When I was preparing for the birth of my litter of Mini/Toy Aussie puppies, I read books, read blogs and watched videos. However, I still was not quite prepared for the event and thought I would share a few items that were very helpful along with those OMG moments. My last dog that I bred was in the late 80’s and she was an easy whelper and required absolutely no assistance.
First, I learned some very good information about preparing the whelping area from a seasoned breeder that is now my friend. She suggested buying a couple of Perla beds, one to use and one to have clean at all times. I bought mine online and searched for quite awhile to find reasonable shipping from www.thatpetplace.com. I ended up getting the large size, but truthfully, the medium would have probably been the correct size for my toy Aussie. However, since whelping, it has served as a nice containment area until the pups get up and moving around more because the sides are quite high. Again, I was told to keep the open side toward a wall or toward the pen so when mom gets out while the pups are nursing, she doesn’t drag them out with her. Good advice.
Of course, I lined the Perla bed with newspapers and then used sherpa fabric cut in pieces about 24″ x 24″ or so. I bought it at JoAnn Fabrics and cut and zigzagged the pieces before I washed them. Another terrific idea because the mom and puppies love snuggling with and under the pieces. I made enough that I can take them out and have several more to replenish until I have a full load to wash. They soak up the “stuff” and are soft and fluffy after they are washed almost like a stuffed toy. I often find the pups hidden underneath, but the fabric is lightweight enough so it’s not dangerous.
Under the Perla, I have used Drymate Whelping Box Liner I bought online on Amazon. It is lightweight and since it has a rubber backing, catches any liquid before it soaks through to my hardwood floors. Again, I bought 4 different ones so I can double up to fill out the entire space of my fenced area and have backup to wash. The liner washes beautifully and I hang outside to dry. I found that drying in the dryer didn’t work so well, but it dries overnight when hung up.
I used a small Lectro Kennel Heath Pad under one end of the Perla bed to maintain the temperature about 85-90 degrees to keep the puppies from getting chilled. Again, this worked perfectly with the addition of a Zoo Med Remote Sensor Thermostat for Reptiles to keep the temperature stable. At first I tried the temperature control that can be ordered to use with the Lectro Kennel Pad, but when my husband charted the temperatures over a 24 hour period, it was too random and I thought the temps got too hot. The Zoo Med kept the temp very stable and
Izzy’s whelping was quite eventful and luckily my husband was home to help and my breeder friend was on the phone. All Izzy’s puppies were born posterior first and they were fat little chumps. In all 3 cases, we had to give assistance by pulling on their little back feet as Izzy contracted to get them out and although it didn’t really take that long, it seemed forever for the heads to finally be out. The midsection seemed to be the part that “stuck” and try as Izzy tried, she couldn’t have done it on her own. The last delivery was an extremely large puppy, and it just took too long and we to exert too much pressure for it to survive. That was when we got very nervous for our momma and thought we might have to rush her to the vet. At the end of about 7 hours, we had two very fat and healthy Miniature or Toy Australian females puppies that will be for sale in a few weeks.
My hopes are that if I breed another of my dogs, the birthing process will be more normal. I don’t think it is common that all the pups of a litter come out backwards, but I haven’t really done the research on it.
Another hint I got from a veteran breeder opposes everything I thought I knew, plus everything the vets told me. I feed my dogs high quality 5 star food and continued to do so once my female was bred. About mid-way through, I changed her over to high quality puppy food. My breeder friend said I actually “overfed” her with nutrients which made the puppies very large and fat, making for a more difficult birth. It does make sense, and although I definitely don’t want to jeopardize the health of my female, I will rethink the feeding regimen next time to try to hit a mid-point.
With the puppies at 14 days old today, I will give their first worm medicine and also grind their little nails a bit because they are like needles. Chime, the black tri, is just starting to open her eyes and Babybell’s are open wide today and definitely bright blue.