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Canine Color Genetics

I hope that this information will help you produce the colors of pups. I will cover a lot of info and I will always answer any questions to help you. E mail me Janet

One thing I would do is get a good pedigree program and keep track of 4 generations of color for your breeding dogs. You can google pedigree program and find many good programs, some are free and some you pay little to a lot of money.  I use  Breeders Assistant for Dogs  


This is not hard to do. I will try to keep it easy and to the point.

There are many canine genes in the DNA of each dog. I will cover only 5 genes for color and patterns.

The 5 genes are A,B,C,D and E.

A - Patterns

A- bi (black and white, blue and white, chocolate and white, pearl and white)

at- tan points (black tan white, blue tan white, chocolate tan white, pearl tan white, )

ay- sables (tan sable, blue sable)

B- Color

B - black gene

b- chocolate gene

BB (one gene from each parent) black tan whites, tan sables, black and white.

Bb (one gene from each parent) black tan whites, tan sable, black and white that has chocolate gene.

bb (one gene from each parent) chocolate tan whites, pearl tan whites, chocolate and white, pearl and white.

Note when you have a dilute gene the B will be blue and the b will be pearl. Chocolate is not a dilute gene.

C - Depth or richness of color

"C" gene permits or restricts, sometimes completely the expression of the pigment color.

C - gene full expression of pigment color like in black tan whites, black and white, blue tan white, blue and whites, chocolate tans whites, chocolate and white, pearl tan whites, pearl and whites.

cc- gene would be an albino dog with pure white in color, with pink eyes (total absence of pigment), and pink nose .

cch- gene Alone, it has little effect, but doubled ("cch cch") it can create a paler shade of color as in a black tan white dog would look like charcoal tan white. Now if you have ee gene with the cch gene the color changes. For example: lemon and Apricot. They are born white and change color as they get older. The lemon will have a black nose and Apricot will have self color nose. Lemon is not a dilute color of Apricot.

D - Dilute gene

D - gene has no effect on color.(Dd or DD) This would be your black tan whites, black and whites, tan sables, chocolate tan whites, chocolate and whites, chocolate sables.

d - gene will have an effect on color. (dd) This would be your blue tan whites, blue and whites, blue sables(blue fawn), pearl tan whites, pearl sables, pearl and whites.

E- extension or restriction of color

E- gene full extension of color : Black tan whites, black and whites, tan sable and white with black nose color. Chocolate tan whites, chocolate and white, chocolate sables with self color nose (no black any where on the dog).

ee- gene will restrict the color for example you have two puppies one is atat / B_ / C_/ D_/ E_ a black tan white and the other is a atat / B_ / C_ / D_ / ee (very rare rare Clear black tan white) the black tan white will look black tan white but the clear black tan white will look not to have the black color. Apricots, Lemons and Clear Tans will be ee.


Ebr- Brindle gene

This would be your tiger-striped pattern known as "Brindle." More information on Brindle gene at www.1st-writer.com/ColorGenetics/lesson6.htm .

To breed or not to breed

Are you going to breed your dog? Before you do
ask yourself the following questions?

1. Is it to let your kids see the miracle of birth.

2. Is it because your dog is the best dog you have

3. You think she need a litter before getting her

4. Your friend thinks your dog would make some nice

5. Do you think you will make extra money and get

6. Your dog just won Best In Show and you want to
   better the breed.

7. Your dog more than meets the standards for his/her

If you said yes to any of the questions 1 - 5. The I
would say do not breed your dog.
1. Please say no. Your little Bobby or Jane can see
   the miracle of birth(a human birth) on a Health
   channel on youtube.  Why take a chance of
   your dog having problems and needing to take a
   trip to your vet for a c-section. Do you have the
   money for the vet bill. A c-section can run you
   480.00 to 1,200.00. I should know that's what the
   two c-sections for my dogs.

   Or how would your kids feel if one of the pups is
   dead at birth or dies after birth or when the pup
   is 2 weeks old.

2. Everyone has the best dog in the world. Why is that?
   Any dog can be the best with training and love.
   And thinking your dog's puppies will be just as
   smart and the best dog in the world is just a dream.
   The only reason they would be is if they had the
   training. Trust me when I say every puppy has their
   own personality and they may not be the one your
   dog has.

3. If your vet has told you this I think it's time
   to find another vet. Some vets may say let her
   have her first heat or when she is older due to
   small size. But never because she needs a litter
   before getting fixed.

4. Will your friend give you money if your dog needs
   a c-section? Will your friend help take care of
   a sick puppy? Will your friend help find homes
   for all the puppies? Will your friend help clean
   up puppy poo? I don't know to many that will come
   over in the middle of the night to help birth a
   litter of pups. So why would you want to stress
   yourself and your family just because your friend
   thinks your dog would have some nice pups?

5. Getting rich? No No..Think you need extra food
   to keep your female in good health. Puppies will
   need puppy food around 4 to 5 weeks old. If you
   have a large litter the food bill can add up.
   Then think of the vet bill if the female needs
   a c-section or if a puppy gets sick. Then most
   states require a health check up at 8 weeks old
   before you can sale them. The what if they don't
   sale at 8 weeks old. The money to keep them up to
   date on vacs/dewormings and to update their health
   check up before the sale of the pups.

6. You have put in a lot of time and you have found a
   mate that has won Best In Show and you know your
   puppies will be show quality. This would be a good
   reason to breed.

7. Just because you think your dog meets the standards
   doesn't mean a judge at a dog show thinks the same.

Botton line is breed if you have the money, time and want
to better the breed. But never think you are going to
make lots of money.

dogs are not human

They do not reproduce to have fun or bond with a love one. The female(bitch) is only interested in breeding when in heat all other times she could care less in such activities. During the time a young bitch is becoming sexually she may try to have a relationship with a stuffed toys. Males(dog) will do the same as the puppy becomes of age. Very young dogs may try to have relationships with other dogs, bitches, toys and may even try to have one with your leg. This is sometimes a show to who is the top dog and not so much to do with breeding.

The bitch is born with all the eggs(ovum) she will ever have. Dogs are born with testes that produce sperm until the end of his life or when he has been fixed. In breeding timing is everything. Keep records of your bitch when she is in heat.  This will also help you in knowing when her next heat will be.

Now that your bitch is in heat what's next? If you don't have a stud for breeding you should have already found one that will be the best match for your bitch. You may have to pay a stud fee or give them pick of the litter, sometimes it's both a fee and pick of litter. Make sure both are up to date on vaccines and de worming.
From the first day you bitch comes into season count 10 to 14 days and bring the stud to her. Some bitches are very clean so you may miss the first few days.  If she lets him mount her she is ready. Most bitches will not let a male mount them unless their ovum is ready. They will make a tie and that could last 5 to 30 minutes. If you don't like to wait around that long(some may even go up to one hour or so) you can give them peanut butter and that will help distract them and shorten the tie. Make sure you let them tie for 5 to 10 minutes because that's  when it all happens and after that not much will go on. If for some reason your dog has missed and ends up with a fully erect penis. Take him away and let him go back to normal size. Unlike humans which need a erect penis to mate your dog is to late if he has an erect penis. His penis need to be erect during the breeding not before the breeding. After the breeding is over place both bitch and dog in an area were they can cool off. Some breeders and 
vets say to breed again in 24 hours some may say 48 hours to make sure the breeding was a good one. Some breeder say the 2nd breeding will give you larger litters. This is not true. I have one female that I only breed one time and she has 6 to 7 puppies a litter which is a big litter for a toy dog.  It's the male that will determined the size of litter from the amount of sperm that makes their way to the eggs and the health of both dogs. So if your dog has low sperm count you can breed them 3 or 4 times and still get a small litter.

Your stud

Two terms to know. Semen and sperm.
Semen refers to the entire ejaculate, which contains both sperm and prostatic fluid.
Prostatic fluid is made from the prostate gland and this fluid is how sperm is
Sperm refers only to the DNA carrying "swimmers" they will swim up stream to the
egg to penetrate the egg.

A toy size dog will ejaculate around 300-400 million sperm per ejaculate to fertilize
2-6 eggs of a toy size bitch. Your stud can ejaculate 300-400 million sperm every
day for 5 days without a noticeable loss of semen quality or libido. Studies have
shown that if a dog is collected daily for 10 to 12 weeks there will a loss of
libido. Sperm quality and quantity will begin to decline after 5 to 7 days of daily
collections. But even one hour after an ejaculation, the stud will still produce
70 to 80% of the sperm in the first ejaculation. That's still quite a significant
number of sperms. Know that the stud is only responsible for the gender of the
puppies and not the size of the litter.

Why 400 million sperm to fertize 4 eggs?
While sperm   determined and driven, they are also easily distracted
by objects other than an egg. Just about everything will kill sperm from temperature
increase in the testes of a couple degrees over normal bady temperature lasting
2- minutes. This increase of temperature will not kill the manufacture plants in
the teses but will kill the sperm that is already there. Sperm will regenerate but it
takes up to 6 weeks or so for sperm producing abilities to be at full capacity.
Repeating the insult to the testicles over time can cause permanent sterility.
Some dogs that have been taken into sterility from blow drying getting ready for a spot
in the show ring.

Other cause of increase of temperature.

Fever caused by an illness or infection.
Usually the body has protective ways by attempts to save the sperm. The dog will drop

the testicles as far from the heat source as possible. This happens on a hot day. As
the body heats up the testicles will lower and lower in an attempt to remove themselves
from the body and cool them self.

A good hot bath will cause a body temperature to increase. Show dogs that have a long
week end with a couple of good hot baths and long blow drying the rear end may cause
your boy to miss when you breed him that week.
What to do. Keep water tepid and use your hand to hold the testicles while directing
the blow dryer away from the testicles for grooming.

Other killers of sperm.

Water will kill sperm. If there is water inside the syringe used for insemination
or inside the bag that collects the sperm will upset the saline/water content of the
sperm. Water will be pulled into the sperm cells and the cells will explode.
Even using water on the vulva of a bitch prior to breeding will kill some of the

What to do. Just don't use water before breeding.
Use a normal saline solution to clean and rinse your insemination equipment and
avoid use of water on the vulva or penis at time of breeding.
Lubricants such as K-Y Jelly will kill sperm. It's water based.

Latex will kill sperm. Any touching from a latex glove will casue the death of
sperm. Never use an soft latex catheter to do artificial insemination. This will
casue the death of thousand of sperm. Make sure you only use equipment that is
latex free. Read labels making sure your equipment is latex free.  One of the
best storage/collection is the Playtex baby bottle inserts. They are clean and
very inexpensive.
Sperm are very determined in it's efforts to swin up stream to find a large smooth  round object(egg). The problem is the sperm will try to penetrate just about any large round object on the way to the eggs. If you place a drop of sperm on a slide you will see them try to penetrate an air bubble.

How do millions of sperm get distracted on the way up stream?
They spend their lifespan trying to penetrate a random red blood cell or a nicely rounded piece of smooth cellular debris.

Some just take a wroung turn and end up in a small fold of vaginal tissue.

Your bitch

As your bitch approaches the time when she is coming into season, her progesterone level slowly begins to raise. The first sign of your bitch is in season is usually bright red blood, other changes have started in her body as well. In order to prepare her for a natural breeding the delicate mucous membranes in her vagina have started the process of cornification . This means a different type of skin cell is growing and layering inside the vagina.

Females come into season around six to nine months of age. Some larger breeds may start between six to fourteen months of age. Once the bitch has come into season and that’s the beginning of puberty. In the same way that humans are not ready for parenthood at the onset of puberty, neither are dogs. With dogs you should wait until after the second heat which would be after her 1 year birthday. With larger dogs you should wait till after the second birthday because their bones are still growing until their second birthday.

If you have decided to breed your bitch. Study, join message boards, ask other breeders, talk with your vet.

Some bitches are ready for breeding by the 10th day or so and then others may not be ready until day 16. Some breeders have made a practice of breeding on days 10, 12 and 14 and that makes a lot of sense. But having scientific knowledge we begin to understand that the bitches ovulate on the average about 9 to 10 days after the first signs of her season. We also must understand that the long life span of the sperm. Knowing that the sperm live in the reproductive tract for 5 to 7 days and the eggs at least 4 to 5 days the day. This overlap of the long lived sperm to viable egg was what made days of 10, 12, and 14 a successful breeding.

Your bitch drops her eggs when her progesterone level is around 5ng/ml. After she ovulates the progesterone level will rise and start to drop after the eggs are either fertilized or dead. If they are fertilized she will need to keep her progesterone level around 5 through the 9 weeks of gestation in order to stay in whelp. You may have a bitch have a lost of litters around 50 day due to the progesterone level has drop. If this has happen to you ask your vet to check her levels and if they are low they can give you supplemental progesterone and instruct you in the use.

After your bitch has ovulated her eggs will take 2 to 3 days to ripen and live at least another 2 days. If you breed her two days prior to when she ovulates the sperm will be alive and will fertilize the eggs when they have ripened. Some times your bitch may stand and allow breeding 3 sometimes 4 days before ovulations. Then some will only allow a breeding 12 days after ovulation. In this case with such a late breeding, no pups were born.

The main points it’s all numbers and facts that are firm and set in stone.

Sperm is viable for at least 5 to 7 days

Bitches ovulate when their progesterone level reaches 5ng/ml.

The eggs live for around 4 to 5 days.

If you are planning a breeding with chilled or frozen sperm you will want to know the day of ovulation in order to produce a litter of pups.

If you are going to have your bitch shipped out for breeding or the sperm shipped in timing is critical. If you have kept careful records, you may have a good ideal when your bitch is ready or about to come into season.

If you know the time is coming for your bitch is coming into season, you should make sure she is up to date on vaccines and de worming. You may even want to have your vet do a prenatal check up. Talk with your vet about her general over all health. Sometimes what we want may not be the right thing for your bitch. Talk with your vet about taking x rays of your toy size bitches to make sure she will be able to have puppies with out a c-section. Your vet may say go ahead and breed her and have x ray done around 50 days after breeding so if a c-section is needed they can set up the c-section during normal office hours. I have had two females have c-sections after hours. One time the price was 488.00 the other time at a 24 hour Vet ER was over 1200.00. Talk with your vet about what they will charge after hours and if you don’t have the money think about saving the money up first before you breed your bitch. To wait another 6 or 12 months to make sure your bitch will get the best care is better for you and her.

Your males will know well before you do that your bitch is coming into season. Once you see red blood( which if you have a bitch that’s real clean you may miss the first few days) you can take her into your vet for a vaginal swab to look at the skin cells under a microscope. If there are many normal looking vaginal skin cells, the vet will know that the cornification has started or just beginning. Your vet may want to draw blood for a progesterone test.

Most breeders will not have to take this visit to the vet but if you are having your bitch A.I. With sperm that has been shipped you will want to know to make sure the day of ovulation.

When you know your bitch has ovulated due to her progesterone level has hit the level of 5ng/ml you can now get to the business of breeding. If you are doing a natural breeding, you can let the bitch to be with a stud and your can accurately predict the day of birth. Your litter will arrive on days 62 to 64 days after the progesterone is 5 ng/ml. Your puppies will be born 63 days after the eggs are released.

When will a litter be due?

The day that the egg was released is the first day of gestation. Not the day it was fertilized. NOT the day the bitch was bred. The puppy began its 63 day journey to birth from the day the egg was released. Some breeders may tell you their litter was born at 67 days… No it was born on day 63. The clock starts when the egg is released not the breeding. Some may even tell you their litter were premature because they were born at 57 days.. No they were born on the 63 day after ovulation. Okay to make it clear , say your bitch ovulated on Aug 4th. Her pups will be born 63 days. They will be born Oct 6th. Your stud bred her on Aug 1st , three days she ovulated. You count from that day and she would be due Oct 3rd. So when your pups are born Oct 6th you will say they were born late… No they were born on time due to the time the egg was ready.

Another myth is that when eggs are released. Some say eggs are released on one day and then some more the next day and following day, this would account for having smaller pups from the days of release. This is far from the truth. Every time a bitch has a litter the placenta has been attached in a circle around the puppy. When the placenta comes off the puppy at birth it leaves some mild scarring. So when the next egg happens to be unlucky and picks the same spot were the scarring is they will be smaller due to they simply did not receive as much nutrition as the first puppy did.

So what have we learn:

Clocks start clicking the day the egg is released, not the time of breeding.

Puppies are born on the 63rd day.

All eggs are released at the same time.

No such thing as runts or premature pups, they are small due to implantation site in the uterus.

Large pups are not overdue pups but they just had great implantation site in the uterus.

Pups are born 63 days after ovulation not the day of breeding.

Oxytocin, Calcium and Glucose

Oxytocin, Calcium and Glucose play an important role in the whelping process. They work hand in hand in the delivery of puppies.

Oxytocin is a complex hormone that has three basic actions. It’s a naturally occurring hormone manufactured in the hypothalamus gland and stored in the pituitary gland until required by the bitch. It can be synthetically produced and given as an injection to the bitch. It has several uses in the canine reproductive process. To understand just how oxytocin works you must understand the way that muscles work in the mammal.

There are two types of muscle tissue: “striated muscle”, which comprises all the muscles in your body over which you have physical control. You can walk, open a jar, pick up a ball. The other type is called “smooth muscle”. You have no control over these muscles. You can not make your uterus contract, you can not make your heart beat. When you sleep it’s the smooth muscle that keeps you breathing.

Oxytocin is a selective hormone that causes the contractibility of the smooth muscle in only two locations, the uterus and the milk glands. Terbutaline is a drug that causes the relaxation of the uterus, heart and lungs.

Oxytocin is used to increase the quality of contractions during labor by increasing frequency and duration.

Oxytocin alters the cell membrane of the uterine cells so that calcium can enter the uterine cells during labor thus causing stronger and more effective contractions.

Oxtocin is used as a clean out shot following delivery.

Oxtocin is the hormone responsible for milk letdown and milk ejection during breast feeding. As puppies nurse oxytocin is released from the mother’s pituitary gland causing contraction of the breast tissue allowing milk to be released to the puppies.

Oxtocin also causes mild uterine contractions causing the involution (return to pre-gestational size) of the uterus following delivery every time the puppies nurse for several days.

Oxytocin is produced synthetically and is used in human medicine under the name of Pitocin. This is used to induce labor in humans. It is very effective for induction in humans and mares, but has not been found to be useful in cows, ewes, does or sows. It is not known if Oxytocin can induce normal labor in a full term bitch. DO NOT USE IT TO INDUCE LABOR.

Oxytocin during labor

Oxytocin is used to facilitate more effective labor during whelping. It is responsible for the frequency and duration of the contractions. It is also responsible for the timing of the contractions. Place your hand to feel the uterine muscle as it contracts, you can get a reliable idea of when the contractions are occurring and how long they are lasting. Oxytocin is a very useful drug but it can be very dangerous if given inappropriately. Your vet will be the best resource to learn how utilize oxytocin for whelping that is safe for both mom and puppies.

Oxytocin as a ”clean out” injection:

Oxytocin is used after the whelping process as a “clean out” to cause the uterine contractions that will cause expulsion of after-delivery tissues, blood and blood clots. Recent studies have suggested that the use of oxytocin as a clean out shot is associated with prevention of mastitis in the bitch. They are much less likely to develop mastitis. Talk with your vet to provide you with oxytocin prior to whelping and how to give it to your bitch.

Oxytocin for milk ejection:

As puppies begin to nurse the pituitary gland will secrete small amount of oxytocin to encourage the milk letdown reflex and cause the ejection of milk. Oxytocin also causes mild uterine contractions that will cause involution (returning to the pre-gestational state) of the uterus and continue the clean out process. If your bitch does not get milk in you can have your vet give her 3 very small doses of oxytocin to encourage milk letdown.


Calcium is critical in the role of delivery of puppies. Decades ago it was almost unheard of for a bitch to have a c-section. Now it’s very common in many breeds. Some breeds c-sections is almost 100%. Why more c-sections? Breeders have selectively bred for certain features, like large heads combined with very small pelvises which has made c-sections necessary. The other reason that we see so many c-sections is because in an effort to do everything we can do to insure healthy moms and puppies we have supplement the bitch with Calcium. Some do it by feeding a raw meat diet, extra calcium tabs and some do it by increasing the intake of calcium rich foods during pregnancy. Many vets will recommend that you should keep her on a diet of puppy food that is very high in calcium. During the days when bitches delivered naturally most of the time fed their bitches a diet of talbe scraps, generic kibble or combination of both because that is all they had. They did not give calcium supplement just because at that time they were not available to them.

When you think of calcium most think about bones and teeth. Calcium is all about muscle contractibility. That is the most important role in our bodies. Calcium keeps our hearts beating, our legs muscles walking and your bitches uterus contracting when necessary. Calcium gives strength and intensity and oxytocin determines the frequency and duration of uterine contractions.

Calcium is stored in our bones. The release of calcium into the blood stream and regulated by the parathyroid gland. When we need extra calcium the parathyroid gland goes to work and pulls it out of the bones and puts it into the blood stream. The parathyroid gland is lazy and if someone else provides the calcium on a day to day basis it will go to sleep. So when we load our bitch down with extra calcium every day so the pup will have big strong bones the parathyroid gland will have not much to do and slacks off and no longer does much of anything. It takes a long vacation and then when the day comes for the puppies the parathyroid gland will not release the calcium to create good strong contractions. So sometimes giving extra calcium will do more harm than good and may even cause your bitch to have a c-section.

Once you have figured out that your bitch isn’t contracting as she should your vet may want to give her some oxytocin to help the contractions. Sometimes this may not help at all. When you have given to much calcium you have set her up were her body’s ability to utilize oxytocin is none. Oxytocin is the hormone that controls the rate of calcium that is allowed to enter the cells of the uterus. So the supplemented oxytocin will do no good if the parathyroid gland is on vacation. There is no extra calcium being sent into the blood stream. Think of it this way oxytocin opens the door for the calcium from the parathyroid gland and the parathyroid gland has a sign that reads gone fishing so no extra calcium is put into the blood stream to get the contractions to work.


Calsorb is a product containing calcium that is safe to use and easy to obtain on the internet. It’s a lear gel product packaged in a syringe to be given orally. If your bitch has been pushing for a while and nothing is happening you can give her about 3mls of Calsorb by mouth and it should strengthen the contractions. It isn’t unusual to see a puppy delivered within 10 minutes of given Calsorb. Calsorb doesn’t have any side effects of oxytocin and safe for mom and puppies. You should take your bitches heartbeats and keep a record. Normal heart rate should be around 130-150 beats per minute. After giving a couple of doses of Calsorb check her heart rate. If her heart beat is over 15 beats or you hear a change in normal rhythm of the heart discontinue the Calsorb. Some bitches will often throw up after taking Calsorb.


Because most bitches lose their appetites the day of delivery and sometimes go with a meal for several hours it is good to have some Nutra Stat to give to her to make sure her glucose levels stay up. You can give her Nutra Stat from time to time and it will not hurt her or the puppies. This will keep her energy level high and it will get to the puppies in utero. If a puppy has not been ale to nurse from mom for the first two hours you can tube feed half the weight of the two hour puppy mixed in ounces of Pedialyte. If a puppy weighs 6ozs you would use 3ozs of Pedialyte. Usually it’s a one time thing and will nurse from mom. If you must repeat do it every 2-3 hours and change to milk substituted such as Esbilac.


I would like you to visualize the interdependent role of each of the components of whelping: oxytocin, calcium and glucose. They have been assigned a job that requires teamwork.

Oxytocin’s job is to regulate timing and rhythm so that things move forward as they should.

Calcium’s job is the strenght of the contractions.

Glucose provides the energy and endurance for the oxytocin and calcium to work.

If you have had needs for Glucose and Calcium by giving your bitches diet and nutrition , she will usually need oxytocin as well. They all work as a team.

Talk with your vet before your bitch gives birth if you are unsure of what would be the best for her. Don’t wait till the day she is giving birth.

artificial insemination

Some reasons why a breeder may choose artificial insemination over natural breeding.

Dogs that unable to breed in a natural way due to injury. Their condition may be permanent or temporary but not an
injury that is  a genetic imperfection.

Size..Sometimes dogs and bitches are not always size compatible. Just because a male is smaller than the female is no
reason not to breed them. The male may not be able to complete the breeding. Then Artificial insemination will be the
right path to try.

Bitches that have developed crushes on specific stud  and may not let a stud that you have chosen for breeding near her.
She may aggressively inclined toward the stud and try to take his face off if he trys to mount her.

Sometimes a stud may be lukewarm on the breeding process when presented with elderly bitches or bitches who have
had known repro problems in the past.  Chances that your stud has a valid reason is a good one and only he knows the reason why not to breed. Your stud has aa amazing nose. They are not born with it and requires education and experence to develop it's nose.  A good stud will not waste his time mounting and trying to breed a bitch that does not have eggs ready for fertilization. He may not want to waste a breeding on eggs that fertilized a couple days ago. His nose will tell him if eggs are there and if they are ready for fertilize.
Your less experienced stud may be a little less reliable. Sometimes your older studs will let him know several times that the bitches are his and that his advances to them are unwelcome. This may keep your young stud not to develope the nose.

Sometimes the stud and bitch are in two places and require shipment of sperm for artificial insemination. 

Getting ready Make sure the dog has recently urinated before the collection begins. Techniques vary on the size of the dog. A 4.5lbs toy size dog and 150lbs mastiff. The general overall picture of collecting is the same. Small dogs and some medium dogs can be collected on the counter top or grooming table. Larger dogs you will have to sit on the floor with a small stool and may need two people for the collection.

Your most successful collections will be those using a teaser bitch. Most of the time the teaser bitch is the one that will be inseminated but not always.

Teaser Bitch

If your stud has already rejected the bitch that is to be inseminated, she most likely will not make a suitable teaser bitch. If you have another female in season you can use her and then inseminate the intended mom to be. If you don't have another female in seasons you still have other options. If you have a female that has a litter and nursing she may do well as a teaser bitch. You must be quick before he catches on that she only smells different because she is nursing and not in season.

Another helpful tool is to use a cotton-tipped applicator and swab them lightly around inside the vulvas of the girls who are in full-blown season and then freeze them inside a sandwich baggy. Then all you have to do is thaw them for a few minutes at room temperature and swab the rear end of the teaser bitch


The Collection Process

You can get your supplies on the internet. For the collection bag you can use a Playtex baby bottle inserts. Use the ones that is labeled “Drop Ins”. We get our A.I. Supplies from

http://leerburg.com/1074.htm .

Allow the dog to do some sniffing. If he does not mount the bitch, stroke his prepuce a few times until you feel that he is getting an erection. You may have to lift him in the mounting position to encourage him. Most of the time you will not have to do anything to get him to mount the bitch.

Once he mounts the bitch quickly place the collection bag over his penis and push the prepuce up and behind the bulb. The prepuce must be behind the bulb if not the dog can not become fully erect and the process will be very painful for him. Do not allow him to become erect inside of the prepuce.

You will be letting your hand mimic the “feel” of the vagina by holding his penis so that you can put slight pressure behind the bulb of the penis. It will help to make sure your hands are warm.

Once the dog begins the thrusting actions you are pretty assured of getting a collection. Continue holding the penis until you have collected the entire sperm fractions and some of the prostate fluid.

The prostate fluid is clear like water. The sperm fraction is very thick and milky white. When the two are mixed the semen will be cloudy but thinned out and watery. You must be gentle with it and not cause any bubbles because they will be very difficult to get out of your insemination rod.

Gently remove the collection bag from the penis and put the dog away in a safe place. Check to make sure his penis has retracted back into the prepuce.

Studies have shown that you will maximize the quantity of collection when using a teaser bitch.

Attach the syringe to the insemination rod. Pull the semen into the syringe by pulling the end of the rod into the semen in the collection bag. Holding the syringe and rod upward and with a light push out all the air from the syringe and rod pushing semen almost to the tip of the rod.

You may want to check to make sure the semen is alive and active by placing a single drop of semen on a slide and using a microscope.

Now you are ready for the Insemination process.

Make sure that the bitch has emptied her bladder prior to the insemination. With larger bitches you may need to have a second person to help. The best tool to use is an insemination rod. Some breeders use soft flexible catheters but you may have better luck with the rods and sometimes the soft flexible catheters may contain latex which will kill the sperm. Make sure your syringes are labeled “latex free”. After you have completed all the A.I.s , throw away the rod and syringe away. Do not use them on another bitch. You can clean between A.I.s by rinsing well in very hot water, followed by a rinse in normal saline solution and let them completely dry in a sunny window before using for a 2nd and 3rd time on the same bitch.

Time to make some pups

At this point you should have a syringe and insemination rod with no air bubbles. With someone hold the front end of the bitch. You may not need anyone to hold the front end if your bitch is small. Insert the rod going up into the vulva aiming towards the spine. The rod should be almost parallel to the legs. Do not insert the rod going straight into the vulva. The vulva and vagina are shaped like an upside down L. Insert until you feel it comes to the dead end, which would be up next to the spine. Then lift the rod upwards until the rod is now pointed straight into the vulva and gently move the rod forward. This is why a flexible rod is not desirable. You need the firmness of the rod to “lift” the vulva so the rod can then go straight in towards the cervix. Advance the rod into the vagina until you can not advance it any further. When you have done this a few times you will learn the correct depth for your bitch.

When you have the rod in place hold the bitch with her back legs up in the air push in the plunger of the syringe placing all the semen . Once the semen has been placed disconnect the syringe and pull one cc of air and reconnect to the syringe and push the air into the bitch. This is to clear all the semen out of the rod.

Lightly massage the vulva area. You may feel this area “clasping”. This is an indication that the bitch’s body is pulling the semen up into her uterus. Keep her in a crate for a few hours. You will repeat just like if you were using a stud, the next day or the second day after.

Birthing Box

Have your birthing box ready and let your girl get use to it around two to three weeks before puppies are due. For small/toy breeds a large box with top that can be remove during the birth of puppies. Place newspapers at the bottom and then puppy pads or towels. Make a layers so you can remove one at a time after a pup is born to keep the area clean and dry.  I have one female that will get so worried about the area being clean she will take longer to have the rest of the puppies. But if I keep the area clean she will get back to having the puppies.  Puppy pads or pads for incontinence. Some breeders even use them in the puppy pens as a potty area. They are about 36" x 36" and can be wash and used over and over.
You should have a Warming box ready so no need to have a heating pad in with Mom having the pups. The last thing you want to do is heat up the mom during birth of the puppies.

Birthing Box

Have your birthing box ready and let your girl get use to it around two to three weeks before puppies are due. For small/toy breeds a large box with top that can be remove during the birth of puppies. Place newspapers at the bottom and then puppy pads or towels. Make a layers so you can remove one at a time after a pup is born to keep the area clean and dry.  I have one female that will get so worried about the area being clean she will take longer to have the rest of the puppies. But if I keep the area clean she will get back to having the puppies.  Puppy pads or pads for incontinence. Some breeders even use them in the puppy pens as a potty area. They are about 36" x 36" and can be wash and used over and over.
You should have a Warming box ready so no need to have a heating pad in with Mom having the pups. The last thing you want to do is heat up the mom during birth of the puppies.

Warming Box and supplies.

The following supplies for a warming box.

Plastic storage box 25" x 18" x 7" cut a hole in one of the sides so you can pull the cord for the heating pad.
Heating pad about 12" x 15". Very important to keep heating pad on half of the bottom of the Plastic storage box. This way the puppies can get off the heating pad if they get to hot. Always use the lowest setting on the heating pad and check the temperature of the box. Overheating the puppies is as dangerous as allowing them to become chilled.
Thermometer to check temperature of warming box.
Bumpered crate pad 24" x 18" or small dog bed or towels with four small towels rolled up for the sides.
White wash clothes to dry puppies off. The more the better so each puppy will have 2 or 3 each.
Bulb syringe, small one for toy breeds, medium and large for larger puppies.
Prepared milk substitute.
Pedialyre(unflavored) for electrolyte replacement.
Cord care supplies: Betadine, dental floss, cotton balls and surgical scissors.
Puppy pads(incontinence pads) 36" x 36".

Place all the items in the box having it ready. When she starts her labor plug in the heating pad at the lowest setting. This way the wash clothes and pads are nice and warm for the new puppies.

Other supplies to have for a intensive care.
Feeding tubes, size 8 French is a good size for most puppies, a 10 French for larger puppies.
Syringes for using the Feeding tubes.
Black felt tipped marker to mark the feeding tubes.
I.V. fluids(Lactated Ringers).
Syringes and needles for sub-cutaneous hydration with 20-22 gauge.(I like to use a 25 gauge with toy puppies.
Rectal thermometer for checking temperatures on puppies.
Latex gloves use to handle sick puppies, always wash your hands and change your gloves before picking up another puppy.

Day of birth

Even though our bitches cannot give us a lot of verbal information, their bodies and their behaviors can tell us a lot about their laboring procedures. Of course there will be variables from bitch to bitch and whelping to whelping. I would like to share with you an ideal whelping scenario.

Because you have been taking her temperatures of your bitch and keeping record, you have already figured out that delivery is due within the next 12 to 24 hours and you are prepared. You have the whelping box ready for the mom and warming box ready for the puppies. You have all your supplies right down to vet phone numbers.

Your bitch may not eat the day of whelping. This may be your first sign of labor. She may still be drinking water. I have one bitch that will eat a full meal one hour before having pups. I have another bitch that will be happy to eat ice cream during contractions, so loss of appetite is just one more variable. Several hours prior to the actual delivery, she will start to have contractions. Her contractions will start out being rather mild in intensity and short in duration and irregular. These contractions are causing her cervix to open and thin. She knows what is happening. Always be aware that even a first time mom to be knows what is happening. They are filled with instinct and are well aware of what is happening. She has felt puppies kicking them for weeks now. They will want you with them. They will begin to be restless. If you thought she was clingy before, wait till you see how she acts when in labor.

She will have a strong urge to dig and nest. She will start this behavior about a week or more before the actual whelping date, but when she is in labor it will become much more pronounced and more frequent and much lengthier. She will dig in closets, laundry baskets, her toy box, in her whelping box, your bed, sometimes under your bed. It is best to have her in a controlled environment because she will seek out places that may be inaccessible to you like under the bed. Give her a large cardboard box filled with old clean washcloths and hand towels.

She will pant. The panting starts about the same time that the laboring process begins and is very pronounced. It isn’t because she is hot or cold. It’s simply a function of the labor process in the canine. Once she has her first puppy the panting usually stops completely. But I have had a bitch that will pant with each birth of her puppies. Once she delivers a puppy, the puppy will become her focal point and she will become less agitated, less clingy. But then my first rat terrier will get up and follow me even after having her first puppy. Make sure you give her access to water during the birthing process. All her panting will make her mouth very dry. Give small bites of glucose rich food at this time. She will be in a state of constant motion. Your bitch while in labor doesn’t usually lay quietly in the whelping box. Her heart rate is elevated, probably due to all the panting. She may circle repeatedly. She will lick her vulva. At this time she is still only contracting. She hasn’t yet begun the pushing process. Once the cervix has thinned and is open she will begin the pushing process. The first stage of labor may last for several hours. This is normal. If she appears to tire, give her oxygen using the “blow by” method. I will be covering this in New born intensive care.

Do not expect your bitches pushing behaviors to be like human delivery. We have all either delivered babies, been present during the delivery of babies or watched deliveries on TV. Remember the labor nurse counting to 10 while the patient bears down and pushes? Well this will not happen when your bitch delivers her babies. First of all your bitch can’t count. They other thing is their pushing is done in very short little doses. They may push for 2 to 3 seconds at a time. Usually they will be in a sitting position with their heads extending upwards while they give short little pushes as they push the baby from the uterine horn into the birth canal. Often you will know when the puppy has entered the birth canal because the bag of water will precede the puppy by several minutes. The bag of water may be ballooning out from the vulva. It will usually be filled with green tinged fluid. Although this is a sign of fetal distress in a human delivery, it is normal for the canine delivery. Any shade of green is bad news when it is a human baby but it is completely normal in the canine. Don’t break it, don’t touch it. Let mom take care of it own her own. She may reach back and lick it causing it to break. She may ignore it and keep pushing. Both are normal. Once the puppy is in the birth canal the bitch will usually stand on all four legs or she may remain in a sitting position. I have one female that likes to lay on her side to give birth. The puppy may be born feet or head first. Both are common in the whelping of puppies. About 40% of all pups are born feet first. The puppy may or may not be born enclosed in its little sack. If the puppy is born inside the sack you can quickly assist mom in tearing open the sack so that the puppy can begin breathing. The sac has two layers, be sure to open both. Moms usually do a pretty good job of doing this. If the puppy is born inside the sack generally it will come with the placenta as well and everything will come out together. This is normal. Sometimes, the puppy will come out of the vulva without membranous sack and without its placenta. This is also normal. You can help at this point by grasping the puppy as the puppy gently using a washcloth to give you more traction. Hold the puppy as the placenta is delivered. Don’t tug. Just support the puppy as the next contractions push the placenta forward. Sometimes the body of the puppy will be out but very close to the vulva, mom will continue to lick, turn and even lift the puppy by it’s cord as she stimulates it to breathe. She will chew the cord through, crushing the blood vessels as she does so to prevent bleeding from the cord stump. At some point following delivery put some Betadyne on the cord stump. Following the delivery of the first puppy mom will usually settle down and tend her baby until shortly before delivery of the next puppy. When a puppy nurses from the mom it stimulates uterine contractions which is useful.

It would be nice to say that your girl will know and do everything just right and you can just sit back and watch TV. But not every female will and you should know what to do at that time.

Know how to assist with cord care. It is better that the mom takes care of the cord by chewing, gnawing that will seal off the vessels in the umbilical cord. But sometimes she will pull to hard and cause umbilical hernias.

Use a good pair of surgical scissors, some dental floss and Betadine solution.

Hold the placenta up off the puppy, use a milking action down towards the puppy. Cord blood contains stem cells that are beneficial to the puppy. Tie off the cord as close to the body with dental floss and then cut the cord leaving about an inch and with some Betadine solution dab some on the cord. Always keep an eye on the cord that it does not open and infection sets in.


Reducible and Non reducible.

Reducible hernias require surgery. Non reducible hernias do not.

The non reducible hernias is the most common ones. The hernia is a little ball of tissue on the tummy that can't be pushed  or reduced back into the abdomen. It feels firm to the touch and can be moved around alittle with in the skin. The muscle wall will close over while the puppy is young trapping a small piece of fatty tissue outside of the muscle. Surgery is not needed because the muscle wall is intact. Surgery would only be for cosmetic reasons and recover time is short.  If you are having your puppy fixed this surgery could be done at that time by your vet.

Reducible hernias will need surgery. When you push on a small piece of tissue at the umbilical cord site and your finger will easily go into the abdonen. The lump of tissue is extremely soft and if you use a stethoscope you will be able to hear bowel sounds. This is because the small tissue that is protruding is actually a small piece of the bowels. This type of hernia must be repaired. If not the little loop of bowel may become entrapped in the skin and the tissues immediately under the skin will become infected and gangrenous. It will not self heal.

Just remember that you need to assess the hernia as the puppy grows. Make sure the muscle wall closes and the muscle feels firm and whole under the skin. Always talk with your vet about any hernias. 

Swinging is not for pups...

I have always been told to swing the newborn puppy to get the fluids removed from lungs. But after reading I have changed my mind on this way of clearing the fluids.
Like human babies when shaken can cause brain damage. We do not have any type of IQ test for dogs so we have no way to assess the damage that might be done by swinging a puppy. But I think that some of the pups that have been cleared of fluids by swinging may be the dogs that take forever to house train, never learn to roll over or hard to train. So the best way to clear fluids is by a bulb syringe.
How to use the bulb syringe.
The goal is to remove fluids from the throat and nostrils, not to push them further back into the lungs. Press all the air out of the bulb syringe to flatten it BEFORE placing it into the pups throat. Insert the tip into the throat and release to create a suction effect. As the puppy is awaiting delivery the lungs are deflated and filled with body fluids. The squeezing effect of the contractions of the uterus helps to remove part of that fluids. If the puppy sat too long in the birth canal he/she might not have gotten the full benefits of the squeezing effects of the contractions. If your puppy is not breathing well you can assume that large amounts of body fluids are in the lungs.
First use the bulb syringe on the back of the throat. Never suction the nostrils before the throat. Syringing the nostrils first will cause the puppy to take a breath and inhaling fluids into the lungs. After each time you use the bulb syringe empty it out onto a white wash cloth. This way you can see how much fluids you are removing and the more you use it the less fluids will come out and the puppy will become pinker and have a regular breathing pattern.
Sometimes you may have a puppy slow to breathe or "pink up" and you have used the bulb syringe with out any success, don't give up yet. You may have to give alittle mouth and mouth resuscitation on the puppy. Place your mouth over the puppy's nose and mouth and making a tight seal give the puppy two very gentle puffs. Assess the puppy and then Repeat two puffs. Gently massage the chest
while holding the puppy in a head down position to allow the gravity to assist in getting the fluids
out of the lungs. Assess the puppy and use the bulb syringe. Always keep the puppy warm by taking wash cloth out of the warming box. Work fast and make sure the puppy stays warm.
Sometimes oxygen can help. Once the puppy is gasping place the puppy in the warming box and use your oxygen in a blow by method at 1-2 liters per minute. Ask your vet to give you a prescription for Dopram and how to use it. Dopram will stimulate a puppy to start breathing. Make sure you bulb syringe to remove any loose secretions BEFORE giving the Dopram or the puppy will end up aspirating the secretions.
Read and Read, talk with your vet before the birth of the pups. The more you read the more your confidence will grow.

Cesarean Section

There are two types of c-sections. Planned and emergency. Both are performed the same way, using same general techniques and instruments but the outcome for each is often different.

When going into a planned c-section the bitch is rested, puppies are intact with their placentas in place and the outcome is frequently a positive one with resulting in live puppies and a bitch who will recover quickly.

Some breeds like Bulldogs or Boston Terriers may require a c-section due to the heads of the puppies are too large to pass through the pelvis. In human medicine that is called cephalo-pelvic disproportion or CPD. This would be considered a valid reason for a scheduled c-section. For small breeds you may want x-ray your bitch around 50 days into her pregnancy to make sure her puppies will pass through her pelvis.

Your vet may also recommend planning a c-section if your bitch has an unusually large litter for your bitch or a history of lost litters during the whelping process. Even if you plan a c-section your vet may give you instructions to allow the bitch to begin the laboring process before coming in for the surgery. First time moms may require some labor to allow the normal “hormone shower” to occur. This will help prepare your bitch for motherhood and insure that her parenting skills are triggered. Follow your vets instructions as to the timing of the surgery.

Avoid using vets who recommend spaying a bitch during a c-section. A breeder vet will recognize that each of your bitches are important to your breeding program and will assist you in the breeding and delivery of her puppies. Unless is a specific need to, such as a ruptured uterus, do not agree to a spay during a c-section even if you know that this is her last litter of puppies. The risk of bleeding increases significantly if a bitch is spayed during a c-section. The cost for a spaying later is relatively inexpensive and the life of your bitch is worth much more. Do not place your bitch in a position of unnecessary risk for excessive bleeding unless you have no other option. The removal of the uterus does not affect the production of milk, nor does a single c-section mean that your bitch will have to have repeat c-section. In the future. Most reproduction vets do not recommend that a bitch be sectioned more than three times in her lifetime.

If your bitch has labored or you know a puppy is stuck and emergency c-section is required, you may find the out come not a positive as if the c-section was planned. Your bitch will be exhausted going into a major surgery. She may not have eaten or had any fluids for several hours and may be dehydrated with her electrolytes out of balance. Placentas may have already separated from the uterine will during the laboring process and there may be dead pups. The emergency c-section may save the life of the remaining puppies but you need to be aware that both mom and puppies are compromised when the surgery is done under emergency circumstances. If you are unable to see your regular vet your bitch and puppies may be further compromised because emergency veterinary clinics do not see a lot of repro cases and are often not as skilled as you would think. This is not a reflection on the skills and abilities of the emergency vet but is simply a statement of fact. My experience has been they simply do not move fast enough and they do not listen to you. I had taken one of my bitches that had a puppy stuck, poor puppy had her head out but the body was too large to pass through to an emergency veterinary for a c-section. After waiting for about one hour they wanted to do some blood testing to see if the bitch was in good health for the c-section and it would take one hour to complete testing. All I could do was ask them and if the test comes back that she is not in good health what you are not going to do the c-section. The vet said no, we are going to do the c-section. I told her NO BLOOD TEST, just do the c-section. I was not clear to the vet about the c-section and she did spay her during the c-section. So make sure you make it clear not to spay your bitch during the c-section. By the way by not having the blood work it saved us close to 500.00 for a test that was not needed. Another thing they may not be ready to care for puppies born during an emergency c-section and you could loose some if not all your puppies.

Each vet have their preferences regarding the procedure of the surgery. Large and small dogs may be handled differently simply because of the size and manageability issue. Talk with your vet about their preferences prior to the c-section. Sometimes a vet will prefer to premedicate the bitch with sedating drug such as valium prior to intubation while others will simply use a gas mask to put your bitch to sleep and then intubate her. Two of the safer gases used are Sevoflurane and Isofluorane. Your vet will have preferences, but you should take a pro-active role and ask in advance which gases will be used during surgery. These two are highly desirable because they will leave the systems of the mother and puppies more quickly.

The bitch must be intubated for two reasons. One, intubation will protect her airway and make sure she is receiving oxygen during surgery. Two, the gases used to anesthetize the bitch during the surgery will be passed by way of the intubation tube to the lungs. One thing is certain, it is necessary to use general anesthesia for a c-section on your bitch. Do not ask your vet about local anesthesia or epidurals for use on your bitch. Your bitch must be kept quiet and still during the surgery and general anesthetic is the method used to accomplish that.

Once your bitch has been anesthetized and intubated she will be prepped for surgery. Her abdomen will be shaved, an IV will be started and then she will be placed in a positioning tray on the surgical table. The surgeon and assistant will scrub up, gown and glove prior to the surgery. You may be allowed to watch from the door way, but usually your vet will want to maintain the sterile field and may not allow you to approach the surgical area. The surgical field will be draped with sterile paper drapes and you may not be able to see anything but the actual surgical site and the head of your bitch. Even if you are not allowed to watch the actual surgery, your services may be needed to stimulate and rub puppies as they are delivered. If you know that you have a large litter you may want to bring experienced people to assist in this process. Take a warming box with you.

The surgery will begin with an incision in the middle of the abdomen starting at the umbilicus and ending at the pubis. Once the surgeon has cut through the different layers of skin, underlying tissues and muscle, the uterus can be seen. The two uterine horns are then brought out of the body of the bitch. They will hang over her sides onto the drapes. The surgeon will then make an incision in the body of the uterus being careful not to cut into the puppies inside. The goal will be to remove all the puppies through the single incision, but in an emergency, other incisions may be made quickly to remove the puppies.

After the puppies have been removed from the uterine horns, they will be handed off to vet techs, the breeder or anyone else who can assist with resuscitation of the puppies. The puppies will be under the influence of the anesthesia and will be lethargic. They will require vigorous rubbing, resuscitation and work. Vet techs who work with repro vets are wonderful in these situations and can be trusted to know how to care for your puppies. The umbilical cords will be trimmed, tied and swabbed with Betadyne or another sterilizing agent. Once the puppies are well resuscitated they will be weighed and tube fed to make sure that their glucose levels are appropriate.

As the puppies are being resuscitated the surgeon will begin closure of the wound. The uterine horns and any other abdominal structures may have been contaminated with fetal fluids and will be flushed with normal saline and placed back into the abdomen. The surgeon will close the wound in layers, with the interior layers being closed with suture material that will dissolve as the wound heals. The exterior stitches will require removal in 10 to 14 days. Don’t confuse the removal of the stitches on the canine with what is done with a human c-section. A woman who has had a c-section can have her stitches removed in 3 to 5 days and replaced with Steri Strips. The center of gravity for the bitch is quite different because she walks on all four legs with the entire weight of her abdomen on those stitches. The wound must be completely healed before the stitches can be removed. What you will need to do is carefully watch and take care of the wound area during the 10 to 14 days and watch for any signs and symptoms of infection.

Fever: Take her temperature each day for at least 10 days.

Watch for redness at the wound site.

Feel for warmth at the wound site.

Watch for smelling discharge coming from wound site or the vulva.

Clean the surgical incision site daily with hydrogen peroxide and Q-tips or cotton balls. Check carefully to make sure that hair and debris does not get into the wound area. Use clean tweezers to remove any debris that may be caught in the wound. Contact your vet if any of the signs above occur. Copious amounts of clear, pinkish or yellow fluids seeping from the wound for days after the surgery is a sign that the wound is not healing and will require a vet’s exam. If the wound is seeping large amounts of fluid and you can easily hear the bowel sounds coming from the abdomen, the interior incision of the wound may have come apart. Call your vet and describe what you are seeing and hearing. Be specific. Try to describe exactly how much fluid is seeping from the wound. What color it is, how it smells and how many little gauze pads are necessary to absorb the fluids are the things your vet will need to hear. Remember, the wound should be dry and anything else should be reported to your vet.

Your bitch will usually be able to go home with you once she is fully recovered and has been given enough IV fluids to replace everything that might have been lost during surgery. Your vet will want to make sure she is awake and the puppies do not appear to be in distress before releasing her to go home. You can almost take her home within hours following surgery. Be very wary if your vet insists on keeping your bitch and her puppies at the vet hospital. Ask questions: Who will be there with her? What is the purpose of leaving her? You know that you will be able to give her excellent care at home and unless there is a very good reason for to spend the night in the vet hospital do not allow her to do so. She may not immediately begin to lick her puppies and may not want to lie down and allow them to nurse. You may need to make a bed near her and stay with her for several hours in order to help her get settled with her new puppies. Full term puppies can usually nurse without assistance as long as you can keep the mom quiet and calm. She didn’t have the advantage of the hormonal reactions to labor and delivery of the whelps that she would have had with a vaginal delivery and she is still under the influence of the anesthesia. Stay with her and after a short period of time she will allow the puppies to nurse. After 12 to 24 hours she will begin to assume her parenting duties without your support and assistance. The bitch will have often been given a pain medication at the vet’s office and won’t require anything to be given to her for pain once she is home. Remember that most pain meds will cross the barrier into the breast milk and your puppies will receive it too, at a time when they need to be vigorously learning to nurse. First time moms may take longer to come around than an experienced mom, but most will resume the normal care of the puppies within 24 hours.

If your vet does not send you home with an antibiotic for the bitch, be sure to ask for some. It is generally accepted practice anytime following surgery in human medicine for antibiotics to be given as a prophylactic measure and can safely given to a bitch following her c-section. Ask for it as a prophylactic measure. If you are giving an antibiotic to the mom, give it exactly as ordered and give mom a small amount of plain, live-culture yogurt each day she is on the antibiotic. Put a small amount on your fingertip and give it to the pups as well each day that the mom is given the antibiotic. Antibiotics will often kill the “good” bacteria in the gut and the addition of even small amounts of live culture yogurt can replace the bacteria each day.

Following surgery your bitch may have a picky appetite for a day or so. Don’t worry too much about it at this point. Feed her foods that you know are her favorites and she will slowly being to eat normally. A little pampering now won’t create bad habits for later and mom deserves it.

Sometimes things just go bad

Sometimes things will go bad. I wish that I could tell you that you will never have problems in whelping. But I can’t, all I can do describe some of the problems and solutions that might fix the problem. Most importantly of all may be I can help you prevent some of the problems. If the solutions described here don’t work, you are going to be in the same position that I and other breeders have been in. The text book picture perfect whelping didn’t scare me to the point where I was driven to learn all I could possibly learn. It was rushing to an 24 hour ER vet with a dead puppy with her head sticking out and having a vet not willing to listen to me. The whole time at the vet it was more than cold. I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. My vet was out of state so I had no other choice. The little girl was a water puppy. (Puppy born with severe Edema (swelling, water retention). I use to breed cats and never had any problems so this was very frightening to me.

Well before your bitch is ready to whelp prepare yourself for an emergency.. Here are some things that you can have nearby to be prepared to help your bitch should you run into difficulties. First of all read all you can, talk with your vet and other breeders. Next get your supplies together. If the vet agrees that you may have a need for it, get instructions for the use of oxytocin which is a very dangerous drug. You should have your

veterinarian help you understand its administration and dosages. Here is a list of supplies that you will need to be prepared for the whelping that may present problems.

- You will need a warmed box for your puppies. Check the Warming Box of my site for supplies.

- You will need oxytocin and syringes with needles and very clear instructions from your vet as to dosage and mode of administration.

- Calsorb and a stethoscope to check mom’s heart rate.

- Oxygen and a regulator with tubing. I will be covering this in the New Born Intensive care on my site. Oxygen is synonymous with strength and endurance. Giving a laboring bitch that is fatigued will give her strength and increase the oxygen available to the pups in utero. It will protect your bitch and it can save your puppies. Turn the oxygen to 2 litters per minute and hold the end of the tubing near her mouth and nose.

- Large tube of K-Y Jelly, 20 cc syringe with a luer slip tip and a size 8 French Feeding tube.

- Lots of warmed white wash clothes. (Place them in warming box and turn on heating pad to warm wash clothes).

- Latex gloves that fit your hands and Betadyne solution.

- Nutra Sata or another sweetened product that your bitch will eat in small quantities from time to time while in labor. (Ice Cream, Pediatlyte, honey)

- Rectal thermometer. Mom’s temperature will drop to an average of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and somewhere between 8 to 24 hours prior to whelping. This drop in temperature is thought to coincide with a sharp drop in progesterone levels. Arise in the maternal temperature during labor over 103.5 should be reported to your vet, as it could be a sign of infection. Whatever has caused this temperature increase may be infecting the puppies as well. As soon as whelping is complete, notify your vet of the temperature increase.

- Keep on hand a good oral antibiotic such as Keflex or Baytril. In the event of an infection you can start the bitch on it until you can get her to the vet.

Now I will cover some basic information about whelping. I will keep terms in layman’s terms. The three stages of labor for a bitch approximate the three stages of labor in humans.

Stage one.

The first stage of labor is the time during which she will fail to eat her meals, be restless and anxious, pant continually, dig and want you near by her. Don’t worry if she throws up, this is normal. I think this is because she is in pain. During this first stage the cervix is thinning and opening. This stage may last from 4 to 12 hours but can extend to 24 hours. As long as you don’t see green discharge you will know that none of the placentas have separated and things are just fine. If she isn’t pushing you will know she is still in stage one of labor. If your bitch has exhibited all the signs of stage one but never produces a puppy, she is experiencing Primary Uterine Inertia.


Primary Uterine Inertia means that the bitch has exhibited the behaviors of a normal stage one of labor but she never pushes or delivers a puppy. Contractions but never pushes and no pups. There are several reasons for primary uterine inertia:

- Some breed have a genetic pre-disposition to primary uterine inertia.

- Some bitches have a genetic pre-disotion to primary uterine inertia.

- Litters containing only one or two puppies can cause primary uterine inertia. Whatever it is that stimulates the labor to begin and finish is sometimes lacking or inadequate to finish the job when only one or two puppies are in the uterus.

- Litters that are large can also cause primary uterine inertia. The uterus is stretched so much by the large litter that the muscle fibers are to thin to contract efficiently.

- Not enough calcium present to create strong enough contractions to expel a puppy.

- Obesity in the bitch.

- Illness or infection in the bitch.

If the bitch has failed to respond to oxytocin and calcium you may need to take her to your vet. Some of the causes of primary uterine inertia can’t be fixed. A c-section will be required to save her and the puppies life. Some causes could have been prevented and some can be helped along by the addition of oxytocin and calcium.


Stage Two

Stage two of labor is the time when the puppies are moving from the uterine horn into the birth canal and out into the world. The birth canal is the cervix, vagina and the vulva. As the puppy passes through the cervix, the cervical stretching causes a natural pushing reflex. The bitch will begin her short little pushes as the puppy passes through the cervix. Once the puppy has reached the vulva and the tissues have begun to bow outwards, the bitch will often but not always will stand up on all fours and lift her tail, hunch her back and push harder and for longer periods. If your bitch has pushed for two hours without a puppy , you are very most likely looking at a secondary uterine inertia. After one hour of pushing without a puppy you should call your vet and let them know what is going on. Take notes, describe what you are seeing and what steps you have taken to improve the quality of the labor. Your vet will appreciate the heads up and so that they can be ready for your visit. After two hours of pushing with no puppies means you need to take her to your vet. She is suffering from Secondary uterine inerita and dystocia: Contractions, pushing, no puppy.

Your bitch may have passed through stage one of the laboring process and may even have delivered some of the puppies, but has reached a point where she has pushed for one or two hours without a puppy. This is called Dystocia. The puppy simply can’t get out. Sometimes you can reach with a gloved finger rinsed with Betadyne up into the birth canal and feel the puppy. Sometimes you can see the puppy’s feet, nose or even the entire head or half the body, but the puppy is stuck. It can’t get out. Welcome to the hell known as Secondary Uterine Inertia and Dystocia and it really can be hell because you can witness the death of your puppy if you can not get the puppy out. This has happen to me and it was hell to watch. This is caused sometimes on the mother’s end and sometimes on the puppy’s end.

Here are some reasons of maternal (mom) causes of dystocia:

- Genetic pre-disposition.

- Genetic pre-disposition in specific breeds, some terriers and breeds with large heads and small pelvis size.

- Immaturity, bitch to young to have puppies.

- Previous injury to the bitch.

- Nutritional status.

- Obesity.

- Calcium Deficiency (may have been caused giving your bitch to many calcium supplements, read about calcium in the Oxytocin, Calcium and Glucose section)

- Vaginal strictures.

Sometimes the puppies are the cause and just get stuck and can’t get out. Some of the causes of fetal Secondary Uterine Inertia and Dystocia:

- Litter too large

-Litter too small

- Puppy to large

- Hydrocephalus (water on the brain has caused the head to be too large).

- Abnormal presentation: transverse(sideways), neck flexion(nose tucked into the chest instead of nose first. There are others but the result is the same.

- Two puppies trying to come down the chute at once.

- Breech (rear end firs with legs folded up toward the chest)

- CPD: Cephalopelvic disproportion: puppy’s head is too large for the bitches pelvis, this can happen in any breed but more than likely in breeds with large heads and small pelvic size.

Okay you have established that your bitch has either primary or secondary inertia. The uterus either isn’t contracting often enough or hard enough or both and we know that we have fetal dystocia. We know the puppy is there but can’t get out. What do you do?

1. Administer Calsorb orally. Three to four mils every half an hour or so as long as the bitches heart rate and rhythm are normal. Heart rate should be 130 to 150 per minute and has regular with no skipping beats.

2. Administer oxytocin by either an injection into the muscle of the back rear leg (IM) or subcutaneous under the skin around the neck and shoulders(SQ). Oxytocin has a half-life of a couple of minutes but even so it is critically important not to exceed the recommended dose of your vet. Too much oxytocin can cause uterine tetany (contraction that doesn’t end) or fetal distress by the continual squeezing of the placenta that will cut off the oxygen to the puppy’s brain.

3. If you can reach a puppy part and you feel that you can apply some traction to remove the puppy safely you can try this. Open a 20cc syringe. Pull the plunger part completely out of the syringe. Fill the syringe with K-Y Jelly. Reinsert the plunger part of the syringe and attach a size 8 French feeding tube to the end of the syringe. Gently thread the feeding tube up the vagina until you are behind the puppy. Push the plunger and insert all the K-Y Jelly into the vagina and hopefully behind the puppy. Hold your bitch up on her back legs for about 30 seconds to allow the K-Y Jelly to start down the birth canal. After this brief period, stand her with her rear end facing you and with an assistant holding her head. Then using a washcloth to give you traction, lift the puppy UPWARD to lift it over the pelvic bones and out. If the puppy is alive and the head is out you can be giving it oxygen during this entire procedure.

4. If you lived a good distance from a vet you may want to have your vet teach you about episiotomies. I would never try this. It is an extremely drastic and invasive measure, but if for some reason you can not get your bitch to your vet it may be the only way to save the puppy. Talk with your vet about this.

5. Walk your bitch. Often walking will increase the quality and quantity of uterine contractions.

6. Gently massage the uterus. GENTLY, using no more pressure than you would if you were giving a newborn puppy a back massage. Massaging the uterus will always create a contraction. If oxytocin is present and calcium levels are appropriate, massaging the uterus will set up a series of useful contractions. Remember no harder than if you were massaging the back of a new born puppy.

7. Using a gloved finger rinsed with Beadyne, reach into the vulva of the bitch and rub her vagina particularly around the area of the spine. If you reach her public bones , reach your finger over them and very gently pull them toward you. This will also stimulate a very, very strong contraction in a bitch. Stroke the top of the birth canal. This is called “feathering”.

Keep in constant contact with your vet. Your vet will appreciate being kept informed about what is happening and can give you instructions and suggestions for solutions. Tell your vet which of the seven things listed above you have tried. Describe the response you have gotten. He will know that if you haven’t gotten a response to those things then his office will have to be prepared for the emergency c-section that may be one the way. Your vet will advise you when to come in for the c-section. I think we need to cover fetal distress at this time. Myths and misconception abound about this topic. It is necessary to have a very full and correct understanding of the fetal monitoring before you utilize those techniques.

With the advent of the fetal monitoring came the term fetal distress. True fetal distress is next to impossible to detect using a stethoscope or even using a hand held Doppler. A decrease in fetal heart rate alone is not always a sign of fetal distress. In fact it rarely is. The next sections describe the things that can cause a decrease in fetal heart rate.

Variable Decelerations of Fetal Heart Tones

If the umbilical cord is compressed during the contractions, the fetal heart rate will drop dramatically. It comes right back up and is not a sign of fetal distress. These drops in fetal heart tones are called variable decelerations and they are relatively harmless. They are not subtle, they are drastic. Usually changing the bitches position for a while will make them go away. Very common, very normal, no reason for alarm. If by chance you hear these during a contraction, walk the bitch, turn her to another side and hold her with her legs in the air for a couple of minutes, a slight reposition of the puppies will help.

Early Deceleration of Fetal Heart Tones

As the contractions squeezes on the puppies head the fetal heart tones will decrease. This sort of a deceleration will mirror the uterine contraction as viewed on a monitor. The deceleration will start when the contraction starts and end when the contraction ends. Very normal, very harmless, no reason for alarm.

Late Decelerations of Fetal Heart Tones: Now this is genuine fetal distress…

The only kind of deceleration of fetal heart tones that is considered dangerous to the fetus is the kind caused by squeezing of the placenta during the contraction. If the placenta is compressed to hard for to long the puppy’s brain becomes oxygen deprived and the fetal heart rate will decrease. This decrease will begin to happen shortly AFTER the contraction has started. These decelerations of fetal heart tones end several seconds after the contraction has ended. The decrease is usually much too subtle to catch with a stethoscope or a Doppler, particularly when you are listening to the hearts of several puppies at once. I would consider it an impossible task. Sometimes it is even too subtle to see on the monitor strip without quite a lot of experience reading and interpreting fetal monitor strips. You simply cannot make important judgments based on the rate of the fetal heart tones on a litter of puppies. This human science isn’t necessarily applicable to the canine. It simply doesn’t translate well from human use to dog use. Without a fetal monitor for each puppy and a monitor strip that we can read and interpret, we can’t really and truly diagnose fetal distress in a litter of puppies.

Stage three

Stage three is the expulsion of the placenta.

New Born

New Born Intensive Care I am not a vet nor even work in a vet's office. Please take this info and go over it with your vet and get their point of view.  I think every pup born should have the best care and chance to become a healthy and happy puppy. I hope you will never have to use any type of intensive care but it's better to know about it and not use it than need to know it and don't know what to do.
Help from your Veterinarian Talk with your veterinarian before your pups are due. Ask what to do for a sick puppy and when to call them. Ask who do you call after office hours and where to go. Sometimes you may have to go to another vet's office and it's good to know how to get to their office. Some places have 24 hour vet office, they may be a little more than your vet but what will you do to save a pups life? You may even want to check out other vet offices and check on their office hours and how they could help you if you should need to use their office.

Sometimes (most of the time..LOL) we need our vet when pups are born on holidays, weekend, middle of the night or during weather that prevents you from going to your vet's office. I will cover some of the things you can do till you can get to your vet's office.  Most of the supplies you can get with out your vet's assistance and some may require a prescription from your vet and I hope your vet will help you with making sure all of your pups have the best chances of making it.

Let Mother Nature take her course...BULL I think the saying Let Mother Nature take her course is alot of Bull.
Sometimes a puppy will have what I call a bad placement within the womb. Every time a dam has a litter of pups she will have scares where the pups were in the womb so when another puppy has placement at the scared area that puppy will not get the blood supply from the dam. So that's why some pups are smaller than others.
Other things can cause a pup to be fading at birth such as the placenta tore away from his/her's body minutes before being born and has been de-oxygenated for too long and will require resuscitation more than the other pups. Both placement and placenta tore away do not have anything to do with genetics. Nor does excessive fluid in the lungs. You will have to work hard to make sure the pup makes it. I call these problems an environmental factor and not a genetic factor.
If your pup gets chilled your dam may push him/her away. Warm the pup up before placing with the dam. You can do so by placing your pup into your shirt and let your body heat warm the pup. If you warm the pup up to fast or to hot you could be doing more harm than good.
This is again an environmental factor.

Sometimes a pup is just to sick and you can't do much to save them. But try anyway sometimes the little sick ones pull right out and become very strong pups. But if they don't and you have done all you can and they don't make it don't feel bad. About 10% pups die for one reason or another.

Puppy Intensive Care Unit 1. Plastic storage box with a lid. Get one that will be a size for your breed's size of pups. a 40 quart size is good for most breeds.
2. Heating pad one with out an automatic shut off feature. Leave half of the warming box unheated. Use the lowest setting and check the temperature of the box. You never want to over heat a pup. The temperature should be 95 degrees.

3. The below is a list of supplies and equipment most you can store in your New Born Intensive Care Unit.

Supplies and equipment 1.  Feeding tubes size 8 French or size 10 for larger pups.
2.  Syringes to be used with feeding tubes.
3.  IV fluid with  Lactated Ringers(your vet may want you to use another type).
4.  Syringes and needles for sub-cutaneous hydration with 3/4" or 1" needle,20-22 gauge.
5.  Oxygen regulator.
6.  Oxygen tank full and ready to use.
7.  Thermometer to check the box temperature.
8.  Two or three white bath towels to be place over pad that's over the heating pad.
9.  Bulb syringe. I use the one that comes with the ear wax remove kit. But you may need a
     larger one for the larger pups.
10. Black marker to make marks on feeding tube.
11. Puppy Milk substitute. The ready mix is the best. Keeping it in the box will warm the milk.
12. Pediatric(human) electrolyte replacement fluid.
13. Cord care supplies: Betadine , dental floss, surgical scissors.
14. Wash clothes for small pups and hand towels for larger pups. It's good to have two per pup.
15. Extension cord for the heating pad.
Other supplies nice to have:
1.  Power inverter(plugs into a cigarette lighter so you can plug in your heating pad if you need to make a trip to your vet with the pup.)
2.  Colace for constipation(the pup not you...LOL)
3.  Kaeopectate for emergency.
4.  Dopram(you need a prescription for this.).
5.  DiaScreen urine test strips.
6.  Rectal thermometer to take pups temps.
7.  Disposable latex gloves to handle a sick puppy and make sure you wash your hands before picking up the other pups.
8.  Keflex(antibiotic) talk with your vet, he may want you to use another type.
9.  Nutra Stat nutritional substitute.
10. Karo syrup(clear).
11. Scale to take the pups weight. This way you can see if the pup is putting on weight. If not and sometimes a sick puppy will not gain weight or may even start to drop in weight. You need to know this so you know what to do next to save the puppy.

How to use a bulb syringe. When your pup is born the contractions will have a squeezing effect on the puppy pushing out the fluid and as long as the delivery goes along well the puppy will take his/her first breathe without any assistance. But if the puppy appears to be slow to breathe or gasping for air you will have to help him/her. First use a bulb syringe. I use one out of a ear wax remove kit for tots and toys. For the larger pups one from the baby section will do.

Your goal is to remove the fluids from the throat and nostrils not to push the fluids back into the lungs. Before placing the bulb syringe press all the air out till it's flatten and then place into the pups throat and then release. Take the bulb syringe and push the fluid out. You may have to do this a few times.
If it has been more than an hour between birth of pups you may want to open the pups mouth upon delivery and syringe the back of the throat. If a puppy has sat to long in the birth canal he/she may not get the full benefits of the squeezing effects of the contractions that help remove some of the fluids.
NEVER use the bulb syringe on the nostrils first. This will cause the puppy to take a breath and will inhale fluids into the lungs. ALWAYS do the throat first. Reach back into the throat and suction the fluids out. Then suction the nostrils if you see fluids coming out of them.
Use your washcloths to see how much fluid is coming out and as long as you see fluid you know you are doing it right also you will see your puppy getting pinker and a regular breathing pattern.

Sometimes you may have to give a pup that is slow to breathe or pink up and you have used the bulb syringe mouth to mouth.
Put your mouth over the puppys nose and mouth making a tight seal, give puppy a couple very very gentle puffs.  Check puppy and if you need to give a few more gentle puffs. Gently massage pups chest while holding pup in a head down position letting the gravity assist in getting the fluid out of the lungs. Keep the puppy warm by using the wash cloths you have in the intensive care unit.
NEVER swing your puppy to remove fluids from the lungs. Many breeders and I did at one time did this. But now I know this can and will do some type of brain damage just like a human baby would suffer if shaken. Just don't do it.
Oxygen can help. Use the blow by method. Ask your vet for a prescription for Dopram and how to use it before you need to. This will often stimulate a puppy to start breathing. Make sure you remove all the fluids from the lungs before using Dopram or your puppy will very well end up inhaling fluids back into the lungs.
I hope that this is all you have to do and wish you luck with your new born pups.

Cord Care If you are lucky, mom will deliver her pups and lick off the amnioctic sack and neatly chew the cord off and stimulate the baby while you watch TV. But in the real world not all moms will do this and may need assistance.
According to the books the cord care is best done by the mom who uses a chewing and gnawing action that will seal off the vessels in the umbilical cord. But in the real world some moms will not do this and will need some help. I love my dogs and their new born pups but will not start chewing on the cord for them. So my advise is buy a nice pair of surgical scissors, some dental floss and  and silver nitrate sticks(to stop bleeding). Keep it all in a zip closed plastic bag in your warming box.
Helping Mom with cord care. Some moms will get energetic about cord chewing and will not leave it alone until she has eviscerated the puppy. You may have to take the puppy away from her and move pup to the warming box and take care of cord yourself..
What to do? Hold the placenta up off the puppy and using a milking kind of action strip the blood in the cord down toward the puppy. Cord blood has stem cells that are very beneficial to the puppy which can assist the immune system. Tie off cord as close to the puppy with dental floss or you could use small hemo clamps. Leave a stump about an inch or so. Use the silver nitrate stick to stop blood. you can also use Betadine to aid in germ killing .  Leave pup in warming box at least long enough for the silver nitrate to dry.
You must watch new moms to make sure they do not cause umbilcal hernias.
From what I know and able to read about this there are two types .. umbilical hernias and inherited. They terms I want you to know is reducible and non reducible. Reducible hernias require surgery and non reducible hernias do not. The most common type of umbilical hernia is not reducible and will not require surgery. The non reducible hernia the little ball of tissue on the tummy can't be pushed back into the abdomen. It feels firm to the touch and can only be moved around a little bit within the skin. With this type of hernia the muscle wall closed over while the puppy was still young trapping a small piece of fatty tissue outside the muscle. This type of hernia is harmless. You can have this repaired but will pay for it. Most vets will not charge much while having your female fixed.
A hernia that is reducible is a true umbilical hernia and will need surgery. When you push on the small piece of tissue at the cord site your finger will go into the abdomen. You may reduce the size by pushing it back into the abdomen. The little lump of tissue is extremely soft and if you put a stethoscope to it you will be able to hear bowel sounds. This type of hernia must be repaired if not the little loop of bowel may become entrapped in the skin and tissue and become infected with nectrotic or gangrenous. It will not heal on it's own. If it becomes entrapped or strangulated  it will become life threatening and will require emergency care.
Colostrum the immune system of your puppy Colostrum is present in the mild when it first comes in. It is similar to mile but has a differnet chemical and molecular structure. It contains life-saving antibodies and nutrients that stimulte the synthesis of protein. It increases the utilization of fat, promotes cell growth and supports the immune system. All of mom's immunities will be passed to the puppy . From what I have researched there has been a slight difference of opinion about when colostrum should be ingested to provide maximum protection. Some say within the fist 12 hours and some say with in the first 24 hours.  But all are in agreement that it's less effective or not effective at all after 24 hours. You should make sure your puppies ingest colostrum or substritue within the first 12 to 24 hours to ensure you loss rate will be low.

There are times when your puppies simply cannot get colostrum without assistance. Sometimes pups are born prematurely and their suck reflex isn't present and can't nurse. Many vets will recommend to get colostrum from the mom's breast. This can be quite difficult. This requires massaging and milking type of action. You will require at least 1 cc per puppy for a toy size breed and up to 4 ccs for larger breeds. I have never done this but would think it would be like how one would milk a cow and harder than it looks. I would look more into a substitutes for colostrum.
The first method is take mom to vet and have the blood drawn from mom and have the vet spin it down to a clear serum and inject the serum into the intraperitonel cavity of the puppy's abdomen. This will work as well as colostrum. Your vet will know the correct amount needed for your specific breed. The warming box is ideal way to transport your pup or pups to the vet.
You can purchase in advance of Fresh frozen plasma or FFP from Hemopet , hemopet.org . They regularly get donated blood from greyhounds witch have univeral canine blood type and will contain immunities for all major things that a pup would get such as parvo or distemper and a large amount of larger diseases.  You must warm it up slowly by holding it next to your body. You can use the same syringe for an entire litter and not worry about cross contamination.
Several milk replacement products say that they contain colostrum. The thing is they are talking about colostrum from a cow cattle don't have the parvo or distemper as dogs do.
The only way for your puppy to get colostrum is:
1. The real thing from Mom.
2. Clear serum from mom's blood injected into the puppy.

What will you do to save a puppy?

Always keep in mind that sometimes pups will die in spite of your best efforts. Warming box, tube feedings, hydration, oxygen and trips to your vet.

Sometimes puppies get sick in the middle of the night or week ends and I hope the following information will help save your puppy(or puppies) till you can get them to your vet.

Some breeders feel it is better to let nature take its course and allow the puppy to die that the puppy  geneically infoerior or just a sick puppy.

I don't think this way. Some puppies due to their placement in the womb may have a disadvantage. The puppies placenta may have tore away right before birth which would cause the puppy needing oxygen at birth. Many other factors  can cause a puppy to fade at birth that do not have anything to do with genetics. Like if the lungs were filled with excessive fluids, you would have to work extra hard to save the puppy.

Before your litter of pups come, read and read, talk with your vet and other breeders and read and read. The more you know the better odds your puppies will have to grow up to healthy and happy dogs.
Have your warming box and supplies ready before the birth of puppies.

Normal  newborn puppy

After delivery the puppy may be limp and will be wet. After a few breaths the puppy will begin to pink up, perk up and start to get some muscle tone. Once dry the puppy will start to crawl around and crying, rooting around for something to eat. The puppy will have a strong suckling reflex and the instinctive behavior to root around for a nipple and will latch on and begin nursing. If you place the puppy on his/hers back she/he will right them self up immediately. You can also test the reflexes , tap very gently around the eyes and you should see a blink response even though the eyes are sealed.

A normal puppy will be twitchy and jerky almost all the time. The puppy should feel warm to the touch. The puppy will cry when hungry and will tire quickly and fall asleep after nursing. The puppy's birth weight should double in 8 to 10 days.

Normal Vital Signs:
Respiration rate on the day of birth: 8 - 18 irregular breaths per minute.
After the first day: 15 - 35 irregular breaths per minute.
Heart rate on day of birth: 120 - 150 beats per minute.
Heart rate first two weeks: 180 - 220 beats per minute.
Body temperature from 1 - 2 weeks 94 - 97 degrees(rectal).

If the mom dog is healthy and provides enough milk the most important thing you can do is change the bedding and check the pups. Some of the very small pups you may want to take their weight and keep a record to make sure they are putting on weight. Make sure the pups are warm and in a clean bed.