Having a big dog can cause some challenges. Just a few days ago I spent hours searching for a stroller for large dogs that actually worked. They are more difficult to care for, are higher maintenance, and are more powerful and therefore harder to dominate.
If you have a large breed female dog that is expecting a litter, there are some things that you should know so that you are prepared.
First of all, realize that a large breed dog can have a lot of puppies. She will get very tired and can use your help during the whelping process. Also, it’s a good idea for someone to be with her incase something happens. You don’t want to interfere unless it’s necessary, this will aggravate her.
If your dog has a lot of fur on her stomach, you may want to trim it short to make it easier for the newborn pups to nurse.
Get your expectant dog used to sleeping in the area that you want her to whelp in. You should start having her sleep there about two weeks before the litter is expected so she will feel comfortable in that spot. It should not be near other animals or a lot of noise.
Once labor starts, most dogs know what to do and can do it without any assistance. However, sometimes it will be necessary for you to step in and help.
We had a dog give birth that had no idea what to do with the first few pups that came out. We had to assist her by getting the sac off of its face and rubbing the pup all over. Then we would place the pup back in front of her and she would take care of the cord. I don’t know why she didn’t know what to do at first, but this is one of the reasons that you will want to be present.
If your dog has a fetus that is at the vagina opening and will not come out, wash your hands and have someone muzzle the dog. Gently insert a couple of fingers into the vagina and pull the pup out. Any extra time that you take to drive to a vet can cause brain damage or death to the pup.
If a pup is born and will not breath, hold the pup in a towel with both hands with its chest against your thumbs. Firmly swing the pup up over your head while you massage the chest upward with both thumbs. I had to do this with one of my Dobermans pups and it started breathing after the fourth swing. Just be careful not to swing it out of your hands!
You should take your dog to the Veterinarian if she is in hard labor for one to two hours with no puppies.
You should keep your veterinarian’s phone number and a phone near the whelping area, just in case of an emergency.