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Whelping and Raising Puppies
Birth to three weeks

Whelping Puppies
Four-day-old pup nursing



You can see the tongue—this shows proper latch-on.

The pups can be so strong that when the Dam stands up, they can hang on and get dragged out of the box; make sure your box prevents this.

At this stage, it is important to check for swollen teats, and make sure you put a pup on the full teats to prevent mastitis, an excess of milk that may cause the dam to become restless and uncomfortable. She may refuse to nurse her pups. You may need to draw off a little milk first to relieve the pressure, unless it is SO swollen and hot, hard and red and you think mastitis has set in. Mastitis is an infection of the milk gland. If you suspect mastitis,
see mastitis page. It is a myth to not put the pups on the infected teat. Call your vet as soon as possible, as in advanced stages you will need an antibiotic. You will need to massage and drain the teat.

Pups should start gaining right away—0 to 20 grams the first day. Watch for puppies whose weight goes down. Pups should double their birth weight at eight to 11 days.

Remember the nutritional requirements of the dam while nursing are very high. It is wise to add vitamins to the diet with larger litters, and keep the dam on high quality puppy food. A lack of fluids in the diet will lower her milk supply, so make sure there is always fresh water available.

In the first three to four weeks, the dam will totally care for the puppies. She will feed them clean them and clean up after them. Keep puppy nails trimmed so they do not tear at the dam with sharp claw tips.


Day three or four after birth

The dam may develop diarrhea, this is often from cleaning up puppy waste. A call to the vet is recommended in case it is something more serious, but usually a dose of Pepto-Bismol or two will really help. your vet for his advice and dosage. 


The dam's discharge is usually gone by 2 weeks, but can last up to 8 weeks.



Whelping Puppies


Pups should be weighed twice daily for the first few days.


Whelping Puppies

Put the pups that are slower gainers on the teats, for a head start put the smaller pups on the larger teats. If there are five pups and eight teats, then a few times a day you can make sure the smaller puppies get to drain two teats. If you do not do this, then the big puppies ALWAYS get two teats, and gain weight even more rapidly. It is intervening, but it works very well to pick up the slower puppies.

After the birth, the dam's hair always falls out while she is raising a litter. Up to 60% of it can fall out, but normally 40% does. It likely happens to help cool them; this is normal and it can come out in chunks. If too much hair falls out too fast, she could be lacking something in her diet. Sometimes you will not notice much hair at all come out. Some lose it gradually, some suddenly.


Whelping Puppies
Four-day-old pups nursing.


Whelping Puppies
Four-day-old pups nursing.


Whelping Puppies
Pups at one week; all pups have doubled their birth weights, all are equally thriving.


Whelping Puppies
Pups at one week


Whelping Puppies
Pups at two weeks…
Yep...Emily's still in love!  :)


Whelping Puppies

Pups at three weeks


Whelping Puppies

The whelping box is only good for the first three weeks, then they need a mini home which includes potty station and of course a play area too. They are now ready to start being housetrained using the Misty Method. Breeders that use the Misty Method teach their pups the concept of housetraining before they leave for their new homes.

Built by Jerry Pfeifer of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Picture of MistyTrails Marzapan and pups. Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

Built by Jerry Pfeifer of Victoria, B.C. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Picture of MistyTrails Marzapan and pups. Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

Built by Jerry Pfeifer of Victoria, B.C. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Picture of MistyTrails Marzapan and pups. Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

Built by Jerry Pfeifer of Victoria, B.C. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Picture of MistyTrails Marzapan and pups. Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

Built by Jerry Pfeifer of Victoria, B.C. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Picture of MistyTrails Marzapan and pups. Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese

At three weeks, the pups are becoming more mobile. The door from the whelping box has been removed, and they are beginning to venture out to explore and relieve themselves on a papered area twice the size of their whelp box. At this time, I keep the bed clean and smelling fresh, and only change the paper outside minimally. They learn to go outside to eliminate very quickly, as by day 21 they have developed their sense of smell, and will start to discriminate where to relieve themselves. They can now eliminate without stimulation, but the dam should still continue to clean up after them.

They are beginning to play a little with themselves and littermates, and are becoming more aware of their environment, and slightly vocal. I hear the odd attempt at a bark. I will add toys this week (no Beanie Babies or buttoned toys). At this time teeth can begin to erupt and they can begin to lap liquids, so I will also add a shallow dish of water.

This is what is needed if puppies start climbing out. Compliments of Usher. Specially designed for the Misty Method of housetraining puppies. Submitted by MistyTrails Havanese


These wire racks are for making boxes or shelves. They also work great for enclosures for puppies. Check your local super store for availability. Idea courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese.

These racks are GREAT because you can quickly step in and out without a gate, and the dam can usually jump in and out to tend to her puppies, but the puppies cannot get out.

Notice the nifty doggie door in the back left of this picture. Perfect for potty training and for the dam.

Putting a rack on top prevents puppies from jumping out

You can also make them higher for older or larger puppies.



Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese




So You Want to Breed Puppies

Pros and Cons of Inbreeding Dogs

Stages of Puppy Development

Whelping and Raising Puppies: Breeding age

Reproduction: (The Heat Cycle): Signs of Heat

Breeding Tie

Dog Pregnancy Calendar

Pregnancy Guide Prenatal Care

Pregnant Dogs

Pregnant Dog X-Ray Pictures

Full-Term Mucus Plug in Dog

Whelping Puppies

Whelping Puppy Kit

First and Second Stage of Dog's Labor

Third Stage of Dog's Labor

Sometimes Things do not go as Planned

Mother Dog Almost Dies on Day 6

Whelping Puppies Unfortunate Troubles

Even Good Moms Make Mistakes

Whelping Puppies: A Green Mess

Water (Walrus) Puppies

C-Sections In Dogs

C-Section Due to Large Dead Puppy

Emergency Cesarean Section Saves Pups Lives

Why dead puppies in utero often require c-sections

Whelping Puppies: C-section Pictures

Pregnant Dog Day 62

PostPartum Dog

Whelping and Raising Puppies: Birth to 3 weeks

Raising Puppies: Puppy Nipple Guarding

Pups 3 Weeks: Time to start potty training

Raising Puppies: Pups Week 4

Raising Puppies: Pups Week 5

Raising Puppies: Pups Week 6

Raising Puppies: Pups 6 to 7.5 Weeks

Raising Puppies: Pups 8 Weeks

Raising Puppies: Pups 8 to 12 Weeks

Whelping and Raising Large Breed Dogs

Mastitis in Dogs

Mastitis In Dogs: A Toy Breed Case

Why are Toy Breeds are Harder to Train?

Crate Training

Showing, Genetics and Breeding

Trying to Save a Fading Dachshund Puppy

Whelping and Raising Puppies Stories: Three Puppies Born

Whelping and Raising Puppies: All puppies do not always survive

Whelping and Raising Puppies: A Midwoof Call

Whelping and Raising a Full Term Preemie Puppy

Whelping Small for Gestational Age Puppy

C-Section on Dog Due to Uterine Inertia

Eclampsia is Often Fatal for Dogs

Hypocalcemia (low calcium) in Dogs

SubQ hydrating a Puppy

Whelping and Raising a Singleton Pup

Premature Litter of Puppies

A Premature Puppy

Another Premature Puppy

Pregnant Dog Absorbing Fetus

CPR Needed to Save One Puppy

Whelping Puppies Congenital Defects

Puppy with Umbilical Cord Attached to Foot

Puppy Born with Intestines on the Outside

Gone Wrong, Vet Makes it Worse

Dog Loses Litter and Starts to Absorb Puppies

Whelping Puppies: Unexpected Early Delivery

Dog whelps 5 days early due to dead pups

Lost 1 Puppy, Saved 3

An Abscess on a Puppy

Dewclaw Removal Done Wrong

Whelping and Raising Pups: Heat Pad Caution

Whelping and Raising a Large Litter of Dogs

Whelping and Raising Dogs While Working

Whelping a Messy Litter of Pups

Whelping and Raising Puppies Picture Pages

How to Find a Good Breeder

Pros and Cons of Inbreeding

Hernias in Dogs

Cleft Palate Puppies

Saving Baby E, a Cleft Palate Puppy

Saving a Puppy: Tube Feeding: Cleft Palate


Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.

C-Section in a Large Breed Dog

Newborn Puppies... What you need

Whelping and Raising Large Breed Puppies: 1 to 3 Days Old

Things do not always go as planned (imperforate anus)

Orphaned Litter of Pups (not the plan)

Raising Puppies 10 Days Old Plus +

Raising Puppies 3 Week Old Puppies

Raising Puppies 3 Weeks - time to start potty training

Raising Puppies 4 weeks old

Raising Puppies 5 weeks old

Raising Puppies 6 weeks old

Raising Puppies 7 weeks old

Socializing the Puppies

Mastitis in Dogs

Whelping and Raising Large Breed Dogs Main

Whelping and Raising Puppies, a new found respect


Whelping: Close-to-Textbook Case

Puppies' Progress Chart (.xls spreadsheet)

Cuban Mysti Puppies: Full Term Mucus Plug - 1

Cuban Mysti Puppies: Labor Story 2

Cuban Mysti Puppies: Labor Story 3

Cuban Mysti Puppies: One-Day-Old Pups 4

Easy Delivery a Day or Two Overdue


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