Originally Posted by northgashepherds
I plan to breed my Vaby in the future and need some information on whelping puppies.
First things first. You need to have the whelping area set up way in advance. It should be an area way from the hustle and bustle of the house but not completely isolated. The area must be 100% draft-free. You should have a heat lamp ready for when the puppies are born (puppies cannot regulate their body temp for the first 10 days or so - you need to provide a constant temp of around 85-90 degrees F.
The whelping surface should be waterproof and easy to clean and disinfect. During whelping you will need LOTS of towels. These will give the bitch traction for pushing and make it easier for cleanup as each pup is born.
Some people like to use a plastic swimming pool for a whelping box. I don't like them because they do not protect the puppies from being pressed up against the side of the box accidentally by the bitch and suffocated. Either build one or buy one.
I like the design of this one - plenty large, a rail for protecting the puppies from the sides of the box and seats for the humans:
I have, on hand, a scale (for weighing puppies), clamps (for clamping cords), blunt scissors (for cutting cords), Iodine (for disinfecting the ends of the cut cords), a small box with a heating pad in the bottom wrapped in a towel and a towel to cover the top of the box (for moving puppies too as mom starts the next labor - keeps them from getting stepped on) and paper and pen for writing down puppies time of birth, sex, colors, weight, any anomalies and to mark when the placenta passes.
Retained placentas are not common but can be a death sentence to a bitch.
A baby bulb syringe is handy to help remove fluid from the puppies nose and mouth.
Have a couple hand towels ready in case the puppy aspirates fluid and you need to 'swing them' to remove the fluids. It's much easier (and safer) to do this with the puppy wrapped in a small towel.
Also have your cell phone there with the vet (or E-vet) phone number ready to dial.
Have something for marking the puppies. Some people use different colored ribbon, some use non-toxic paint. Make sure to write the puppies 'color' on your documentation. Have enough unique colors ready for a dozen puppies (and hope to HECK you don't have that many).
You will also need a thermometer for taking your bitches temperature. A drop in temp will indicate labor is soon to start.
Now, on to your questions.
1)What should I be doing while she is ready to give birth? Should I stay out of it or help out somehow?
I am ALWAYS right there in the thick of it. If my bitch doesn't want my help - I just watch to make sure everything is going ok, weigh and document each pup as it's born, move the puppies to the heat box while Mom is going through active labor and then move them back.
2)When should I start feeding her more? When she is pregnant or nursing?
Towards the end of the pregnancy I start giving my bitches extra food. Mine have certain cravings - like wanting extra liver - so I induldge within reason. The REAL need for additional food is after bitch - when she starts nursing.
3)If one of the puppies die, what has to be done with it?
That is completely up to you. Some people want to bury the pup, some want to have a necropsy to find out why the pup died.