Testing and Pre-Whelping Care

What you need to know

Breeding your female dog is an exciting and important endeavor, and proper pre-whelping care is essential for the well-being of both the mother and her developing puppies. We’ve outlined a recommended timetable for testing, deworming, and nutrition, along with key considerations to prepare for the arrival of new canine family members.

Testing Milestones for Pregnancy Monitoring

30 Days: At this stage, a Relaxin Pregnancy test can be conducted. This blood test checks for a specific hormone produced only when the bitch has conceived. It’s essential to avoid testing too early, as it may yield a false negative result. In such cases, we recommend moving forward with an ultrasound to gain a more accurate assessment.

30 Days: An ultrasound can also be performed around this time to assess the viability of the puppies. It confirms conception and allows us to check for the presence of puppy heartbeats. Please note that ultrasounds do not provide an accurate count of the number of puppies, as they can be distributed between the two uterine horns.

45-53 Days: Radiographs become a valuable tool when the puppies start developing their skeletons. This procedure provides a more accurate puppy count, giving you insight into how many puppies the bitch is carrying.

Nutrition and Deworming Recommendations

It’s advisable to transition the mother to a premium puppy food, such as Purina ProPlan or Science Diet Puppy. This dietary change helps ensure she receives the essential nutrients needed for her and her puppies’ health. Additionally, deworming the bitch with a veterinary-approved, safe dewormer is recommended at this stage.

Preparing for the Whelping Process

Creating a Safe Space: In preparation for whelping, make sure the mother has access to a private area with plenty of blankets. These blankets provide a comfortable nesting area for her before the whelping begins.

Temperature Considerations: Maintaining the right temperature is crucial for the health of both the mother and puppies. Ensure they stay warm but not overheated. Avoid using heating pads, as they can become too hot, and the puppies may not be able to move away from the heat source.

Whelping Duration: On average, it can take up to 4 hours per puppy to deliver, with a common interval of one to two hours between puppies. If the bitch exceeds the four-hour mark without delivering a puppy, it’s imperative to contact your local veterinary office or local Emergency After Hours for professional guidance. In some cases, a c-section may be necessary to ensure a safe and healthy delivery.

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