German Shepherd Dog PregnancyHaving mated Tsara, our German Shepherd Dog bitch at the ShadowSquad breeders, we were carefully keeping an eye on her to see if she had 'taken'.
Now for the first few weeks of dog pregnancy which lasts about 9 weeks, you won't notice any difference in her behavior, we didn't with Tsara but were making sure we didn't over-exercise her as she was a very active dog.
It wasn't until about the 4th week that we knew for sure that she was 'in whelp' and carrying a German Shepherd Dog puppy litter - the dog mating was a success!
We were very pleased and excited, and started to make plans for our new German Shepherd Puppies.
We increased her food intake at about 5-6 weeks, feeding twice/ 3 times a day, with more meat and supplements, and added proteins and vitamins, and also a milk meal, and occasionally an egg which she really liked a lot.
Now at this time, it's important to continue with a regular, gentle exercise routine to keep your dog fit and healthy so she can cope with the birth of the puppies.
You should also decide where your bitch is going to have her puppies so she will be happy to whelp in the desired place. It should be quiet and secure, with no distractions and where the temperature remains fairly constant.
Although an outside warm and ventilated kennel is ideal, we wanted Tsara to be inside the house with us as normal,in order to keep an eye on her in case of any possible problems.
As the time got nearer, we built a wooden 'whelping box' which was large enough for her to stretch out in, with raised sides to keep the puppies in, but not too high so that Tsara could get over to go outside to relieve herself ( a bitch will not soil where her puppies are). We put newspapers down on the base because they are easy to remove and replace
note: a carpet base although practical might interfere with the puppies i.e. carpet strands might get caught on the bitches nipples and cause problems with the puppies feeding - you certainly don't want them choking on any loose strands.
Then we introduced Tsara to the 'whelping box' and let her explore it and waited to see if it met with her approval! It's very important that your dog is happy and contented with where you choose the 'whelping' to take place. After encouraging Tsara to get into the whelping box and have a look round, we were relieved that she seemed to accept it, and this is where she will be sleeping from now on.
Our other German Shepherd Dog Kelly (who was an ex breeding dog that we had adopted) looked on with interest, but she kept well out of the way. She seemed to know that this was Tsara's place from now on and was not going to interfere in any way.
Dog Labor SymptomsWe knew that Tsara was going to have her puppies soon because she went off her food and became restless, sometimes she looked uneasy and couldn't seem to settle down. She had enjoyed her milky drinks and the eggs that we had given her - but the time was near and now she had stopped eating, so we let her settle down in the whelping box and waited. It wasn't too much longer that her waters broke and soon after her contractions began.
The New Born Puppies ArriveShe had the first puppy at about 8.00pm, and another one about 15 minutes later. Then about an hour later, I thought I'd better take Kelly out for her night-time walk. Much to my amazement, Tsara got up and wanted to come as well!
I was shocked and told her NO - she seemed disappointed but relented and lay down again with her 2 newly born pups.
We weren't out long (about 20 minutes) and got back home quickly.
Just as well, because about 15 minutes later, Tsara had her next puppy, quickly followed by another one. So now she had given birth to 4 German Shepherd puppies which were all snuggled up beside her.
But it was about another 2 hours before she had her next puppy, and then about 10 minutes later, she had her sixth and last puppy.
Now after each puppy had been born, Tsara bit into the after birth (like a small sack) and cleared it all up, then proceeded to clean each individual puppy.
Now it was about mid-night, and after each puppy had been born and Tsara had cleaned up, my wife towel-dried each puppy and quickly inspected it to make sure it was breathing OK,
and then put it on a teat and made certain each one was suckling. note: if the newly born puppy does not appear to be breathing properly, then blow air up into his nose
Now you don't want to handle the newly born puppies too much, as soon as they are cleaned up, just make sure they are breathing alright, then put them next to their mother on one of her teats and make sure they start suckling on a teat. You want to be helping the bitch, and not interfering.
If you try to get involved more - you run the risk of the bitch deciding not to have anything to do with her puppies. Your job at the time of birth is just to make sure the puppies are OK after being born, and are in position to suckle on their mother, and don't get squashed under the bitch when she is giving birth to the next puppy.
For the next 2 days, we gave Tsara milky foods sweetened with sugar, and then from the third day - we gradually started to give her proteins, added vitamins and start to get her daily diet back to normal again. Tsara started eating like a horse to get her strength back, but still looked incredibly well.
The German Shepherd puppies weighed only about 1lbs 8 oz s at birth - tiny little bundles with their eyes shut (they wouldn't open till they were about 14 days old) and spent their whole time asleep or suckling their mother's milk.
Tsara was a much better mother to her puppies than we expected, she lay down and tended to their wants, and carefully inspected the puppies and nurtured each one.
Sometimes, she would leave them sleeping and venture out into the kitchen with us, eating and drinking then going outside to relieve herself.
As the days went by, she would increase the time out of the 'whelping box' more, and sometimes lay down near us - but always keeping alert to her puppies in case they needed her.
Tsara with her new puppies
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