I think anyone would agree that puppies are adorable, but if you have never had one, you may not know that they are also a lot of work. If you have a dog that is expecting puppies, we will provide you with puppy preparation information and tips that will assist you in taking care of your cute cuddly canines.
Puppy Preparation Includes Taking Care of Momma
If you have an expectant mother dog, you will want to make sure you are providing proper nutrition. According to veterinary experts, a dog should be given a higher protein, higher-calorie diet while they are pregnant and through the weaning process. One way to achieve this is to transition her to dog food specially formulated for puppies. Make sure to mix it with the food she is used to eating in order to avoid gastrointestinal issues.
Pregnant dogs should be transitioned to a higher-calorie diet at four weeks of gestation (about a month into their pregnancy). This can be a commercial diet labeled for pregnancy and lactation, or a diet labeled for puppies.
Don’t forget that dogs will have worms. A parasite control schedule is important for all dogs, but when breeding, it is an extra concern. Worming before breeding and 40 days into gestation and right after whelping is a basic guideline. For more information and for which wormer is recommended to use, you may want to consult with your veterinarian.
Fleas are another parasite you may be contending with. By keeping a watchful eye on the expectant momma, you can get ahead of the issue. For more information on when and how to treat pregnant dogs for fleas, consult with your veterinarian.
You should also create a quiet, comfortable “nesting” area for the mother to give birth as part of your puppy preparation. Make sure it is in a warm, dry location free from drafts. Make sure the “whelping box” is several inches high in order to keep puppies in and to avoid drafts, but also low enough for the mother to easily maneuver in and out. Make a comfortable bed by using something like an old clean blanket. It is also a good idea to keep children and other pets away from this area, as it may deter the mother from nesting there.
Puppies are coming, so be prepared for their birth. If it is your first time to have puppies, seek out someone experienced to be there with you.
Whelping Supply Checklist:
- Lots of newspaper to line the whelping box during delivery for easy cleanup and garbage bags
- Non-skid bath mats for bedding after whelping is done
- Dry, clean towels to clean the puppies
- Paper towels to help with clean up
- Thermometer to check your dog’s temperature before whelping
- Clean, sterilized scissors to cut the umbilical cords
- Unwaxed dental floss to tie off the umbilical cords
- Iodine to clean the puppies’ abdomens after the cord is cut and dab on the end of the cut umbilical cord
- Heat lamp set high above the box on one corner or hot water bottle to keep the puppies warm (be careful it isn’t too hot).
- Bulb syringe to clean puppies’ nose and mouth
- A scale that weighs in ounces
- Veterinarian’s phone number and the number of a nearby emergency clinic
Puppy Preparation for Your Home
Puppies are notorious for getting into trouble and chewing on EVERYTHING! Before the puppies arrive, make sure electrical cords are out of the way; shoes and other objects are behind closed doors; and laundry detergents, fabric softeners, cleaners, and other chemicals are not within reach. To help determine what may be a hazard, you may even want to get on your hands and knees to see your home from the puppies’ perspective.
These are just a few suggestions for preparing for new puppies. Be sure to take the mother in to see the vet prior to giving birth and don’t hesitate to have the doctor on speed dial if something goes wrong. We hope that these tips will help give you some peace of mind before the puppies arrive. As always, please leave any comments/questions and like us on Facebook.