You want to be sure you are prepared for what to expect for Whelping day when your Springer goes in to labor so that you can ensure she and her puppies are as comfortable as possible.
You will want to have a box ready at around 8 weeks. Ensure it is about 100x150cm and is nice an strong, with a whelping rail on all sides to avoid the pups becoming crushed. You will want to line it with newspaper.
You want to introduce your pregnant springer to the box at about eight weeks along in the pregnancy, so that she feels comfortable in there prior to giving birth.
Going in to Labor.
It can be normal for your springer to be off her food just before she goes in to labor and her temperature may drop so you may want to ask your vet to show you how to take her temperature.
Labor comes in two stages:
Stage 1this stage can last from 2 to 24 hrs and will cause your springer to pant and move around a lot. She may shred the newspaper in her whelping box during this stage, this is perfectly normal. If she goes beyond 24 hrs in this stage I would advise that you contact a vet.
Stage 2This is the stage where your Springer will begin to push out the puppies. You will notice that she begins to push or strain, you need to take note at what time she starts to do this. If it goes beyond and hour you will want to call in the vet.
When all is progressing smoothly you will see a dark sac appear at the entrance of her vagina before the first puppy. Once the fluid sac is out the first puppy should follow (again keep an eye on timings). when the puppy is out your springer should tear open the sac and lick it dry. If she is unable to do this you will have to do it for her, by using a clean dry towel to rub the puppy down and then hold the puppy upside down to drain any fluid from the lungs.
The umbilical cord will still be attached to the mum to her placenta. This is perfectly normal and the bitch will probably disconnect the two. She will probably also eat the placenta once she has given birth to all the pups and the placenta, this is perfectly normal and an excellent nutrition source for mum.
Your Springer may not be ready to give birth to a second pup straight away, this is fine, let her relax and encourage the pup to suckle by placing it near mums teats. If there is a delay of more than two hours between pups I would suggest that you contact the vet for their assistance.
Once the pups are all born, you will want the vet to come out and check on mum and pups withing 24hrs to ensure that they get the all clear.
Check out the video below of a springer puppy being born.
After the Whelping
Once she has given birth to all her pups, she will want to settle down with them. However it is important to make sure she goes to the toilet away from the Whelping box for the health of the pups. So you may have to drag her outside.
Make sure that you continually change the newspaper covering the whelping box to keep the puppies clean. You should also make sure that mum is given more to eat and drink as she is feeding the pups herself. Give her a continual supply of both so she can help herself.
The puppies will not be able to see or hear until they are 14 days old, mum should make sure they are cleaned and well fed. Keep an eye on all the pups to make sure this is the case. Keep handling of the pups at this stage to a minimum as mum may get over protective, for the first 2 weeks keep it to you and one other person then slowly introduce more people after this point.
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