Have you just added to the size of your household in a big way? Did you just welcome one, four or a dozen new additions to your canine family? If your dog just had puppies, it’s understandable that your attention will be naturally drawn to all of those adorable, snuggly, whimpering balls of fuzzy fur. After all, you got through the tricky part: mom and pups are all happy and healthy. Now you just get to enjoy watching the little ones grow, right? Hopefully, yes, but don’t forget about mom. She still needs you to be paying attention to her and her health. Veterinary visit after puppy birth The first thing on your list should be to have the new mother examined by a veterinarian. This will allow the veterinarian to make sure all is well and address any concerns you might have. A lot is happening in your dog’s body and you need to be informed and prepared. What should you expect after puppy birth?You may notice any or all of the following abnormalities:
Watching the puppies after puppy birth Speaking of the puppies, you can use them to help you monitor another aspect of the mother’s postpartum condition. Are they nursing normally and seeming to get enough to eat or are they crying all the time, seeming hungry or being pushed away by their mother? Routinely check mom’s mammary gland. Obviously there is going to be some ‘normal wear and tear’ in that area as the puppies crawl around fighting for position and then enthusiastically nursing, but if any of the glands become uncomfortably painful, hard, or hot to the touch, your dog could be developing an infectious condition called mastitis and should be seen by your veterinarian. Vitamins and nutrients after puppy birth Obviously this all means that nursing puppies creates a lot of physical and physiological stress on mom, and you may be tempted to give her lots of additional vitamin and mineral supplements to help her along. Don’t do it. Feed her a quality, commercially prepared diet and especially do not supplement with calcium. As illogical as it may sound, supplementing calcium can actually cause rather than prevent a serious, life-threatening condition called eclampsia (milk fever) that is a result of low calcium levels. Eclampsia typically occurs at peak milk demand about 2-3 weeks after delivery but it can occur even during delivery. The low calcium levels can result in panting, restlessness, pacing, crying, disorientation, increased thirst and urination, gait problems, tremors, muscle spasms and seizures. If you see any of these symptoms, do not delay. Seek veterinary care immediately3. Most importantly be educated, be aware, be prepared to seek help; in the meantime, enjoy your puppies.
So Why Is My Dog Panting After Giving Birth?
So your dog gave birth to some cute bundles of joy and everything seems like it is proceeding normally, other than the obvious panting. We will now go over some common and not-so-common causes of panting in mother dogs starting with the most severe first. Obviously, if anything concerning or out-of-the-ordinary is happening to your dog, you should see your vet. So the first step after your dog gave birth is seeing your vet.
First and foremost, consider that its part of responsible breeding to have the mother dog and pups seen by a veterinarian within 24 hours. The most reputable breeders in town used to always schedule these post-whelp appointments with our vets and these visits were very helpful as the vets determined the pups sex, recorded their weight, looked for signs of congenital defects, and at times, gave mom an oxytocin ingestion which helped her expel any retained material from her uterus. At this vet visit, your vet could determine any signs of trouble. This should be your first course of action and the most responsible one.
What to expect after a dog gives birth
After a gestation period of about two months, a dog will give birth. In general, this process will occur spontaneously and without any complications. A dog giving birth normally consists of:
It is normal for a bitch to tear the bags and umbilical cords, as well as eat her placentas. A mother dog will also lick her newborn puppies to clean them and remove any liquid remnants. The newborn puppies will immediately start to suckle.
For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, is my dog about to give birth – symptoms of labor.
After reviewing the different phases that make up a dog’s delivery process, it’s normal to understand why a dog may be panting after giving birth; exhaustion. This is especially common in dogs that breed more than 3 puppies. Incredible effort is needed by a bitch to expel her puppies, therefore, panting or a dog shaking after giving birth is often caused by this released energy. It is, however, incredibly important to check how many puppies have been born, making sure that your female dog has managed to expel all of them properly.
Dog panting after giving birth allows a bitch to recover her breathing, inhale oxygen, regulate her temperature and, in short, prepare herself to take care of her newborns. If you do notice that your dog is having trouble recuperating after giving birth to her puppies, you can help her. Make sure she and her puppies have a quiet a calm environment to relax in, away from any stresses or stimulants. If you notice that your female dog is not feeding or cleaning her puppies, you should do it yourself (with extreme care). For more, check out our article where we offer you a diet for a prematurely weaned puppy.
In this case, mother dogs are being rapidly depleted from calcium blood levels due to the high demands of nursing, and this can be a life-threatening condition. While this condition most commonly occurs around one to three weeks after giving birth, its not unheard of occurring even during pregnancy, according to Pet Education. The decreased calcium levels may cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, shaking, a stiff gait, restlessness, increased water intake, fever and panting. Consider though that some dogs can be stoic and will still eat and nurse as instinct tells them to take care of the pups. It is useless at this point to try home remedies feeding calcium supplements; the dog needs prompt veterinary attention and the administration of intravenous calcium gluconate.