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The Birthing Process

Your mother dog will give birth about 62 days after conception, as a general rule. You will see her start to pace and pant, drinking water and perhaps digging. It is advisable to watch her closely, especially if this is her first litter, to make sure she has no problems delivering the puppies. If she does, you may want to call a veterinarian. Otherwise, she should be able to deliver the pups without complications. Once delivered, which take up to 24 hours, you will need to take special care of the mother dog. Healthy puppies from the start depend on the mother's health.

A Healthy Mother Dog

Before you even breed your dog, make sure she's had her vaccinations and is free of disease. After she has delivered, you need to make sure she eats and drinks plenty of water. Some dogs will not eat their regular dog food after giving birth. To stimulate their appetite, give them raw eggs, sugar and milk mixed together. Six eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and a quarter gallon of whole milk works well. The sugar content helps their milk production, the eggs and milk give them energy. Once you get their appetite stimulated, which may take a few days, you can start mixing their feed back into the egg mixture, or you can use canned dog food instead of dry.

Too Little Milk

Sometimes, the mother dog has too many puppies and cannot give enough milk. If this occurs, you will need to pay attention closely to the puppies' rate of growth, and you may have to supplement with bottle feeding. To check the puppies to see if they are getting enough milk, you can check by pulling the hide on the nape of the back of their neck. When you pinch it together, if it springs back in place, more than likely they are getting enough nutrients and they are all right. If it stays in place, they are getting dehydrated and need to be fed more. If this is happening, you may need to supplement bottle feedings with the litter. Depending on how much milk the mother is making, take the litter away from the mother and bottle feed them several feedings a day. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many feedings to do per day.

In The Clear

Once the puppies are growing, about three to four weeks old, they can start eating food. Take the puppy food you will be using and soak it in milk. A very good milk to use would be a milk substitue, preferrably powdered goat's milk or powdered calves' milk. Soak the food until it is mush, then pour extra milk over it. They should have no problems eating this mush, then you may decrease the milk little by little as they grow to get it to where they can eat the food by itself. Keep giving them extra milk, even when they are eating the food because this will help them with their nutrients.

Vaccinations

Most importantly is to give puppies their vaccinations. Puppies are vulnerable to life threatening diseases such as parvo and distemper. From birth, while they are still on their mother's milk, they will be protected from disease. When you start taking them off their mother, they should get their first shot. Usually between 4 and 6 weeks is ideal. Then at 8 weeks and 12 weeks they should get the following two. Ideally at 6 months and 1 year they should be getting the rest. After that, yearly vaccinations are recommended.

The Final Product

Helping the mother dog with her milk production is key to raising healthy puppies. A lot of milk means plenty of food for growing puppies. Even if you have to supplement and give extra milk during the first 6 weeks, you should be able to give your puppies the best chance to grow to the best of their capability. If you sell your puppies, a bigger puppy will sell faster and better anytime than a smaller one, even if they are both healthy. To a buyer, bigger means healthier.