In my younger days, I would get warned not to go near a dog while she was giving birth. I was also told that if I touch the puppies before they turned one week old, they would die. When I got older and finally got dogs of my own, I was determined not to lose a puppy, so I would pull all nighters helping a dog give birth. I would be around every time a new puppy came along and even help wipe it clean.
With time though, I have learned to marry the two stands. I don’t leave the mother and puppies alone all week, but I don’t interfere as much as I used to. A dog has natural instincts that guide her on the best way to behave to ensure the survival of her puppies. She knows the temperature that’s just right for her puppies, and the puppies that need more attention in the early hours after birth.
When as the human you interrupt these instinctive reactions, the dog gets confused. This is why sometimes the mother may reject some puppies in the litter.
On the other hand, don’t completely abandon the mother. Make sure she has a comfortable and spacious whelping box and that the box is warm. Stay near so that if there are complications you can either help or ask a vet on the best way forward.
Sometimes the puppies may be more in number than the mother can handle, in which case you can help with bottle feeding the weak ones to give them a better chance at surviving. A heating pad also comes in handy, as I’ve found not being warm enough is the number one reason for puppy loss immediately after birth and before they turn two weeks old.
Within 24 to 48 hours take your dog to the vet for a general checkup, and to ensure there were no complications that you did not catch.
What to Do on Your Dog’s Due Date