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Care and management of pregnant bitch:

For first five weeks of pregnancy no special effort is needed except for taking extra care of your bitch in subtle ways like guarding her against picking up infection and avoid putting her for the special performances like dog shows, on the beam or jumping.

Your veterinarian can confirm pregnancy on 21st to 28th day by palpation and 45th to 50th day by ultrasonography.
Bitch will start revealing pregnancy symptoms from fifth week onwards.

From fifth week, she should be given one third more of her normal food, which should consist more of protein and green vegetables rather than carbohydrates. An additional supplementation of calcium (100 - 200 mg) and multivitamin may be given if vegetables can not be provided in sufficient quantity.

From seventh week onwards, abdomen is markedly enlarged. Since puppies occupy most of the abdominal space, animal looses appetite. Meals should hence be divided in three to four times.

Exercise and food should be given as much as bitch wishes.

Avoid stressful condition from seventh week onwards.

Some times even though bitch does not conceive after mating, the hormonal changes occur like in pregnant animal and animal exhibits signs of pregnancy. The absence of pregnancy can possibly be detected on seventh week onwards due to lack of enlargement of abdomen and from 50th day through X - ray or ultrasound. It is advisable to wait till 64th day since mistakes may occur. If animal does not whelp till 64th day then consult your vet for appropriate treatment.

Pregnancy absorption:
Sometimes bitches that have given every indication of being pregnant suddenly cease to look that way. This may occur because bitches can reabsorb their puppies before formation of bones. This may be due to injury to bitch, stressful condition, or any kind of infection.

Preparations for whelping:

Arrange for:

A secluded, easy to clean, well - ventilated cozy room with adequate source of light. Arrangements should be made to maintain the optimum temperature of 23 - 26o C.
Soft but disposable bedding. An old carpet cushioned with news papers should serve the purpose.
Clock to record time intervals between births.
Sufficient amount of food to be kept in the room during whelping.
Adequate amount of fresh water
Iodine solution to paint newborn's umbilical cord
Old/disposable but clean turkish towel.
Sterilized stainless steel scissors.
Soft paper roll
Pen and book for record keeping.
Bitch should be examined one week before the due date. If any abnormality is observed in mammary gland then prepare for milk replacer.


Bitches with normal hereditary record whelp normally and mostly on its own. As the time for whelping approaches, vulva enlarges and softens, white discharge becomes profuse and the food intake reduces drastically. Around eight hours before whelping, bitch may start shivering and panting. The cervix dilates and mucous gradually emerges from vulva. As the time approaches bitch starts manifesting labor pains by tearing with mouth and paws. (provide a newspaper for this). A water bag (a fine skin bag, filled with liquid and puppy) appears at the vulva at this stage - if green stained discharge appears before this water bag then it is a serious matter of concern and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. As soon as the water bag comes out, bitch breaks this and the fluid gushes out exposing the puppy in the New World. Bitch licks this puppy to clean it as well as to stimulate it to take the air. See that the nostrils get cleared at the earliest and the puppy starts breathing at the earliest. If the dams fail to do this, then you have to use your turkish towel to finish the process and welcome the puppy to this new world.
Normally next puppy should follow the previous one within 1 hour. Prolonged time in whelping accompanied by constant pain and struggle of bitch reveals a serious condition and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

After the whelping

Once whelping is over, clean the bitch, clean the room and change the bedding.
Offer good meal and plenty of water.
Don't force her to eat or drink.
Bitches have blackish or red discharge from vulva for first 36 hours, which then converts into bright red. This may continue for first few weeks. Discharge should be clean and odorless. Black, tarry, offensive discharge needs quick veterinary attention.
Observe puppies regularly for any kind of deformity. Handle them gently. Check each day to see that navels are dry and healthy. While holding, puppy should feel full and solid and should not feel chilly / hot to touch.
Observe puppies while feeding. A weakling may not be able to overpower others and get its share of diet. Assist him to do that and see that he is full.
Observe teats of bitch for normal milk flow. Puppies crying continuously indicates insufficient milk flow.
Keep an eye on bitch for Eclampsia and Mastitis.

Eclampsia:Occurs due to calcium defeciency:


Leaving puppies and hiding under furniture.

Biting nonliving things like plaster and furniture.



Cessation of movement - complete spasm.

Can be prevented by continuing calcium dosages 1 month after whelping.
A veterinarian should be consulted immediately, since if left unattended, the condition may become fatal.

Mastitis:Inflammation of udder due to physical injury or infection.

Condition may be fatal for puppies due to consumption of infected milk.

Puppies should be stopped feeding on dam. Feed puppies with milk replacer.

To avoid mastitis, trim puppy's sharp nails and maintain proper hygiene in house.

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