4 ways to care for dogs after giving birth

Shiba pups are absolutely cute, and everyone is, for sure, looking forward to welcoming the new adorable litter to the world. But one primary thing we fur parents shouldn’t forget is that mommy Shiba also requires optimal post-partum dog care. Like human beings, there should also be care for dogs after giving birth. 

Like human mommies, dogs also need veterinary and general care during and after pregnancy. And if this is your first time becoming a fur grandparent, we have here a simple guide on how to care for dogs after giving birth. 

What to watch out for

To care for dogs after giving birth, here is a list of things you need to watch out for. 

Vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge is normal after giving birth, which might leak in small amounts for up to 8 weeks. The usual discharge is reddish-black since it is mainly old blood. 

However, if the discharge is overly bloody, has an odor, or looks like pus, have a veterinarian examine your dog immediately. 

Fever

After giving birth, your dog’s temperature might rise. It’s okay if it’s just a degree or two higher than usual. But if the temperature is over 102.5, or she appears to be sick, bring her to the vet immediately. 

Continue to check on her health and temperature around the clock for the next 7 days. 

Metritis (Inflammed Uterus)

Metritis or an inflamed uterus occurs when a placenta is left, or trauma happens during delivery. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has a fever, lack of appetite, smelly vaginal discharge, lack of interest in her puppies, or lack of milk production. 

Eclampsia (Low Blood Calcium Levels)

Eclampsia might occur during whelping and/or weeks after giving birth. It is also known as milk fever and happens when the mother’s calcium levels cannot meet the lactation demand. 

Dogs with this condition will experience: 

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spams
  • Stiff gait
  • Unusual mothering behaviors
  • Seizures 

Always talk to your veterinarian about safe calcium supplementation doses during pregnancy. 

Postpartum Care: How to care for dogs after giving birth

Mother dogs should be handled with care when pregnancy is detected, including regular check-ups and the best nutrition you can provide. However, care doesn’t stop after she has given birth to the pups. 

Here are some tips on how to care for dogs after giving birth. 

Keep her clean and well-groomed

Make sure to remove all soiled materials from the whelping box and replace it with clean, soft bedding. Repeat this as needed. 

Creating a private space for the mother and her puppies is also better. Keep them in a clean and quiet area of the house. If there is too much commotion, this might cause stress to the mom. 

After giving birth, it is normal for the mother dog to leak discharge. The discharge can appear green, black, brown, or red and this might give you the urge to bathe her. 

However, we strongly discourage you from doing so. The dog will be exhausted, and she might be anxious when separated from her newborn pups. 

Instead, use a warm, damp cloth and gently clean her. 

You can give her a sanitary cut around her tail, hind legs, and mammary glands in the following days to keep these areas clean. 

Monitor her health

Monitor her health around the clock for the next 7 days. 

In the first 24 to 48 hours, the mother dog might experience a temperature rise, just a degree or two higher than usual. 

You should also check her teats regularly and look out for redness, swelling, inflammation, and discoloration. Her milk should be white and has regular consistency.

Bring her to the vet if you notice: 

  • Excessive panting
  • Muscle tremors
  • High temperatures
  • Whining
  • Dilated pupils
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy

These are symptoms of eclampsia or milk fever when blood calcium is low after giving birth. This can occur within the first 4 weeks. 

If untreated, it can result in limb rigidity, convulsions, and death. 

Provide fresh drinking water

After giving birth to a bundle of cute pups, the mommy dog will be very dehydrated and exhausted.

Like humans, female dogs also need plenty of water to heal and to aid in producing milk after giving birth. When she is breastfeeding, make sure always to give her fresh water. 

Give her proper nutrition

Pregnant and lactating dogs need proper nutrition. You can combine carefully prepared home-cooked meals and high-quality and specific dog food to ensure the mother gets all the nutrients it needs. 

She needs balanced and wholesome meals, especially food with high-quality ingredients like chicken, rice, and milk. It is also better to choose food that is filled with energy-dense ingredients. 

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