Pregnant dams spend a lot of their time in the last week stretched out, in order to get those puppies into position.
It is wise to x-ray the dam the day or two before delivery. It is a great tool not only to show you how many, but also the sizes and positions of the pups. This x-ray was taken three days before the puppies were born.
This x-ray was taken the day before the puppies were born. You can see the one pup engaging in the birth canal. She is within 24 hours of delivery.
X-ray showing three puppies.
X-ray showing four puppies.
If you x-ray at days 55/56/57 then you will be able to see heads, spines, ribs and legs. Count the heads first, and then find a spine to go with each head. This x-ray shows six pups for sure, all of the same size, nothing to cause concern. There could be seven pups, with a possibility of eight. See below picture to help find the puppies
This picture outlines the puppies that can be seen for sure.
This picture shows a worrisome outcome. One of the puppies appears to be dead and is blocking the birth canal. A c-section will have to be performed.
A pregnant dog on day 58 in her new maternity haircut. I always shave them up clean. They will shed the hair, but this is nicer for them; you can really see the pups moving, and the nipples are nice and clean and ready... no milk yet, so it won't be today, and temp is still up.
Be VERY careful you do NOT shave off a teat.
Chamby, 7.5 weeks and Keyara, 6 weeks
Pregnant miniature Fox Terrier named Zoe. In this photo she is due any moment, and is feeling every minute of it.
As the dam prepares to whelp, she will seek out a spot that SHE likes. This may not be a spot that YOU like. Many dogs have ruined rugs and beds. You should have an area set up for her a week in advance that she can get comfortable with, and know it is a safe, quiet spot. Even in doing this, the dam often will seek out her own spot. These pictures show Misty the night before her whelping, temp dropped, and puppies expected at 2 a.m. She has decided that Emily's closet will work for her. You can see her hiding on some laundry, behind the laundry basket. She is black, so hard to see. At this time, I let her stay in there for a while, as she was relaxed and comfortable, but eventually moved her to her whelping box, which she comfortably accepted. A good warning: NEVER let your dam outdoors without 100% supervision, and use a flashlight at night at this time of pregnancy. Many dogs have been known to bolt to a private outside spot to have their puppies, never to be seen again.
Day 61—She is less active, temp dropped at 10 a.m., so that could mean within 24 hours. She is staying in her box, and really stretching out to get those puppies to move down into position. And she keeps messing up her bedding, bunching it up (not digging though). SOON... Click Here to See Photos of Moca's Labor and Birth
Below are the parents of the Moca/Chester litter, which is documented on the next several photo pages. They are Havanese dogs.
Moca, dam, owned by MistyTrails Havanese
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.