Useful items

When whelping a litter of puppies, it is very important to be prepared, this means having what you need on hand.
Listed below are some things you should consider.

Most important - when you bitch starts to whelp, make your vet aware, in case anything should go wrong - have his number to hand
so you are not fumbling about in an emergency. Have a box and hot water bottles in case puppies are born en route or at the vets and
you have to bring newborn puppies home in the car. You may want to have the car ready 'just in case' and lined with clean towels and blankets.

Have transport arranged - if you have your own car you need to ensure it is full of fuel and you have someone to accompany you, and
you may need someone to stay at home and look after your children, if applicable. If you don't drive, ensure you have
transport arranged - not all taxi's allow pets, and definitely not one about to whelp a litter of puppies.
A lot of puppies are born in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning, some bitches seem to wait until everything is quiet, and everyone else is asleep! So if you are relying on a friend or relative, make sure they are aware and available for when the time comes.

From birth to approx 2 - 3 weeks of age, the puppies need to be in a contained area, a whelping box - with raised sides and a heat pad

Plenty of clean towels

Paper towels / hand sanitiser

Torch in case of power cut


Calcium (some breeders use vanilla ice cream and give to the bitch in between contractions)
a calcium boost will help the parathyroid gland to release a hormone from her bones to help with muscles and pushing.
Do not give calcium until after the first puppy is born.


A whelping box, is where your pregnant bitch will feel comfortable enough to safely contain her puppies during their first days and weeks after birth.
Whelping boxes are usually square, and when deciding on the overall size you should measure your dog when she is lying down and fully stretched out, then add an extra two feet to give the length and width size needed.
If you're going to put rails or barriers along the sides to protect the puppies from being crushed or stifled by the mother,
you should add an additional four inches. Some people use childrens padding pools/plastic sand pits as whelping boxes.

Don't be tempted to utilise a dog crate as a whelping box, you need access to the mother and the puppies from all
four sides.

It is a good idea to get your bitch used to the whelping box at least a week before she is due to whelp, and the whelping box
should be in a quiet place away from other animals and children so the bitch does not feel threatened.

A good whelping box is designed to protect the litter from the cold and the dangers they could face if they were able to roam free.

Any avid DIY'er can build a whelping box, you can even buy disposable cardboard ones, but if you prefer a ready made one there
are several companies that sell them online, like Pet Nap

Pet Nap also sell a good range of essential whelping products including Welpi Puppy Milk and bottles HERE

The whelping box needs to be lined, before whelping, I prefer puppy pads and put several layers of towels and old sheets on top.
Once the puppies are born I removed all used and dirty bedding and replace with clean puppy pads and vet bed which is easy to wash and dry and I change several times a day. I have tried newspapers, but I find them dirty, the puppies get covered in ink, and when wet it becomes like paper mache, whereas puppy pads soak up the urine letting it soak through leaving the top reasonably dry. I have visited a number of litters who have been kept on sheets and towels and not only can puppies get lost amongst the bedding, it is not dry and warm for them. Please invest in a few pieces of vet bed, it will last you years.

DOPRAM V - (Respiratory stimulant for newborn puppies)
(you need to do a google search for this product as it is not readily available, and as fast as I post the link it becomes out of stock)

or PHYTOPET life drops

A hyper emulsified multi vitamin complex for new born puppies

Nutri-Drops are an available liquid source of glucose, vitamin B, amino acids, vitamins A, D and E and trace minerals specially formulated
for the dog breeding industry, to provide rapid absorption of essential nutrients. 
Helps to stimulate appetite, saving chilled and stressed pups, increasing pup survival rates and minimising whelping disasters)

(Provides a source of energy and stimulate small, weak, underweight newborn or failing puppies)

(Replacement for bitches colostrum. A routine first feed for puppies during the first 36 hours of life if mum has no milk)

At 3 weeks of age, the mother will spend less and less time with the puppies and you will want to start thinking about weaning them,
and at this stage you should move them to a puppy pen.

These are bottles with a nipple made out of soft silicone to resemble the touch of mums nipple.They are very useful when mum has no milk, goes sick or you just want to top up your puppies in the case of a large litter.
£15 each
email zmayo@live.co.uk


For all your whelping and rearing supplies, including the miracle nipple for hand feeding


Liver Water - used to give a boost to weak and lethargic puppies

Boil ox liver in a cup of water for 10 minutes until the blood comes out. Strain the liquid and freeze leftover liquid in ice cube trays and keep in plastic bag. Give puppy 4 drops every two hours for 24 hours then 2 drops every two hours.



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