Thursday, September 13, 2018

What to Expect When Your Dog is Expecting: Part 4 - Whelping and Labor

All dog are different in handling labor, there are some who can manage labor just fine through natural birth while others require a c-section. Here are all the things you need to know about dog labor.

Natural vs C-Section

You might be thinking that it’s in their nature to give birth thus automatically they can just do natural labor. It’s true! but there are dog breeds that require a c-section for a successful labor. Contrary to popular belief it’s not only small breeds that require this as we’ve had big dogs (Rottweiler) that required it as well.

If your dog is pregnant it is imperative that you consult your vet whether or not a c-section is needed, expert vets will tell you to just wait until actual labor, while newbies will immediately tell you yes if your dog is small, and no if your dog is big. In our experience, Kylie,  a chihuahua gave birth naturally, while Khaleesi, also a chihuahua, gave birth via c-section.

So how can we tell if they actually need a c-section during labor? The sooner you realize you have a problem and your dam-to-be might require a C-section, the better the odds that all will go well. Look out for the following situations, which indicate she may need veterinary help;

(1) Abnormal Vaginal Discharge 

An early green yellow discharge during the 4-8th week of pregnancy is an indicator of miscarriage

(2) Past Due Date

If your dog has passed her due date you better check in with your vet immediately, she might have had troubles giving birth.

(3) Hard Time Giving Birth

We’ve learned of experiences where the puppy was stuck midway of labor, and some dogss will try their best but they just couldn’t

(4) Long Time Intervals In Between Puppies

Once that first puppy arrives, other puppies start arriving every 10 minutes to an hour. Keep an eye on the mother if puppies don't arrive after an hour of labor. If the mother dog strains to deliver and a puppy doesn't appear within two hours, call your vet. If there's a brownish discharge from her vulva but no puppy arrives within two hours, that's another veterinary emergency; it indicates the placenta has separated from the fetus.

(5) One or More Did Not Come Out

This is why it’s important for you to know how many puppies are expected, a dog may be able to give birth naturally for the first few pups and would require c-section for the remaining pups

Signs of Labor

Temperature Drops

During the 7th week, YOU MUST, begin to take note of your dog’s temperature at noon. If you have no experience checking a dog’s temperature, you’ll need a rectal or oral thermometer, insert it in our dog’s rectal to get the temperature. The normal temperature for dogs is between 101-103.5F, when it drops bellow 100F she should be in labor in less than 24hrs.

Physical Signs

The physical signs that your dog will go into labor are;
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Nesting
  • Vomiting
  • Shivering

Some dogs do not exhibit all these signs.

Stages of Labor

Stage 1

Labor begins with the dilation of the cervix and uterine contractions. It can last between six and 18 hours. This is the stage where all or some of the physical signs mentioned before will manifest themselves.
It’s worth noting that during this stage your dog can become quite aggressive towards humans, it’s important that you don’t make any sudden movements when dealing with her and remain by her side at all time.
Once the cervix has fully dilated, Stage 2 shall commence immediately.  If she stops exhibiting the physical signs and do not proceed to stage 2, it’s best to visit your vet for c-section immediately.
Stage 2
The second stage of labor is marked with uterine contractions in force, and it is recognized active straining. As the pups are born, the mother will instinctively break the placenta surrounding the pup by licking it vigorously, or eating it and chew off the umbilical cords. If your dog is having a hard time breaking the placenta, help her by; first, gently trying to break it with your hands. Second, gently wipe the fluid away from the pup using a towel, and lastly vigorously rub the pup to stimulate circulation and breathing, This mimics the mom's licking.
You have disinfect the umbilical cord with iodine, to prevent infection. Should the umbilical cord be still bleeding you may want to clamp it or tie it with floss or thread to stop the bleeding. The placentas can also break inside their womb so count the placentas after the birthing process is done. There should be one per pup. Should you miss and you know the dam has not eaten it you will need your vet to give an oxytocin injection to help her expel it.
Labor is no walk in the park, some dogs tend to take a break, which can last up to 4 hrs before the next puppy is whelped.  If more than four hours have passed since the last puppy was whelped and you believe there are still more puppies in the dam, bring her to a veterinarian immediately.

Stage 3

Once all the puppies are born, the dam will enter the final stage of labor, which includes the full contraction of the uterus and the expulsion of any remaining fluids, blood, and placenta. You have to try your best to transfer the dam and the puppies to another warm spot temporarily as you clean their whelping box, replace all the beddings, towels and alike, then clean the box and disinfect it using alcohol. Once the alcohol smell has subside, you may return them all to the said box.
Make sure that they find their way to the dam’s mammaries for their first meal.  The first milk produced by the dam is called colostrum. It’s especially rich in antibodies and nutrients that will give the pups an immunity boost. Pups that don’t get their colostrum will be especially susceptible to contagious diseases. 
During this stage, offer the dam a small meal with some water and see if she would like to go outside for a potty break. Leave her so that nature can take its course and she can care for her pups throughout the night. Try to schedule for a check up with your vet the next day

Your Role in the Labor Process

At this point you might be asking, what else can I do? Well if your dog is undergoing c-section, there’s not much you can do but to pay the bill, it’s a different story however when it comes to natural birthing. Other than those mentioned in the stages of labor, here are some of the things you can and should do;

Stay close. most dogs even though they can get quite aggressive would want their humans near them for comfort and attention also there are instances mentioned in the stages of labor, where you’d need to send your dog to the vet for a c-section. We can’t know they need it unless we’re there with them now can we? 

Keep calm. If it’s your first time, it can be quite overwhelming, even with all the research and discussions, you can still find yourself in panic. Keep it inside, try to calm yourself, your dog can sense if you’re uneasy or panicking and it will lead to them panicking themselves.

Now that you know everything there is to know about the labor process, you can now learn about Helping The Dam With The Recovery, and Nursing the Newborn Pups

Part 1: Signs of Pregnancy, Click Here
IPart 2: Your Responsibilities, Click Here
Part 3: Stages of Pregnancy and Gestation Cycle, Click Here

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XOXO The Kardogshians

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