To avoid being caught out by a surprise canine whelping, and to ensure your bitch is properly cared for during the pregnancy, it is advisable to keep a Whelping Calendar.
The Whelping Calendar begins by keeping a record of dog breeding timing.
Especially important is the date of the first mating.
While dog breeding gestation lasts for 9 weeks (63 days), you should start monitoring your bitch for signs of your dog giving birth from 54 days after the first successful tie (mating) or date of ovulation if this is known.
A Whelping Calendar, such as the one in our ebook “The Complete Dog Breeding Guide”, will also alert you to important management events and developmental milestones throughout the pregnancy leading up to dog whelping time.
Before 54 days…
…introduce your bitch to the whelping bed so that she grows accustomed to it.
It should be in a quiet, secluded and comfortable place where you can easily access and monitor her and her puppies.
At 54 days:
• Alert your veterinarian, babysitters and helpers that dog whelping is happening soon.
• Get your whelping kit ready (as described in our “Whelping Puppies Without Problems” DVD).
• Start taking your bitch’s temperature twice a day.
Within 24 hours before the onset of whelping puppies a bitch’s body temperature drops from a normal temperature of 100 – 102.5 F (37.8-38.9 C) to 99 degrees (37.2 C) or lower.
(A whelping chart for recording and interpreting your bitch’s body temperature readings is included in “The Complete Dog Breeding Guide”).
This is one of the hallmark signs of whelping.
• Organize your workplace to cover you for your upcoming absence when whelping is imminent.
From the “54 days” point on, be alert for signs of whelping.
Apart from the sudden drop in body temperature, the bitch will begin to exhibit marked “nesting behavior” as birth approaches.
In early labor when her cervix is dilating (but before she starts straining with contractions) this nesting can become quite frenzied, with digging at her bedding, and maybe even sneaking off to some unlikely spot she deems more appropriate!
Dog Midwifery DVD:Whelping Puppies… Without Problems! Your Guide to a trouble-free dog whelping. Just AU$29.95.