What you should know about Breeding and Welping your Bitch
THE IN HEAT PERIOD OF THE BITCH
A Chow Chow bitch comes into season, one in every six months. Her first sign will be a bloody discharge from the vagina, this discharge lasts for approximately nine days before turning to a light pink or creamy color, it is in these next seven days that the bitch will be ready to accept a male.
Many Chow Bitches are difficult to mate, and you will need a helping hand, one person should steady the bitch’s head and it is wise to apply a muzzle to her jaws as she could give a nasty bite if frightened. Another person will be needed to steady her body and to raise her vulva so that the male can penetrate her vagina. A third person will be needed to assist the male to mount the bitch in the correct position, and to be held in that position whiles the mating occurs.
The best time to mate your bitch is from the 9th day of her discharge to the 16th day, l has found that the best Day for my bitches is the 13th day. This is when the eggs are being released from the ovaries; the sperm will find their way to the ovaries and will impregnate them. Sperm can live for a period of seven days inside the uterus before dying, -if no eggs are available to impregnate.
The last seven days (or five days) some dogs season is a little longer than other going up to 25 days, is when the bitch is going out of heat, the resting period. If you have mated your bitch at the right time, you can count forward 61 days to have the approximate time of when to expect her puppies.
If you find your bitch very unco-operative with the chosen male, it is no use wasting time, and hoping that they will mate another day, it may be to late, go directly to Artificial Insemination and be sure that your bitch gets the right amount of sperm which in 99% of the case. Artificial Insemination does work. And produces very good litters, I have personally inseminated three of my Bitches, and all have produced good healthy litters, It is advisable to breed your female only once a year, so that she is in a good condition when she has her litter -A chronic female is not a valuable breeding hitch any you do not wish to raise a litter of puppies, you should consider having her spayed, provided she is not a show dog.
The average length of pregnancy from mating to whelping is 63 days. For the first few weeks of pregnancy if a bitch is on a balanced diet and she receives sufficient but not too much exercise, then no change is necessary.
2) Weight gain, not much weight is gained in the first 4 weeks. But again it is advisable to weigh your bitch from mating and each week thereafter. A gain of 2kg could mean 1-2 puppy, but 4-5 kg might be many more, depending on their size. This is not a definite way of calculation the size of a litter but could give you a slight estimate of how many to expect, and average newborn puppy weighs about 250grams at birth.
The best way to settle you curiosity is to have your bitch X Rayed, at about the 55-58th day when the bones are sufficiently formed to be able to show the formation of the Puppies, If only one or Two puppies you may be able to see one or both clearly, but on the other hand if she has not had a bowel action during the day, one or both puppies may be super-imposed by stool in the large bowel. In a recent x-ray of my pregnant Bitch Champion Monique, one good size puppy showed up clearly, on the x-ray plate, perfectly formed, but above it was what looked like parts of another puppy but as I have said super-imposed by stool. The opinion of both vets who looked at the x-ray was that there might be another puppy or it might be just an unusual stool formation, and we would have to wait until she Gave birth.
3) A change in breasts and nipples is noticed about the 35th day, she may also show a darkening of her nipples very early in pregnancy. At about the 5th week the nipples begin to swell and stand out, they may appear very pink. As her pregnancy advances the breasts soften and enlarge until about the 50th day. Several days before whelping a watery fluid may be expressed from the nipples. In a maiden bitch, real milk will not appear until the birth of the litter.
4) Bitches usually become more serene and settled and affectionate as the pregnancy advances, but on occasions the highly-strung bitch may be more aggressive and tense. In her last few days she may be inclined to follow you all over the house, looking for attention all the time.
5) In the last week of her pregnancy the unborn puppies can often be seen or touched as they move inside the mother while she is lying down on her side in a relaxed position. Movement may not be felt in a bitch with only one puppy. Do not palpate your bitch’s abdomen for this could cause damage to the fetuses, A Vet will all ways be available to examine her.
At 28 days the Vet will be able to tell whether she is pregnant or not, by feeling for the puppies in her uterus, the puppies may be very high under her rib cage, then they will be almost impossible to detect.
If you feel carefully the abdomen up the uterine horn you may feel what feels like little marbles, these are the puppies developing, but do not press hard or be rough as you could damage or even kill them. You will find that during her forth week she may loose her appetite for a few days, but this will come back with a vengeance, and it is during this forth week that she should start having two meals a day. She will also require increased levels of vitamins and minerals, amino acids and energy. If these are not received from an adequate diet, she will get them by depleting her body reserve. As her appetite increases start offering her two meals a day, morning and evening, but make sure she has plenty of water and dried dog food available at all times. Nutritious additions to her diet should be added and these should include a high level of protein, such as cottage cheese, eggs, meat, and liver. Butter milk and goat’s milk is also very good for her. In addition to any vitamins and minerals supplement calcium for the formation of bones. Kelp or seaweed for the dark coloring on the Chow Chow tongue, and cod liver oil for their fur.
Towards the end of her pregnancy be careful that she does not become constipated, - and also watch that she does not contract gastroenteritis. Your bitch will appreciate extra attention and love during her pregnancy, but do not over indulge her and do not become neurotic about her condition, for you will find you may need the doctor yourself, allow her to continue naturally as you would yourself if you were pregnant.
Preparation for whelping should be made during the last weeks of pregnancy. Select an area away from the bustle of the household, in a spare room or somewhere where it will be quite for your bitch. If in a flat or apartment place a box for her in your own bedroom where she will be near to you when her labor begins. A large wooden box is the most advisable, lined with newspapers; the sides must be high enough to keep the puppies in and draughts out. One side can be partly cut down so as to allow the mother easy access to her baby’s -A tray with necessary supplies should be placed on a table near the whelping box or on top of it.
THIS TRAY SHOULD INCLUDE.
1. Rectal Thermometer, Towels, Hot water bottle or heating pad, covered to keep puppies warm, Paper towels and cleaning tissues. Extra newspapers for the box. Cotton tips. Vaseline, Blunt scissors for cutting cords, dental floss for tying cords iodine Small forceps to remove- membranes around puppy, Baby scale or kitchen scale. Premature or special puppy baby bottle, Bitches milk substitute or Ideal milk, available from your supermarket or Vet.
DIFFERENT STAGE’S OF PREGANCY.
Not all dogs go through these stages.
1st week. 1-7 days. She may he off her food and quite at this stage, she is still in season and it will be impossible to tell it she is pregnant.
2nd Week 8-14 days She should be eating her normal ration of food and may still have a discharge from the vulva which could be brown in color-
3rd Week Her discharge should now he turning white and you maybe able to feel small lumps in her uterus, if you know how to palpate her properly. If not a vet will be able to tell you for sure during her forth week, She should he eating her normal food as well as extra milk every day.
4th Week 22-27 Days She may still have a slight white discharge, and you sill find that she will now become fussy over what she eats; she will also have morning sickness.
5th Week 28.35 days. Her abdomen may look slightly enlarged and her nipples may look bigger and harder. She may still be suffering from the various bout of morning sickness, and may still not he interested in plain dog food, treat her to more tasty food from this week onwards•
36-42 days She should now start eating more than her normal ration, and you should be able to see an increase in her girth. She will also be very protective of herself and may attack other dogs; it is best that she is kept separated from them.
7th Week 43-49 days. Eating well and looking pregnant, her coat should be in perfect Condition and she herself should be in excellent health.
8th Week 49*55 days She is now looking very large and heavy, her breasts should be well formed and fluid may be expressed towards the end of this week. Exercise is important throughout her pregnancy. She should be eating very well.
56-63 days She may not be very interested in her food during this last week, and it is best to feed her a light diet, she will also start looking for a nesting place in which to give birth. Best to provide her with a strong whelping box and lots of newspapers. She will be very heavy, and tire very easily. Her breasts will have milk and she will go into labor and give birth to her puppies.
RASPBERRY LEAF THE WONDER PLANT FOR IN WHELP BITHCES.
When it was established that my bitch was pregnant, I decided to try the ancient birth remedy of feeding her Raspberry leaf with all her meals. The reason for this is that the Raspberry leaf which is available from any health shop softens the tissues of the vagina and cervix, therefore allowing an almost pain and problem free birth. It also helps to provide more oxygen to the placentas and thence to the unborn puppies. This in turn makes them stronger and more able to cope with the elements outside the uterus, once my bitch started her early labor she took it very easy. "I was the anxious one who paced the floor all night and got no sleep at all" She started to make her nest at about 4pm on the 3rd July, during the night she was at times restless, but most off the time she relaxed and tried to sleep, during her wake full periods I fed her on Honey, Milk, and Raspberry leaf. "Lady" produced her first healthy bitch puppy at 6.25am on the 4th July, She did not scream in pain and the puppy was Born with no difficulty at all, the next four followed in very quick succession with about 20 minutes to each birth, her fifth puppy arrived at about 8.55am. She then rested for two hours, knowing that she still could give birth to another puppy I gave her another drink of Honey and Raspberry and Milk, and the last most beautiful puppy born in the litter arrived at 10am. This was the largest puppy born in the litter. Now that all the births were over another dose of the above with extra calcium this time, to help her to rid her self of any retained placentas.
Today my puppies are a day old, they are healthy and sucking well, their color is good and their temperatures are normal. Mum has plenty of milk to feed them. I can only recommend Raspberry leaves to all those who have had problems in their breeding pattern. Hopefully your bitch may not have to have a Caesarean the next time and that all your puppies will be born alive and healthy. So please give Raspberry leaves a place in your home, next time you are expecting a litter and may all your problems he healthy little ones. "This also works on the pregnant human as well making birth very much easier and far less painful.
A few days before whelping you will possibly he able to extract a few drops of liquid from the* bitches breasts, but sometimes the breasts do not fill until she is in labor or even after the puppies are born, It is essential that once she has completed whelping that she attends the Vet who can give her a hormone injection to reduce the uterus and any fever, this will also bring on the milk.
From about the 60th day you may notice a slight drop in her temperature from the normal 38.5 it will drop to about 37.9 this could fluctuate during the next few days, and could be a little higher in the evening, e.g. 38.1 this drop and rise can continue for a few days and please remember not all bitches whelp when they should, some have puppies on the 61st day while others can go to 70 days, this is most probably caused by the egg's not been united with the sperm at the time of mating and the sperm having to lie in the uterus waiting for a few days until the eggs are ready, sperm can live for 7 days in the uterus, before they die, do not worry if your bitch appears to be a little over her date, or even a little early. First time pregnancies usually arrive a little earlier then second pregnancies. Fat bitches appear to go into labor later then their thinner companions.
Once she goes into labor, you will notice a sudden drop in her temperature from 37,7 it may drop right down the thermometer to 36.5 but again this varies with different bitches and she may have only a slight change before she whelps. You may or may not feel movement in her abdomen in the last week and you can easily mistake her breathing for movements of the puppies. By 9 weeks the puppies are getting very large and if her uterus is crowded, there will not be much space for the puppies to move Large whelps are often quieter then smaller whelps, and this also depends on whether you mated the bitch with a dog very much larger then her, and also on what you have fed her during her pregnancy, a bitch only carrying one or two whelps, may not even look pregnant right until the end and you may not feel or even notice movement of the puppies in the uterus. In the last few days of pregnancy feed her several times a day and give her at least a half a liter of milk each day, her dry food should always be available and it might be an idea to feed her puppy biscuits at this stage. Many bitches have a change of appetite while-t pregnant, and you may find her wanting more raw meat, then the conventional dog food. My Chow "Monique" loved a plate of strawberries and cream* Fruit is very good for your dog if she will eat it. She will also love sour milk or "maas" and Buttermilk is also very good for her and helps to make her milk rich and strong-
Once she has started making her nest she will become very destructive and may ruin your carpets or furniture, you should have a whelping box for her or she should be placed in her outdoor kennel, which is draught free and rain proof.
The bitch will continue to do the same until all the puppies are born. Do not stop her from eating all the placentas. As they help her to produce milk and will do her no harm.
Sometimes a puppy could die in the uterus this could be caused by any number of problems. An unconditioned bitch, a puppy to large to pass through the birth canal, Pelvis to small in the bitch, the cord around the puppies neck or even the placenta dying during the growth period, or becoming detached from the puppy, the puppy could be deformed. Sometimes puppies fade away soon after birth and this could be caused by insufficient heating, lack of milk in the bitch, or birth trauma, the puppy could die from over heating as well, Lack of proper care in the pregnant bitch could lead to the death of the whole litter.
This is when the bitch has no milk supply at all, and is unable to feed her puppies, A hormone injection within 12 hours of whelping will help to bring on her milk supply, also a tablet from the homeopath called LAC CAN given to her once a day a week before she is due to whelp, and then three times a day until she has sufficient milk supply. If not you will have to feed the puppies yourself to avoid loosing them. A formula made from puppy milk available from your Vet or you can use Carnation Ideal Milk one can of milk to one can of water, and feed about 5ml every two hours during the day and at least three feeds during the night. You may have to stimulate the puppies by gently wiping their anus and genitalia and vagina with a piece of damp cotton wool, or if the mother is well enough she will hopefully do this and clean the puppies at the same time. The best way to feed a new born puppy is by stomach tube for the first two weeks as this is very quick and you know just how much food the puppy is getting, after two weeks the puppy can be fed by a puppy bottle, or be taught to drink out of a saucer. By three weeks they can be weaned and put onto more solid foods. Such as a baby cereal.
To tube feed, a puppy measure a fairly thick catheter from the puppies’ mouth to the last rib, and then mark the end by the mouth. Attach the catheter to a syringe and fill the syringe with milk, then allow a little to run through the tube, now clamp the tube above the mark, and insert the tube into the mouth and then into the stomach, If you get a blockage then you have gone into the lung do not depress the plunger until you know that the tube is safely in the puppies stomach.
The tube is in the stomach, now remove the clamp and allow the milk. To run slowly into the puppies stomach, the milk must be just warm, and not to hot, '"after feeding burp the puppy by holding it in your hand and patting it on the back, It would he help full if you were able to get a surrogate mother for the puppy, if the mother can’t- manage it or if she has died giving birth. A whelping box is essential for your bitch to give birth to her puppies. Below is a list of whelping boxes you can make for her. As a chow is a large dog she will need a lot of space in which to move, a cardboard box is not advised as the bitch will possibly tear it to pieces and it will be wet and stained after the birth. I personally feel the best place for a bitch to have her puppies is on an old piece of carpeting laid on a lot of lot of newspapers in your bedroom. Please cover the whole of your carpet with newspaper. She will be most comfortable with you at her side, to attend to her and the newly arrived puppies. I have a large whelping box, which when not in use is left in the sunshine and disinfected before each new litter arrives, and replaced, in my bedroom. Once the puppies have been born, it is then that I place them with their mother into the whelping box. I find that my bitch requires my services when their time is near and that any comfort that I can give them is most essential. Once labor starts, I keep an eye on the bitch the whole time. I will take her temperature rectally every hour until she start's to bear down. Once the puppies have born and the floor had been cleaned of wet and dirty paper, this is the time to start using the whelping box.
The one I have is about 3 feet high by 2 feet wide and 3 ft long; it has a 1id that can be opened from the top so the bitch and puppies can be observed with out interference. There are pig rails around the inside of the box to protect the puppies from suffocating if their' mother should accidentally sit on one of them. All the instruments you need for whelping may be laid out on the top of this box within easy reach.. Try to keep her in her box which should be lined with newspapers as she can scratch up these and they can be easily replaced. Once labour starts you may notice a slight swelling of her vulva and a slight discharge.This second stage is when she starts to have contractions, she will now be very restless and start walking up and down the room pausing at each contraction and breathing deeply. If you notice a green discharage, call your Vet as something could be wrong, You sill find that she may stare and lick at her hind quaters and panting and trembling will increase. She will then begin to strain. When giving birth the bitch may cry aout in pain, be with her at all times and reasure her. chows are very intellegent and she will understand what you are doing and saying to her.The first puppy should be born after two - three hours after contractions begin , If not again call your Vet, as the contractions increase in strength you may see part of the water bag of the first fetus appear at the mouth of the vulva. Usually it will burst by subsequent contractions or her continual licking, within a few minuets after th water bag has burst the first puppy should make his appearance into theworld. if is is not born after 30 minutes again call your Vet,but only call him if you think she is in difficulties. My Chrystal had a problem when she was in labour and being a very small bitch for a chow, I decided to take her to my Vet for assistance, Well athe first puppy was born dead, He then scanned her and said that there were 3 more puppies, and that she would have to stay in hospital, Chrystal Lost all her puppies because my Vet allowed her to stay in labour instead of doing an emergency ceaser. Regardless to say I found myself another Vet. The puppy usually appears head first, but sometimes you will have a breech delivery. The puppies head and shoulders are the largest part and require a great amount of exertion. Once the head is free the rest of the puppy should take between one and four minutes for it to be born. The puppy is enclosed in a slippery membrane with the umbical cord attached to the placenta. If she does not sever the cord or the membrane covering the puppy you must then take the matter into your own hands, If not removed immediately the puppy will sufforcate and die. Remove the membrane by tearing it with your fingers away from the puppies face enabling it to breath as quickly as possible to avoid suffercation. Once he is free you may then tie the cord and then cut it with sterile siccors. Be carefull not to pull on the stomach wall as this will cause an umbical hernia. HOW TO DEAL WITH THE CORD. Tie the cord firmly with dental floss about 1-2inches from the puppies body, clamp the center of the cord nearest the placenta with forceps or tie it again with dental floss. Now cut the cord in the centre of the two ties with blunt siccors. After the puppy has been seperated from the placenter swab the cord on the puppy end with iodine. Dry the puppy quickly and place him next to his mother. she will now begin to lick him and you may hear it gasp or cry. The bitch will then direct the puppy to her nipples and it should begin to suck.
This is a Life saving operation and not done just for the asking. If your Chow Bitch has not gone into labor three days after her due date, please seek urgent advice from your Vet. He may then advise an injection which would encourage her to start labor or do a Caesarean Section, this is an operation, in which the Surgeon cuts into the uteri of the Bitch to remove the whelps-if done in time all the puppies have a chance of surviving, but if left to long as in the case of my Bitch "Monique" who never went into labor, a Caesar was performed 5 days after her due date, and she was delivered of one large dead male whelp. There was no reason for the puppy to have died, and on inspection it was a perfectly formed puppy. But due to the bitch not going into labor it was lost. She herself suffered a slight set back, as her uterus would not reduce in size, and was only slightly infected, once on antibiotics as well as Oxytocin injection given she slowly started to feel more her normal self. She only really started to eat about 5 days after the operation and had to be coaxed with chicken and fish as well as a large slice of Christmas pudding and thick cream.
After a Cesar the Bitch will be very sore and will bleed a lot from the Vulva, don’t be to perturbed about the loss of Blood, and if you are, telephone or take her to see your Vet. Keep a check of her temperature at least 3 times a day and chart it. Make sure she is able to urinate as well as pass a stool. The third day after the operation is a good day to take her for a short walk around the garden or a dog park to get her bladder and bowels working properly.
Her wound and Stitches must be kept dry at all times and it is advisable to dust the stitches three times a day with a wound powder available from your Vet or chemist. If she is feeding puppies, and her breasts are pendulous, please dry between them after each feed, and dust with powder, this will keep infection away. Keep Breasts and Nipples free from fur while the young are sucking, as loose hair or fur can cause an obstruction in the digestive system of the young puppy. The Caesar wound should be healed by the 13th day and the stitches can be removed. POINTS TO REMEMBER –
1. Any bitch over 3 days
2 Protracted Labor.
3 The birth followed by a puppy blocking the birth passage.
4. No sign of labor and 3 days over due.
5 X-ray first to see where the problem lies and then treat.
6. A green discharge can be a sure sign that there is a problem, if this happens before the birth of any puppies. It means that the first placenta has parted from the puppy, and if the puppy is not delivered it will suffocate. Sometimes a Caesar should be done if this is suspected.
All four of the above need emergency treatment to save the life of the Bitch and her Whelps.
After "Monique’s" operation she fostered Two Chow Puppies from my other Bitch who had given birth a few days before, to four large puppies, all four did very well with their two mothers