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Caring for a Dog and Her Puppies

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Dog With Her Puppies
When your dog has delivered puppies, you want to make sure she has a safe and warm place to nurture them. This is a guide about caring for a dog and her puppies.
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By 2 found this helpful
May 31, 2007

Used playpens make a great place for your small pet to have their litter. My sister's Chihuahua had puppies a few months ago and she wanted her momma dog to have a safe place to have them and to keep the pups away from the daddy dog and cats in the house.
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She cut a small hole big enough for the cord to a heating pad to use for the puppies when "momma" needed a break. Also, another good idea is you can drape stuff on the sides for privacy so the momma dog doesn't get to nervous with the other pets looking in. Worked great!

By Sarah from Chattanooga, TN

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May 12, 20061 found this helpful

Our Border Collie just had puppies. In fact, she had 14 total, but only 11 survived. 11 puppies! Oh my gosh. Thoughts were going through my mind about how we were going to help our "girl" look after them. Our main concern at the time was bedding. Although we had some, having 11 "poopy" puppies, instead of the normal 5 or 6, it would make it difficult to keep the whelping box clean.

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Newspapers are great, but in the colder autumn months in Australia at the moment, I was concerned about keeping them warm. I was going to go to the thrift shop to see if they had any cheap bedding or rags to sell.

When I took our Jessie to the vet to have an examination of her and the puppies, the vet nurse there said we could have the extra bedding they had. They had purchased some new thermo bedding for the vet practice and were going to throw out the old. It was very clean and serviceable, and it solved our dilemma. It was certainly a cheaper alternative. In fact it cost us nothing. So, if you are faced with the same situation, why not visit a few vet clinics in your area and ask them. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Cheers,

By Bev from Rockingham, Western Australia

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
February 24, 2011

My Pit Bull just gave birth to 9 puppies, but I am scared that she might smother them or suffocate them while she moves around. Should I move the puppies or let her take care of it herself?

By Lina from Phoenix, AZ

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February 25, 20110 found this helpful
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We used a kiddie swimming pool for our Dalmatian puppies when they were born. It worked out well due to the sides being tall enough and plenty of room for sometimes up to 13 babies. I believe the mother instinct kicks in when the babies are born. Let mother nature take its course. She will take care of them. Its fun to watch them grow and develop their personalities. We had 4 litters and enjoyed every minute of it. Give the mom higher protein food to help with everyones nourishment.

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February 28, 20110 found this helpful
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Hello,

These posts are great answers to your questions. Please keep in mind that the mama will have to eat at least 4 times a day as the puppies will take all her nutrients. She will want a break from them so don't be surprised if she just gets up and leaves them alone. Please make sure she has enough food/water at her disposal 24/7. Watch the puppies to make sure she is not shoving one off to the side and not feeding it. Also, please call your Veterinarian as soon as the puppies are old enough to leave their mom (7-8 weeks old) and make her appointment to have her spay. Good luck.

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March 3, 20110 found this helpful
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I looked at the link with the box instructions and didn't like that at all. I have always used kiddie plastic swimming pools. I like them for several reasons. They are the perfect size (since they come in different sizes) and provide lots of space for the growing puppies to move around and play.

2-The upper edge of the sides is smooth and doesn't scratch Mama when she steps out, It also doesn't hurt the puppies who may be "hanging on" to a teat when she's trying to get out. (This sounds odd, but happens many times, and a rough wooden crate can hurt the tiny puppy, and can give him splinters).

3-And last but by far not least, it's extremely easy to clean.

Also, don't worry so much about the Mama smothering the puppies. Yes, keep an eye out and "rescue" ones that she may not even realize she's laying on. But for the most part, let nature take over and they'll be fine.

Don't "separate her" from her puppies. Not ever! When she needs a break from them she will come out of the whelping box. But she will do it when SHE is ready. If you try to separate her from them when she doesn't want to it will only upset her. And she may decide to react in a way that you surely don't want. I've seen otherwise very loving dogs turn and bite their owners because the owner was trying to separate her from her babies. When she's ready she'll leave them for a bit. Otherwise, leave her to take care of them herself.

Finally, one last thing I wanted to mention. Everyone says to make sure she has plenty of extra nutrition and water during this time. This is extremely important. However, do not put the food and water inside the whelping box! Put it next to or near the box, but not inside it. The puppies could get into the dishes and possibly drown or have their noses clogged by the food crumbs. If you keep the food and water next to or near the box then Mama can come out and eat/drink when she needs to without having to go far from her pups.

Also, please do take Mama in for spaying once the puppies are old enough to leave their mom.

Good luck with your new family!

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By 0 found this helpful
December 6, 2009

We kind of inherited a pregnant Pitbull. So this is an honest question. Please don't tell me to read up on the breed and all of that or tell me to get rid of her because I don't know what I am doing. If I knew the answers I would not ask.

She had a litter of 8 pups 3 weeks ago. But she is being mean to them, really mean. She was very sweet and non aggressive before the pups were born. What do I need to do?

By Lisa from Northeast, Ga

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December 12, 20090 found this helpful
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There could be any number of reasons why she is 'being mean' to the pups. A little more detail would have been helpful.

If you are handling the pups too much you may be causing the mom stress. When stressed dogs do strange things including killing their young.

It could me that she has no clue what to do. Some dogs just don't. In which case taking the pups away may be the best thing to do. But then YOU will need to take over for mom.

It could be that she knows something you don't, like she may be ill and not showing it yet. She may not have enough milk to provide for all the pups.

Bottom line is it could be anything. If you really DO want to help her and the pups - get the advice of a VET not the net.

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By 1 found this helpful
September 7, 2010

My female Pit Bull just gave birth to 4 puppies about 4 days ago. She is acting really weird. She leaves the puppies and tries to hide underneath the mother-in-law house out back. She has never done this before. She is very good about not leaving her yard or even venturing around out that way. Do dogs have post partum depression? Is this common for her to leave her puppies and hide for hours?

By Chrissy from Jacksonville, FL

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September 7, 20100 found this helpful

Mama doggies will often do this if their bodies are not producing sufficient milk to feed the pups. Try getting her the special food for nursing dogs and see it that helps. It might have something to do with her age too.

Wishing you the best. Bless them...they don't know how to tell us what's wrong, so they do their best to show us. You might check her to see if she has any sore spots on her belly too. Call your vet and see what they have to say about it.

Pookarina

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September 8, 20100 found this helpful

Check the puppies little claws. Sometimes they can be sharp and make the Moms sore. I would be inclined to have her checked out by a vet, it would be a shame to have anything happen to Mom or the pups. Good luck.

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September 9, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, I do not know what to tell you as vet bills can be so high and money may be needed in other areas. Try calling a vet or talk to someone at your local Humane Society and see if they can tell you anything or maybe recommend a vet that will help. You can also go on line to places like "Ask a vet" and many times find answers from a vet in those areas.

Be sure to check the mommy and pups for anything that looks like it could be causing a problem. Nursing food will help produce more milk but 4 pups are not usually a problem with feeding. Above all do not wait too long to find a solution as pups are fragile at that age.

Good luck and I hope things work out well.

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September 11, 20100 found this helpful

Hope you work this out and it all turns out well. But, please have your female dog spayed. There are waaaay too many dogs who need home. Plus, this lady seems unsuited to being a mother dog.

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March 3, 20110 found this helpful

Every once in a while a dog will "hide from" or otherwise not take care of her new litter. There are as many reasons for this as there are occurences of it. I would definitely have her and the pups checked by the vet.

If she continues to stay away from them you may need to feed them yourself. LOL Have fun! It sounds so much easier than it is! But it is not impossible. You simply need to get some puppy bottles with extra nipples and some puppy milk. You can check places like PetSmart or ask your vet where to get them. And you will need to be diligent on keeping to a schedule with the feedings. Every 2 hours till they are a couple of weeks old, then you can space it out to every 3 hours, then 4, etc. Your vet will advise you on the schedule.

Bottle feeding puppies can be extremely frustrating, as it's not natural for them so they don't take to it easily. But it is also a very rewarding experience too.

In addition to feeding them, you will also have to assist them in relieving themselves till their systems develop enough to do it on their own. Puppies aren't like babies and aren't born able to push the stool out of themselves. Mama has to help, and if the mother dog isn't doing it, then you have to. Again the vet will tell you how. It's not hard. Simply involves massaging them properly till it is expelled.

You're in for a few long weeks but you'll be rewarded with some loving puppies. Good luck!

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March 8, 20150 found this helpful

My dog had puppies two weeks ago and today she started biting people. This is not her first set of puppies. She was her normal playful self this morning. At lunchtime we went out to check her food and she bit my daughter. We do not mess with the puppies. Then when I went again later on to check her food she bit me. She still jumps up like she wants to be petted like usual, but then she bit me and as I was moving away she was still trying to bite me.

By Linda

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March 10, 20150 found this helpful
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Your mama dog (and you) are the victim of raging hormones. I am guessing that this is just her being extra protective. She will get over it. Keep the stress and commotion around her to a minimum. If it continues after the puppies are weaned, you need to see your Vet.

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February 16, 20150 found this helpful

My Pit Bull just had her babies and I am worried because she usually has 13 or 10, but this time she only had 4. One died because she was laying on it. It's her third litter; should I be worried?

By Perla from San Antonio, TX

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February 19, 20150 found this helpful
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How often do you breed your female? Does she get high quality food for breeding bitches? Does she have regular veterinary care? How old is she? All these things will affect the number and health of her puppies, as well as her health.

Your dog should not be bred more than once a year. She needs special food for herself and the pups, and regular veterinary care. If you can't provide these things for her have her spayed. Otherwise you may lose your dog and any puppies she may have. There are a lot of backyard breeders out there who breed for money and care little about their dogs. It's a club you don't want to join.

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March 16, 20150 found this helpful

Can I take my Cavalier and her 2 week old puppies on holiday with me to my caravan 2 hours away by car? Will she be OK?

By Linda

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March 17, 20150 found this helpful
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No, she will not be okay. You must try not to disturb a mother dog and her puppies. If there's too much stress she may reject the puppies and stop feeding them.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 27, 2014

What can happen if a new mom has her first pups and she doesn't lick them so they can use the bathroom, #2? What can I do to help?

By Robin B.

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March 3, 20140 found this helpful
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Wet a washcloth and wring it out. then wipe the puppies bottoms just like a Mom dog would do.

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June 25, 2017

I own a medium sized mixed breed dog, Pepper. Last year she had a litter of 7. One didn't make it. This year, May 5th, she had a litter of 8, 4 boys and 4 girls. Last week the smallest girl wouldn't eat nor drink. I brought her indoors, cleaned her up, and tried to force feed her a teaspoon of baby formula every hour or 2. She didn't make it through the night. This week, a boy wasn't eating. When I brought him in, he took the formula I fed him. I called the vet, but he died before I could take him. Today, a girl is showing signs. What can I possibly do throughout the night to help this puppy make it? She ate by herself today, but not as much as she usually does. She also seems weak, sleepy, and won't play. I didn't bring her in, but I'm taking them all tomorrow. The mother, by the way, has lost a disturbing amount of weight. She eats fine though. The vet told me to feed her puppy food to fatten her up, but she's still bony.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 18, 2016

My dog just had her puppies last night, a total of 11. Anyways I never planned for her to mate, but it happened. Will they all nurse at once? Or should I pull some out to ensure they are all eating? I'm very new to this and any advice with taking care of them and whatnot will be very useful! Thanks.

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June 2, 2017

My puppies are now 4 weeks old. Mom started to wean them at two weeks old. They are now eating soft and hard food with no issues. They took to the food and even water right away. Mama normally only feeds them once at night if any at all, but when she goes to clean them up or after them they try to feed. It's taking a toll on her. They are cutting her with what I think are their claws. I try to keep them trimmed, but she is getting cut over and over. Today it was so bad we found blood all over the puppies' faces. In a panic I cleaned the blood off to insure it was not theirs. That's when I noticed her legs and tail where covered in blood and it was dripping a bit, but she would not let me clean her up. Now I don't know what to do for her. She wants to keep them clean, but does not want to feed them.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 14, 2016

My neighbor's Pit Bull had puppies 5 weeks ago; a total of 10 in all. She has sold seven of them. She began weening them at 3 weeks. She is keeping three. She won't let the mom nurse the ones she is keeping. Is this safe and legal?

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By 0 found this helpful
July 28, 2010

How do you know when your dog is ready to have puppies?

By Jennifer

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

I had a vet student help me once with my pregnant Sheltie. She took her temp close to her time to deliver one night , and told me that, since her temp had dropped, she was very close to delivery (I think she said 8-10 hours). She had the pups the next morning. I noticed that she started panting and wanted to go out a lot a few hours before she delivered.

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July 28, 20100 found this helpful

When they get close to their time, sometimes the dog will find a dark, safe place to have the puppies. Then, they usually disappear for about a day or so to have the babies.

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July 29, 20100 found this helpful

A lot like us; if they haven't disappeared to a dark spot as mentioned, they may spot with liquid, streaked with blood, pant, turn around a lot, appear uncomfortable, and so on. Make sure they have a soft folded old blanket or towels right at hand, and speak in soft reassuring tones. They may even get up and drink a bit of water in between deliveries. My dog delivered one on the couch, hopped down and delivered one on the floor.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 26, 2010

My 4 year old Yorkie just had a litter of 6. All are well. She, on the other hand, will not eat much of anything, but drinks okay. She is nursing well and I am afraid that it is draining her without replenishing. She also is still doing the nesting ritual. She is alert and active. Any suggestions?

By Johnny C from FL

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

I recommend you give her vet a call, just to be sure. They can refer back to her medical records and give the best advice. I hope mama is feeling better soon!

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks. I took her to vet today again and they said that she was fine, took blood all was good. They also gave her some fluids. Suggested we force feed he with a syringe with some prescription food for a few days. She is looking better already.

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July 26, 20100 found this helpful

:-) I'm really glad you took her in, and that she's already improving! Did they say why this might be happening? I've never had a pet who had babies (all of our pets have been fixed), so I don't know if this is normal/to be expected. Again, I'm so glad she's starting to do better!

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By 0 found this helpful
January 15, 2016

I'm having a situation right now. My female Pit, Karma, who is almost 3yrs old just had her first litter of 11 puppies, minus one cuz it died after she gave birth. The first few weeks she was a great mother, but then I started noticing she was being more aggressive with the pups, biting their little heads, etc. Then I noticed her not wanting to sit down at all, I mean at all. I have tried pushing her butt down and she will not budge and now she is falling asleep standing up. I'm assuming all these symptoms are leading to her boobies. They are dry, chapped of course, and at one time bleeding just a very little from the pups sucking so hard. My baby is so miserable. I know she is, I see it in her eyes. I feel so bad for her. What/how can I help her to be more comfortable to lay down are even sit?

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By 0 found this helpful
December 12, 2015

My dog is almost 10 years old and has never had puppies. Last night she was having contractions and a bloody discharge. Now 18 hours later she doesn't seem to be having contractions, there are no puppies, but she still looks pregnant and is still having a bloody discharge. I don't know what to do for her, she acts normally. Help?

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August 19, 2015

What do I do if I feel like my mother dog is not properly feeding her pups? How do I know for certain she is not feeding them?

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By 0 found this helpful
August 7, 2015

My Pit is pregnant and due to have her litter in 2 weeks. Her nipples are all very red all over the nipples, some worse than others. Is this normal?

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By 0 found this helpful
August 2, 2015

My dog had only one puppy in this litter. We battled to keep weight on him for the last 3 weeks. We brought him to the vet for IV fluids and a dose of antibiotics. After thinking he was doing better, he passed away last night. How do I take him away from mom? She won't leave his side.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 29, 2015

My dog had puppies 5 weeks ago. She has been whimpering the last 2 days. I don't know what is wrong. The pups are eating food and drinking water. Please help me. I tried everything to help her.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 27, 2015

My Chihuahua had her 2nd litter of puppies 2 weeks ago. She is acting like she doesn't feel well the last few days. She is acting more tired then she has been and wants to be cuddled a lot more then usual. She also has been having a little shortness of breath. She didn't act like this with her 1st litter, she almost never left them for more then a few minutes. I took her to the vet and he looked her over and said she was fine and that this is normal. Is this normal? Should I take her to a new vet?

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May 30, 20150 found this helpful

Yes! This dog may have an unborn puppy or some placenta left behind inside of her, which is decaying and making her sick. A vet needs to do a more thorough examination, and take care of this before she becomes too sick to help. I speak from experience. If this is not the answer, then something else is wrong, and you need a good vet to figure it out. Don't wait, take her now.

Please stop breeding this dog, as she may not be able to keep having pups without problems, and there are too many homeless dogs as it is.

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March 5, 20150 found this helpful

My Pit Bull had ten puppies six weeks ago and I need to help her dry up her milk. What could we use to help her?


By Sherry

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March 5, 20150 found this helpful

The puppies aren't fully weaned until they are 8 weeks old. Why do you want to dry up her milk?

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January 22, 20150 found this helpful

My Shih Tzu has 5, 2 week old puppies. The last couple of nights she wanders from the room where the puppies are to our room and cries. We pick her up and she will sleep for a short period and cry to go back to the puppies. She's been doing this all night and I'm exhausted. She is a really good mom and feeds them and takes care of them and she's eating and drinking well. She always slept with us so I'm thinking she misses us maybe. What can I do to get some sleep?

By Peggy Mac

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January 22, 20150 found this helpful

You might bring the puppies into your room at nite or all the time?

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January 14, 20150 found this helpful

We have an American Bulldog and this is her first litter. She used to get on the couch when we were away, but she is not allowed on it normally. When we got home one day, she was up on the couch, and going into labor. We transferred her to the whelping box, with plastic, a table cloth and sheets underneath for some comfort. It is winter here, so heating lamps are on for warmth. Today, my husband came into the room, and she was moving all the puppies to the couch. I believe she may be uncomfortable, I just don't know how to make her comfortable and not have something bad happen to the puppies. They are now 5 days old. Thank you anyone that can help.

By Jean from Jacksonville, FL

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January 15, 20150 found this helpful

You might ask your vet for assistance.

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March 26, 20140 found this helpful

Why does my dog keep carrying her puppies to me?

By Julie

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December 12, 20140 found this helpful

Maybe something is wrong with the puppy?

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