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THE HEAT PERIOD: Usually last 18-21 days, but can vary several days either way. During this period take caution, don't leave your bitch unattended, as she can possibly be bred at any time during this cycle. A bitch can also be bred to several dogs, and have puppies from several sires in one litter.
Usually a breeding will take place between the 9th and 14th day following the onset of bleeding, again this can vary with the individual. The bitch will actively seek a male during this "prime" time. Keep her from any males prior to or after the selected breeding, never letting her uinattended. After the 21st day the cycle is usually over, but take caution for a few more days, just to be sure.
CONDITION OF FEMALE: Make certain that prior to breeding she is in the peak of condition. She should have all her necessary shots, be free from worms and protozoans and external parasites. She should not be overweight as this can easily complicate a pregnancy. She should be in good muscle tone, also, not flabby and out of shape.
CARE OF THE PREGNANT BITCH: During pregnancy following breeding she should be fed as usual, of course a good, balanced diet. It may be a good idea to split her meal into two meals about two weeks before she is due, because as the pupies grow they tend to take up some of the stomach's room. After the 5th week restrict heavy excercise, allow no jumping. Do allow moderate excerciese. Daily walks throughout the pregnancy is great.
Add one tablespoon of good grade pure honey per feeding. The 7th week (2 weeks before she is due) increase honey to one tablespoon in the morning feeding and one tablespoon in the evening feeding. AFTER whelping, feeding will change drastically. Give two or three meals a day (according to how much milk she has and needs) continue honey with each feeding, but also add Pedigree (1/2 can), vitamins (K-Zyme is good), Pet-Cal tabs, all in one feeding. Never give more than two tablespoons a day of honey. Continuing one tablespoon in the morning and one in the evening.
DELIVERY DATE: Gestation about 9 weeks, or 63 days. Bitchs are individuals and this will vary from 58 to 68 days, but 63 is average. Exact delivery is difficult to predict, but by using the following method you will be pretty close.
Beginning the last week of gestation, take the bitchs temperature twice a day. Normal is around 101.5. Record your morning and evening readings. When the temperature drops below 99, and stays there, puppies should begin to arrive not later than 48 hours. If a bitchs' temperature stays down longer than this, sek a vets advice, also if a temperature is too high.
THE NURSERY: You should have everything prepared well in advance of the due date. You will need a whelping box large enough for the bitch to comfortably stretch out, with room to spare. It should be wide enough so the puppies can be away from their dam. The sides should be low enough to let the dam in and out, but tall enough to keep pups inside for several weeks. Newspaper makes the best bedding, and the bitch will usually shred them and arerange them in her own manner. If your bitch wants shredded papers, shred them yourself into small strips, as this will be much neater than her designs. The temperature should stay 80 degrees in the nursery for the first week, and it should be draft free. Chilling is the leading cause of infant death. A heat lamp on one side of the box is a good idea, but leave room for the dam and pups to move if it becomes too hot. Let the bitch become accustom to the box several weeks prior to whelping
LABOR & DELIVERY: The bitch usually will not eat the day of delivery, and will often be restless, and look uncomfortable. She will often pant, strain, pace the floor, lay on her side as labor begins. If the bitch strains ( definate contractions are easy to see) for more than 3 hours without signs of a puppy appearing, consult your vet immediately. Delay can cost you the lives of the pups and possibly the dam.
Normal delivery is feet/head first, but breech births are not uncommon and usually pose no problem. After the initial labor and the first pup, the others should follow at intervals frokm 15 minutes to 2 hours. Again, if the bitch goes past 3 hours and definately has more pups, consult the vet. Ceasarian sections occasionally have to be p[reformed. Stand by. It is best if you cut the cord, after the mothers have ripped open the birth sac. Itf she doesn't then you will have to do it. Dry the puppy off with a thick towel, rubbing roughly to stimulate breathing. If a puppy is born, but doesn't appear to be breathing, try this - take the puppy, turn him in a clockwise direction, quickly but have a firm grip on the pup, (wrapping in a towel is a good idea). Repeat as necessary until the pup begins to breathe. Make certain all mucus is removed from the nose and throat before "twirling" the pup or the pup will suffocate.
The cord should not be cut too close to the body. Tying with a sterile thread about 1/2" away from the baby and nipping the remaining with dull scissors, then swabbing with iodine is the best method.
As delivery progresses, count the afterbirths. There should be one accompanying each pup. If these are retained infection could resiult. See the vet concerning retained placentas.
As each puppy is born, cleaned, dried and cord cut, let the dam see the pup, an lick a few times. Then place it in a box under a heat lamp (not too close) or a hot water bottle wrapped in a thick towel. (Hot water in bottle) Do this with each pup, and after all pups are born return the brood to the mother. Some mothers are better than others, and please realize that the squirming brood may frighten the tired mother. Pups should be helped to the nipples, squirting a bit of milk into their mouths usually gives them the idea. Make certain that the smaller pups nurse as much as the larger ones. Puppies need to nurse every 4-6 hours and can go 12 hours after birth before dining.
After everything is taken care of all you have to do is keep the box clean, feed the mother well (vitamins and calcium can be added to the dam nursing a large brood), and keep the mother and family away from visitors. Strangers make mothers nervous and can bring unwanted diseases to babies. Also, be on the lookout for a puppy that doesn't have the round plump look, has a loose stool, or who is crying. These signs mean trouble.
NOTES: Puppies open their eyes around 10-15 days, and can hear beginning the 3rd week. Beginning the 3rd week introduce to a warm meal (Pedigree & Eukanuba small bite puppy food is a good start). Weaning should be completed by week 6. Camphorated oil on the dam's breasts will drive puppies away from her and help dry her up as well.
Always wipe the dam's breasts off while pups are nursing after going out to potty. She can carry germs back to them from dragging breasts on the ground.
Please, just use newspapers. Babies can suffocate in sheets or materials. Also whelping box must be big enough for her to move around here while in labor.
Have a well lined garbage can to throw the afterbirths away in. If you let her eat them they can make her very sick. Also could poison her milk possibly. Be sure to keep her breasts clean too. Don't worry about the inverted nipples at all. They will come out when she starts putting milk in after the babies are born. Don't apply warm compresses. This could possibly cause extra milk production in them. Just leave them alone and they will be ok. Sometimes milk won't form in those nipples and puppies know it and won't even go to them. Nature will take their course on this issue. require "/www/common/php/foot.php"; ?>