KLOMPEN KEESHONDEN - Pre-whelping Advice


  • Weight charts and pen or pencil
  • Weight scales
  • Diapers or old towels (min. 12 tea towel size)
  • Small scissors (to cut umbilical cords if necessary)
  • Quick stop (again for umbilical cords)
  • Dental floss (to tie umbilical cords)
  • Rubbing alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide (To clean umbilical cords & dew claws)
  • Cotton Balls
  • Bucket to put warm water and disinfectant in
  • Heat lamp, or heating pad, or hot water bottle, or pig warmer
  • Warm bedding for whelping box (old quilt, towels, fake fur)
  • Basket and blanket for puppies when cleaning out the whelping box
  • Room thermometer
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Sterile lubricating jelly
  • Sanitary vinyl gloves
  • Different colours of yarn (rick rack) for identification, or colored, elastic, pony tail bands
  • White newsprint (cut to fit in whelping box)
  • Garbage bags for soiled papers
  • Disinfectant hand soap
  • Kleenex
  • Disposable wipes
  • Paper towels
  • puppy formula (Esbilac - just in case)
  • Small baby bottle or syringe with feeding tube
  • Normal - 101 F or 38.6 C
  • Pre-Whelping - 98-99 F 37.2 C
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Bitch's desire to be outside thinking she needs to have a bowel movement
  • Scratching at floor and/or bedding - nesting
  • Heavy panting and shakiness
  • Temperature drop within 24 hours of delivery
  • In hard labour for 2 or 3 hours with no pup
  • 1/2 hour after water breaks - no pup
    (yellow fluid means rupture of amniotic sac)
  • Bitch passes dark green or bloody discharge before delivery of first pup
  • Over 3 hours between puppies is sign of trouble
    ECLAMPSIA - lacks calcium - signs: Excitability, weakness staring expression, panting, drooling or convulsions.
  • Dam's temp. is 103 F or higher - a problem
  • For clean out shot of Oxytocin
  • Dehydration of dam or pups(when you pinch skin at top of neck it should go back right away)
  • A green, brown or serosanguinous discharge 21 days or more after delivery is not normal

It is not uncommon for the largest puppy to be delivered first and hence to cause the dam some trouble. They may get caught in the vaginal opening, at which time it is wise for you to step in and give her a hand. Once the puppy has moved into the vaginal canal its oxygen from the bitch may get cut off. Delivery should proceed rapidly.

If the membranes rupture and a pup is not delivered within 1/2 hour, then chances are that the pup is stuck in the birth canal. You should take the following steps: Clean the outside of the vulva with disinfectant soap and water. Put on a pair of sterile gloves and lubricate your finger with K-Y jelly or Vaseline. Be careful not to contaminate your finger with stool from the anus.

Place one hand under the abdomen in front of the pelvis of the dam and feel for the puppy. With the other hand, slip a finger into the vagina and feel for the pup. You may slip your finger into the mouth of the pup and turn it towards and guide it into the birth canal. If it still does not come along, insert your finger beside the head and try to hook and draw forward one of the front legs and then the other. If the puppy is coming breach, hook first one leg and then another to guide them into the narrow part of the Canal.

You can help if you see that the puppy is at the opening during a heavy contraction but then disappears when she relaxes. As the head appears, push down gently on the area just below the anus. This will keep the pup from sliding back inside the dam. Next, slide the lips of the vulva over the head to hold the pup in place. With a clean, dry piece of cloth grip the skin behind its neck or along its back and gently draw him out. Applying forceful traction to the head or limbs may cause joint damage. It may be helpful to rotate the puppy one way and then another if it seems stuck. Time is of the essence. It is sometimes better to take hold of the pup even at risk of injury or death than to allow that pup and possibly others to die if something is not done.

Instinctively the dam will remove the fetal membranes, sever the umbilical cord and clean the puppy. If she does not then you have to be prepared to step in. If she appears to be too rough with the puppy it is because she is trying to stimulate breathing and blood circulation. You should rub the puppy vigorously when drying it for the same reason.

If the pup is born in its amniotic sac and the bitch fails to remove it right away, you should tear it off starting at the head and working towards the tail. To clear the secretions from the mouth and aid in its respiration, you should hold the puppy in a dry cloth in your hands and support its neck. Then swing him in a downward arc, stopping abruptly when his nose is pointing to the floor. This help to expel water from his nostrils.

If the pup still is not breathing squeeze the chest gently from side to side and then front to back. If he still does not breath, place your mouth over his mouth and nostrils, and breath out gently until you see the chest expand. Exhaling too forcefully may rupture his lungs. Then remove your mouth and allow the puppy to exhale. Repeat this several times until the pup is breathing and crying.

Keep track of the placentas, which should follow each puppy. Retained placentas can cause a serious postnatal infection. If the dam wishes to eat the placentas (or afterbirths), she should be allowed to do so. They are believed to contain valuable hormones, which aid in the delivery of subsequent pups and stimulate milk production. It is nature's way of cleaning up the whelping area. If she eats several of these she may not be hungry for some time after whelping. She may appreciate a bowl of cold milk though.

Females will normally sever the umbilical cord by shedding it. If she fails to do this you must do it by tearing it apart with your nails about 1 inch from the belly. If it is cut too cleanly or too close to the pup it will continue to bleed. You may need to tie it off using dental floss or thread. It should be cauterized with a disinfectant such as hydrogen peroxide. If the bleeding still continues you may wish to use Quick stop.

Once the pups are clean and dry, and their umbilical stump has stopped bleeding, the pup should be put back in with its mother. They should be encouraged to feed from her nipples. The mother's first milk contain colostrum, which contains important antibodies. Once she is about to produce the next pup, all of the pups with her should be removed to a small warm (85 F) box. The leading cause of death in newborns is chilling or temperature shock. If the dam becomes frantic because you have removed the pups, put one or two back with her until she is occupied with cleaning another whelp.

Healthy, contented puppies are quiet puppies. They will huddle together in small piles. You will know if they are too warm, because they will sprawl out at some distance apart. If they are too cold they will huddle up in one heap and begin crying.

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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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