Dewclaws should be removed within 20 minutes of birth or by day five at the latest. Call your vet. I do mine myself right at birth. The extra scream from the puppy cleans it out too. I use sterile small hemostats. PLEASE do not try this on your own if you have never done it as it is a job that requires experience. You do NOT cut it off or it will bleed. You need hemostats and a nitro stick to stop the bleeding. You also do not take just the nail, or claw…you need the whole thumb. You cannot PULL it off without knowing what you are doing because you do not want to pull the tendons out of the puppy’s foot. So PLEASE, just because I do this at birth, do NOT do it unless you know exactly what you are doing. This is considered a vet's job. But experienced breeders have learned to do this, and to dock tails if their breed requires.
In this picture, the dewclaws are gone.
The discarded dewclaws and the stick you use to stop any bleeding.
The second puppy is in the birth canal.
The first puppy is put back in a warm wrap near the dam while she works on the second puppy.
Pushing out a puppy
She pushed this one out on her own at 2 a.m. (20 minutes after the first pup). A little smaller at 224 g (7.8 oz.), this one will be called "Yellow Boy." He came out with his placenta.
I get the sac off of his face.
And suction him with the blue bulb.
I give him to Mom, and WOW, she is a natural. This is her first litter, and she is a 100% awesome mommy cleaning them. This does not always happen, see links below…. This whelping is pretty textbook, but this is not always the case. I get the pups on suckling between puppies.
The third puppy is coming. I put the first two pups in a warm area…sometimes MOMMY wants in there too (LOL). Just keep moving them out of her way, but keep them in her sight.
Puppy #3 came fast, at 2:20 a.m. This one will be called "Green Boy." (So far there are three puppies, and they each came 20 minutes apart). This is because the first one was held up, and the other two were ready. This puppy is breech, but this is normal—222 grams (7.8 oz.), still big—and she did it all on her own. For many litters I have had to pull out puppies when they were breech. Always consult your vet prior to delivery because you never know what can happen! If this puppy was stuck 'head in" YOU BETTER have learned what to do and how to pull out a puppy BEFORE this happens, as it MUST come out within six minutes, or the puppy WILL BE DEAD. So, if it happens, and you don't have a clue what to do and you are presented with a stuck puppy, HEAD IN, there is NO time to get to the vet. JUST PULL, as you cannot kill a dead puppy. Maybe you will save it. There is a way to pull—toward the dam’s head. You try to touch the puppy to the dam's belly button. You do not just pull, or pull outwards. You don't pull by the feet, unless that is all you can get a hold of. Grab as much of the puppy as possible; if it’s too slippery, then wrap with a cloth, or wrap the pup with your whole hand. Try to distribute the pulling to the largest mass you can, not just a foot. Another case where a puppy had to be pulled out...
I let her push him the rest of the way; there is NO rush to intervene at this time.
ALMOST out, just one more push.... (This is sooooooooo cool!)
OKAY, he is out. Notice he is in a sac. Some breeders let their dams break the sac. I take it off NOW, fast... It's the first thing I do, as once they are out they are ready for the first breaths.
GRAB the sac, pinch it, pull it away from the puppy's face, and RIP it off as if you were biting it off. Get it GONE.
OK, sac is off, but this pup still needs to breathe. He isn't blue, but he is a little white; we need to pink him up. Notice the placenta came out with this puppy. KEEP COUNT of your placentas. You need ONE out for each puppy...KEEP TRACK!
Three pups out, two more to go... I let them nurse.
Offer the dam nice cold fresh water. Give it to her inside her box. She will not come out for it.
Keep the puppies warm.
All three puppies are nursing—all latching on—and all have their dewclaws removed. (You do not have to remove dewclaws at this point if you do not wish to.)
She is cleaning them, but she has had three very fast and will be having a rest soon...
So, the pups were born at 1:40 a.m., 2:00 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. For my breed (Havanese), I like to see pups every half hour.
At 3:20 a.m. (one hour later) I see a small contraction and I give the dam 1cc of calcium.
At 3:30 a.m. there is a gush of water (my guess is that the second horn is now ready to deliver).
An hour later, pup #4 is coming (first three pups are put aside in the warm cloth).
Pup number four is presenting a head.
The head and shoulders are out. The dam is doing well and I am standing back, letting her do her thing. If I suspected that she needed help to get this pup out, or if it was stuck, I would remove the sac. But she is doing WELL, and I will let her work on getting the pup out first.
Pup’s almost out
I get the sac off NOW!! (Pinch, pull and rip.)
At 3:35 a.m. a GORGEOUS golden red girl is born weighing 234 g (8.2 oz.). She is big! It is common for the first puppy out of each horn to be the biggest, as they get the bigger veins for nutrition, while the last ones in the horn tend to be smaller.
At 3:50 a.m., I give the dam 1cc of calcium.
Last puppy just came out without warning. One push at 4:00 a.m. This pup will be called "Blue Boy," weighing 202 g (7 oz).
Placenta was retained...but I have a hold of it. It is very important to me to not have a retained placenta, if I can help it.
Five thriving pups under the heat lamp. Get mom cleaned up a bit, and offer some more water or broth.
One girl on the left and four boys on the right
All puppies are nursing.
One-day-old pups—each pup is color-coded, as these four males are pretty similar and you need to keep track of each one for daily progress.
Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese
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.