During Pregnancy, Before and After Delivery


  • Make sure water is available all of the time
  • Dam will need to eat smaller portions more frequently
  • Dam will need to urinate more frequently
  • Dam will want more attention than usual
  • Do not let other dogs play too roughly with her
  • Do not let her bolt up and down the stairs
  • She will need regular exercise, not too extraneous
  • Avoid drugs, dewormers, insecticides, X-rays, etc.
  • Start feeding 2 or 3 meals a day. She will be eating about 1 1/2 times as much as usual
  • If you are away during the day, allow her to "free-feed" when necessary
  • Let her eat as much as she will eat in 5 - 10 minutes without allowing her to get fat
  • Start mixing in Puppy Food with regular food
  • Give milk at least once a day. Goat's milk is preferred to cow's milk.
  • Start supplementing with Calcium tablets
  • Dam may go off her food - there is no need to worry
  • Set up whelping box in draft free location
  • Whelping box should have a raised bar around the inside edge so that dam cannot roll over on and smother her pups
  • Put many, individual pieces of plain newsprint in the box as these will have to be removed 1 or 2 at a time when being soiled during delivery
  • Hang a heat lamp over the whelping box in such a way that it can be moved up or down. If it is hung over one side the dam can rest in the cooler area.
  • Put a thermometer in the whelping box (with the heat lamp on) to test for temperature. It should be around 85 degree F. (32 degrees C.).
  • Prepare a small box with a towel covered hot water bottle or heating pad to place pups in while others are being delivered. Temperature should be as above. Have second towel to place over the top of the box to keep drafts out.
  • Dam should be encouraged to sleep in whelping box at least a week before delivery so she knows that this is where she is to have the pups (not in the middle of the bed). An ex pen might come in handy, if need be.
  • Dam may begin nesting, or digging up her bedding. This is a good thing. Be prepared to allow this to happen.
  • Clip away any remaining hair around her nipples and vulva.
  • Start recording rectal temperatures. Her temperature may drop from the normal 101.0 degree F. (38.6 C.) to 98 - 99 degrees F. (37.2 C.) 8 to 12 hours before she delivers. However, a normal temperature does not mean that she won't deliver in a couple of hours.
  • Cover the newspaper in the whelping box with a towel, bed sheet or similar materials. The pups need the texture under their feet to get traction in order to be able to reach their dam. This will also help them to stay warm.
  • The temperature of the whelping box can be lowered 5 degree F when the pups are a week old. It can be lowered progressively after that. A good rule of thumb is the following: If the pups are cold they will huddle up in a pile; if they are too warm they will be sprawled out by themselves. You want to find a happy medium.
  • The leading cause of death in newborn puppies is as the result of becoming chilled. This can be prevented.

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Kathy and Bruce Stewart

Summer location: Alberta, Canada
Home phone: (780) 987-4456
....................... Winter location: Arizona, U.S.A.
Cell Phone: (780) 718-5940

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