Rottweil Xpress / October 1989
What is her temperature? It’s normal – it hasn’t gone down. You do remember me telling you to take her temperature twice a day until the 61st day? Then do it four times a day from now on until she has her puppies.
Has she lost her appetite? No, not yet, she has been eating twice a day like you suggested.
These phone calls are not always from a first-time canine midwife; even seasoned breeders come unglued when the time approaches. It definitely is normal to be nervous. I still feel this way before each litter. I go over my checklist making sure I have everything ready. I take her temperature more than I really should. I am up all night with a flashlight watching every movement she makes. This is what should be done.
It is important to gather the necessary materials together – before you need them. A simple checklist of items will include the following:
• Lots of towels
• Lots of paper towels
• Sheets – light colored so she can see the dark pups, and so you can see the discharge
• Small rugs or pillowcases
• Box – to hold newborn pups as she delivers littermates
• Surgical gloves
• Baby bottle
• Heating Pad
• Box of Q-tips – to clean mucous from airways
• Garbage bags
• Liquid Electrolyte – K-9 Blue
• Eye Droppers
• Esbilac – Unilac, or Goat’s milk
• Record Book
• Liquid Iron – Val Fernsol, etc.
• Color-coded collars
• String & Hemostats – to tie or clamp cords and to remove placenta
• Dyne – high calorie liquid diet
As I stated in last month’s article, find a nice quiet place where your female can have her puppies. A whelping box should be made. Place adequate bedding in the whelping box. You female will do a lot of digging due to her nesting instinct; do not discourage her from doing that. The bedding should be something that can be torn up -old rags or old sheets. She must be fed twice a day and puppy food should be given. She will develop milk in her glands normally around two weeks before delivery.
A good rule of thumb to remember is this: Six to twenty-four hours before she delivers her temperature will drop to 98.2~98.80. It will go back up just before she delivers. She will stop eating.
One thing you must remember is not all bitches will react the same. I have a couple of bitches whose temperature does NOT go down. And I also have a few bitches that will still eat just before delivery. This is why everything should be put in a log book and recorded. It will make everything much easier for the next time to predict her delivery day.
Check her vaginal discharge and make sure it is always a clear or milky substance. If the bitch shows any bloody or yellow-green spotting, or early signs of labor then she may be in trouble. Consult your veterinarian.
Always keep her in a cool shady area. She must have access to fresh water. And do keep any types of chemicals away from her. Do not flea dip a pregnant female, and don’t spray any household or yard chemicals near her. I have heard of so many litters lost from these mistakes by the owner. Remember to treat your female special throughout her gestation period. It will be a very emotional time for her and you. Try to make everything as pleasant for her as possible…and with luck she will deliver some healthy puppies which will bring many joyous moments for you. Until next month…RRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG!
Article written by Evie Lynn