How is the birth of the puppies? How does the mother take care of these? In which cases should we intervene? To answer these questions, here is some information and advice on farrowing.
For the owner of a bitch, her birth is the most fascinating and moving spectacle they can attend. Witnessing the end of 2 months of gestation , seeing life take shape and his adored animal transmitting it through these little beings in his image, all this gives rise to a rare mixture of emotions and feelings. Now is the time for joy and pride, but also for vigilance and care . Even if, in general, the bitch takes care of her puppies completely independently , it may happen that she needs help . You should therefore be prepared to step in if the situation calls for it.
Be ready to intervene
Puppies are generally born every 20 minutes (this interval is very variable), which theoretically gives the mother time to take care of each of them: she removes its membrane, cleans it, cuts the umbilical cord and stimulates it. . She can sometimes help him out by pulling him gently.
However, it can happen that the bitch gives birth to another young when the one before her has not yet received all this care. You must then intervene :
- By removing the membrane so the puppy can breathe. To do this, use a clean terry towel.
- By cutting the umbilical cord . To do this, use a string with which you will tie a knot 2.5 cm away from the puppy’s body. Wait a few hours, then tie another knot a little further before cutting the cord between the 2 knots using a pair of disinfected scissors.
- By cleaning the puppy with another clean terry towel (against the grain).
- By stimulating the puppy’s first breath by massaging it
Before handling the puppies, wash your hands thoroughly and always keep a disinfectant solution nearby.
The first hours after birth
From birth, puppies, deaf and blind , let themselves be guided by their mother, their instincts and their senses . They mainly rely on their flair and the attraction that heat exerts on them to evolve. Each puppy will systematically crawl towards the udders of its mother because it is attracted by the source of heat and the smell of milk .
The first 24 hours, the little ones consume the colostrum produced by their mother. This substance is vital , since it provides them with antibodies and other nutrients and immune agents to strengthen their bodies.
To read also: The heat in the bitch
What if the litter is large and not all of the puppies are suckling?
Some bitches can give birth to large litters , with many more puppies than udders. They are then able to more or less manage the situation by ensuring that each baby receives its dose of breast milk .
It is possible that the bitch will not be able to do this or that the less lively puppies will not be able to feed themselves properly, which obviously puts them in danger of death or puts them at risk of deficiencies . In this case, you must also intervene, either:
- By ensuring work-study . Try to take turns placing the puppies on the udders so that each can be fed.
- By giving special puppy formula (available from veterinarians and pharmacists) to newborns who have not been able to suck, but especially no cow’s milk that they are unable to digest.