Useful items


Even before a bitch is mated it is good idea to supplement with wheatgerm oil as this improves fertility - add to feed
until three weeks after mating.

Folic Acid (also known as Vitamin B9) - is important in stopping several birth defects that involve neural tube, cleft palate and spinal defects.
A normal dose would be 400 mcg for a large dog, 200 mcg for a medium dog, and 50 mcg for a small dog.  You can give during the first
trimester, ie up to at least 21 days.

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.

The gestation period for puppies is approximately 61 to 65 days give or take 1 day. If it's been more than 65 days and you still don't see any whelping signs in your dog, you should speak to your vet.

Breeding to whelping takes between 55 to 70 days because male sperm can survive within the female for 7 to 9 days prior to fertilizing the egg.

You may not need everything, but for example you have a fading puppy and don't
have any puppy stim, it is readily available online, but by the time your order arrives it could be too late.

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 tablets or liquid (some breeders use vanilla ice cream and give to the bitch in between contractions,
but I see very little calcium in vanilla ice cream)

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.

From feedback, and with my own girls, I have found the majority of bitches will not touch dried kibble biscuits
when they are pregnant. I feed raw now and they don't go off their food at all, but if you find you are having
trouble getting your bitch to eat, try some wet food, something like Forthglade which has a high meat content, or
even a home cooked diet of mince and chicken with a few vegetables, and you can also give a vitamin supplement both before and
after to stimulate appetite - Nutri-plus Gel HERE or most of the online pet pharmacies HERE.

Some can be a bit off with their food for a few days after whelping, and it may be a case of letting them have
anything they will eat, I remember one of mine wouldn't eat her own food the day after she had whelped her
puppies, which was totally different to her mum who would hoover her food down, but this little madam was dribbling when she saw me
with marmite on toast, so that was it, every day she had two rounds of marmite on toast for her breakfast.


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.

You can also use a childs paddling pool for a whelping box

above - before the birth
Puppies should be ok in this area for at least two weeks when they can be moved to a puppy pen

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.

  • Pet Nap also sell a good range of essential whelping products including Welpi Puppy Milk and bottles HERE
  • Fenugreek is an herbal product that’s used to boost milk production. Use 3 capsules per day (large dog) or if it’s in another form, use about ½ of the human recommendation, sizing down for small dogs. You can expect increased production within 72 hours. You can also use Fenugreek seeds if you can grind them down. With large breeds you would need 1 heaped teaspoon of fenuregreek twice a day for at least 2 weeks.

Evaporated milk is an excellent base for your homemade puppy milk replacer. It is thick enough to mimic the dam’s natural milk, and has a high enough fat content to be nutritious. Some owners opt for more exotic bases such as goat’s milk, but evaporated milk is more readily available and easy to keep on hand. Add 3 ounces of boiled or distilled water to an empty plastic bottle, and pour in 10 ounces of evaporated milk. Add 1 cup whole fat plain yogurt, 1 raw egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon corn syrup to the bottle and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate the milk replacer between uses, and discard unused milk after seven days.

Typically a puppy will eat about 1 oz (30 mls) of puppy formula for every 8 oz of body weight (1/2 pound) in a 24 hour period.

So using the table below, divide total amount of formula needed for 24 hours into the number of feeding listed based on age.

Age of Puppy in weeks
Feedings per day

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.

Best investment for your whelping box is vet bed, I have rolls available at £22, the rolls measure approx 1m x 1.5m
Veterinary bedding keeps puppies warm and dry, avoids suffocation from blankets and towels,
and is easy to wash and dry. It will last you for years.

DOPRAM V - (Respiratory stimulant for newborn puppies)
(you need to do a google search for this product in a dropper bottle
as it is not readily available other than in injectable form for vet use only
and as fast as I post the link it becomes out of stock)

or PHYTOPET life drops or in a spray HERE



A hyper emulsified multi vitamin complex for new born puppies

Life Drops, Zolcal D and other whelping supplies HERE

Caulophyllum 30C
Assists Pregnancy and Labour. When contractions start it’s time to start giving  Caulophyllum 30C as this helps contractions and aids the actual delivery.  Keep a close eye on a bitch while she is whelping, especially if it is her first litter, but don’t interfere too much.(Can be given twice weekly during the last 2 weeks of pregnancy to assist the slackening of pelvic ligaments their by facilitating the birth). Caulophyllum will empower the uterine contractions during the second stage of labour but will also ease the dilation of the cervix during first stage.

Available at Canine Pregnancy Scanning at 20% below RRP

Phytopet Herpes Combination 30c
(Homeopathic Nosodes)

Herpes Homeopathy

Liquid tonic and revitaliser for newborn puppies and kittens

(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.

You can save money and buy your worming products direct from the online pharmacies, the most common wormers are Panacur and Drontal -
I have used Panacur paste for my litters HERE.



Pudding Recipe for Nursing Bitches

Bitches usually love this, it can be offered between puppies when they are whelping and the calcium helps with contractions and milk supply. Feed when cool or slightly warm - they can have as much of this as they want when whelping and rearing puppies.

Mix the following in a saucepan and cook on a low heat stirring until it gets to a thick custard/pudding consistency.

Half a cup of sugar
6 tablespoons of Cornstarch
Half a teaspoon of salt
4 cups of goats milk (or evaporated milk diluted with equal parts water)
4 egg yolks
3 teaspoons of vanilla essence







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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