Caring for a Dog and Her Puppies

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.

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, 2006

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.

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45 Questions

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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


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. It's 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 everyone's nourishment.

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February 28, 20111 found this helpful
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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 and make sure she is not pushing one 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 spayed.

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March 3, 20111 found this helpful
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I have always used kiddie plastic swimming pools. I like them for several reasons.

1. 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 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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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


March 3, 20110 found this helpful
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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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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


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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March 8, 2015

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


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, 2015

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


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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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?


January 20, 20160 found this helpful
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Personally I would consult your vet or another breeder. They might have some ideas for you on this one. Sounds like her puppies are aggressive when nursing. If this keep happening I'm sure she'll stop feeding them all together.

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March 16, 2015

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


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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March 5, 2015

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


March 6, 20150 found this helpful
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6 week old puppies are too young to wean. They can develop personality disorders if weaned too early. If you need to wean for medical reasons, check with your Vet for what to feed the puppies. They will require a special diet. Otherwise let the mother wean her puppies when she feels the time is right.

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December 27, 2010

Last night my 2 year old mixed dog had her first litter of puppies. All day she has been feeding them and curled up with them. She came out to eat and now when she went back into her dog house she's not curling up with them she has her back to them. She hasn't been really acting like herself today either. Is this normal?

By Belynda from Baton Rouge, LA


December 31, 20100 found this helpful
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I respectfully disagree with "patches", if your dog only turns her back to her new puppies on occasion. She's been through an experience she has never known and is tired, tired, tired after giving birth. If she continues to ignore her puppies, consistently, of course you need to take action. If she merely wants a few hours sleep while still sharing space with her pups, she's just plain pooped and needs a break.

By all means, call your vet if you suspect the puppies are being totally ignored, but give the girl a break if she just wants to sleep for a few hours. With all due respect, I just don't agree with "patches" that a dog needs to be "evaluated by a vet" mere hours after giving birth as she still sleeps with her puppies but simply chooses to not expose her food supply for a few hours.

Bottom line, it's your call. If you think the puppies are being totally ignored of course you need to contact your vet. If the mom just decides to sleep with her back to the pups for a few hours, I suspect she needs the rest and the puppies will be just fine resting with her. Again, just make sure she tends to the pups on a regular (although not necessarily clock work) schedule. Good luck and best wishes.

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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.


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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January 22, 2015

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


January 22, 20150 found this helpful

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

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