any other signs of illness during that time.

  1. Eclampsia (hypocalcaemia)

Eclampsia is a potentially fatal illness that is brought on by low calcium levels. Other names for this condition include puerperal tetany and hypocalcaemia. It most frequently manifests itself during the last few weeks of pregnancy or during the first few weeks after delivery. The breeds most likely to be affected by this condition are those that are small, have large litter sizes, did not receive adequate nutrition during their pregnancies, and produce a large quantity of milk. It may come as a surprise to learn that dogs who took calcium supplements during their pregnancies are also more likely to develop eclampsia, but the reason for this is that the body becomes dependent on calcium supplements and is unable to use its own calcium when it is required. A number of symptoms, including drooling, stiffness, weakness, unusual behavior, twitching of the muscles, spasms, and finally seizures, characterizes eclampsia.

  1. Problems related to behavior and motherhood

A caesarean section, a difficult delivery, or a lot of assistance from the dog’s owner or veterinarian are all factors that can make it more challenging for some dogs to adjust to their new role as mothers. However, the vast majority of dogs are able to take on this role without any problems at all. You should prepare a whelping box for your dog well in advance of the time she is due, and you should make sure that it is situated in a warm, quiet, and peaceful area that is away from the crowded areas of your home in order to reduce the likelihood of a problem occurring. During the time that your dog is in labor, you should keep a close eye on her and assist her only if it is necessary. Call your dog’s veterinarian as soon as possible if you have any concerns about her health at any time during her pregnancy or while she is in the process of giving birth to her puppies.

What is treatment for dogs who have dystocia?

If your dog is having trouble giving birth, you should get in touch with your veterinarian as soon as you possibly can, and you should try to provide as much information as you can about both her and the pregnancy. It’s possible that your dog needs the following things:

  1. Monitoring

Your pet can remain at the animal hospital under the care of the veterinarian so that he or she can monitor the situation and see what unfolds. Your veterinarian will check on her frequently and will administer additional treatment if it’s necessary.

  1. X-rays or some kind of scan

Examining the puppies while they are still in the womb with scans and x-rays can help determine whether there are any problems.

  1. Medication

If your dog is having difficulty giving birth, the veterinarian who is caring for her may decide to administer oxytocin, a medication that stimulates the uterus to contract more forcefully. Oxytocin is not always necessary and, if administered incorrectly, can result in extreme pain and ripping of the womb. Before administering this, however, it is essential that your veterinarian examine your dog in order to determine whether it should receive this treatment.

  1. Assisted delivery

If your dog is having trouble passing the puppy, your veterinarian may be able to gently assist with the delivery of the puppy. If the puppy is too large or malformed to pass through the pelvis, your dog might require a caesarean section to have it delivered. Never separate a puppy from its mother without first consulting a qualified veterinarian; doing so puts both the mother dog and the new puppy in grave danger.

  1. Caesarean

During a caesarean section procedure, a general anesthetic is administered so that the womb can be opened and the puppies can be extracted.

Where do you begin to look for indications that something is wrong?

In most cases, you should contact us as soon as possible if the bitch.

  • Strains that have not given birth to any puppies in more than an hour Two hours after the last pup was born, she fails to produce another; two days after her fever plummeted, she still has not given birth to any puppies.
  • Strong contractions that occur irregularly are being experienced by.
  • Gives the impression of being worn out or depressed.
General Whelping Whelping Kits

Whelping Kits

If you are breeding a litter this year, whether it is your first or you are a breeder, you will want to be prepared for the birth of the pups! Investing in a range of products and accessories that you may need to rely upon around the time of whelping can save time and panic when the time comes for your bitch to give birth. Whether you are dog lover, kennel owner, breeder or work in a veterinary practice – having the right supplies is essential for a smooth arrival of the puppies or kittens. 

A professional Whelping kit from Petnap can help save time and will ensure you have to hand every item you could need in the event that something does not go to plan. By purchasing a pre-made kit you can save hours of searching and save money at the same time! The whelping kit contains a wide range of products such as disposables (gloves, swabs, sterile cotton buds) , essential tools (scissors, thermometer, stethoscope) and of course feeding items. 
Occasionally the unexpected can occur during the birth process, the bitch may require a c-section and be unable to produce sufficient milk, the litter may be exceptionally large or the bitch may not take to feeding. To ensure your pups receive instant milk in these circumstances the whelping kit contains a specially formulated milk replacement and feeding apparatus. Keeping a whelping kit at home when you are expecting a litter can help avoid emergency situations.