Post Whelping Care Of Mother Dogs

After a mother dog (bitch) successfully whelps her puppies, there are specific things you as an owner want to look for to make sure both the newborns and their mother are doing well. Here are some tips on what to expect and what you should do to care for the new family.

Within twenty-four hours of birth, have the pups and mother checked by a veterinarian. The doctor will check for signs of congenital defects in the pups, such as cleft palates or limb deformities. He will also make sure the bitch’s mammary glands are producing enough milk for her babies.

He may administer an injection of oxytocin to start the uterus contracting and shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size. This will also reduce any bleeding from where the placentas were attached, and help expel any remaining material from the uterus. Mom may continue to have some discharge for up to eight weeks after birthing babies, but as long as it doesn’t smell or look foul, there is no cause for alarm.

Keep an eye on the new mother to make sure that she is caring for all her puppies and knows what to do with them. In some cases, bitches that give birth for the first time become aggressive or confused over their role, and she may lie on her puppies, accidentally crushing them.

New mothers will also need good nutrition to feed her pups, so small, frequent meals are a great idea. Her milk production will reach its peak at around three weeks after birth. She will be especially hungry at this time, so feed her puppy food for a few weeks. It has more energy per ounce than regular adult dog food so she can get plenty of nutrients without over filling her stomach.  You will also need to weight the newborn puppies regularly to confirm they are growing and getting enough milk.

Watch for any signs of  mastitis. Red, swollen, or painful mammary glands are the classic signs, but mom may also be very lethargic, feverish and off her food. Another potentially dangerous condition is metritis, an infection and inflammation of the uterus usually caused by a long or especially difficult labor.

If the mother starts to pant, tremble, or have seizures, she may be suffering from a calcium deficiency called eclampsia, which is a serious condition that needs immediate attention and treatment. It’s more common in smaller breeds of dogs, and tends to occur when pups are two to five weeks of age. This is when they’re growing fast, and drinking lots of milk. Mom puts lots of calcium into her milk, which leaves her deficient.

A vet must treat eclampsia quickly because it can be fatal. Treatment is intravenous calcium supplement, and mom may also need sedation to stop the seizures. If your bitch develops eclampsia it’s usually a good idea to wean the pups and hand raise them.

In the majority of cases, moms and pups do just fine and don’t need human intervention. Even so, be sure to keep a good eye on them so if a problem develops, you can get on top of it straight away. This will ensure the best outcome for mom and babies.

Post Whelping Care Of Mother Dogs courtesy of Dog Articles.

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How to Identify Canine Health Problems

It’s a truism that our dogs can’t talk to us.  They can’t tell us how they feel or if there is something ailing them. In fact, most dogs tend to hide ailments.  Your dog may have an injury or be in pain and you might not know it for several days unless you are paying close attention to any departure from his normal behavior.

You can learn to tell if your dog has a health problem by doing the following:

1.  Pay attention to your dog’s daily routine.  Did he finish his food?  Did he follow his usual bathroom habits?  Is he drinking his normal amount of water?  More?  Less?  All of these things can tell you important information about your dog’s health.  They are often first indicators that something may be wrong with your dog.

2.  How is your dog’s overall condition?  Has he lost weight?  Gained weight?  Is his coat shiny or is it looking bad?  Again, these are important indicators that your dog may be experiencing a change in his health.  Watch them closely.  It can be easy to miss your dog gaining or losing weight since it may happen gradually, but if your dog begins losing hair or having other skin problems, these are usually very noticeable and they can be an indication of thyroid problems, allergies or other conditions.

3.  How is your dog’s energy level?  Is he as active as he usually is or does he lie around more?  Is he lethargic?  Is he hyperactive?  A change in your dog’s energy level can indicate a change for the worse in his health.  Lethargy could be an indication of anything from hypothyroidism to heart failure.

4.  Is your dog sensitive about his ears?  Ear problems are very common with dogs, especially long-eared breeds and breeds with long hair.  Ear problems can take the form of yeast and bacterial infections.  If left untreated they can even lead to hearing lost or require surgery.

These are some of the things that are easily observable.  You can also check your dog’s gums to see if they are healthy and pink.  If they are too pale that could be an indication that your dog is not processing oxygen as well as he should — perhaps a sign of hemolytic anemia or a cardiovascular problem.

If your dog is limping for more than a few hours you may need to take him to the vet to see what the problem is.  Dogs can twist or sprain a limb the same way people can, but if your dog limps for more than just a short period of time he could have a bony growth or be feeling some form of arthritis.  Your vet would need to make the diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment.

With dogs, as with humans, there are so many possible health conditions that it’s hard to say what might be wrong with your dog just by looking at him.  However, you can usually tell by looking at a dog if something is wrong, even if you don’t know exactly what it is.

You know your dog better than anyone.  If you sense that something is “off” or just not right with your dog you should trust your instincts and take your dog to the vet.  Better safe than sorry where the health of your dog is concerned.

How to Identify Canine Health Problems courtesy of Dog Articles.

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