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My Journey in Learning the Dog Birth Process

Updated: Feb 16

A happy Bernedoodle with newborn puppies

In my journey to become a dog breeder, I realized it was crucial to study the dog birth process. I began by reading literature from Badass Breeders and then moved on to watching YouTube videos for real-life insights. I believe it's essential for anyone interested in breeding to learn as much as possible. Even experienced breeders had to start somewhere. Sure, dogs have been giving birth for centuries on their own, but understanding the process can be lifesaving for some puppies.

This video from Standing Stone Kennels was amazing. The technician goes through the entire process of assisting each puppy's birth, explaining her actions and their reasons.

Joey Graceffa's channel provides a light-hearted yet informative view on the process, even during intense and scary moments. He has experience fostering pregnant animals and guiding them through the birthing and whelping process.

My oldest son had breathing issues as a baby and toddler, often turning blue and requiring a trach and ventilator. I learned to listen for gurgling and perform necessary suctioning. Watching the dog birth process, especially when puppies show initial lethargy or difficulty breathing, admittedly triggers a bit of PTSD for me. I didn't get to see my son immediately after my C-Section; he was quickly put on a ventilator. His early years at home were delicate, sometimes even requiring ambulance assistance.

I'm torn between finding the process of helping my dog give birth healing or potentially traumatic if things go wrong. I've spent hours watching YouTube videos on dog birthing, including vet videos on emergency scenarios.

Bondi Vet videos are intense but educational, especially for emergency situations. However, they might be difficult to watch for some, as not all puppies make it despite the vet's best efforts.

Two Schools of Thought in the Dog Birth Process

Hands Off Approach

This approach advocates for minimal interference, allowing the mother dog to handle the birthing process naturally. The idea is to trust the mother's instincts and intervene only if there's a clear emergency. Proponents believe this method allows for a more stress-free environment for the mother, as excessive human intervention can sometimes cause anxiety or disrupt the natural process.

Proactive Approach

Conversely, the proactive approach involves active monitoring and assistance. This includes having tools like a bulb syringe and towels ready. Proactive breeders might break the membrane around the puppy's head if necessary, wipe the face, and use the syringe to clear the nostrils and throat. They typically assist the mother in stimulating the puppy, especially if the puppy isn't moving or breathing well. This approach suits those who, like me, prefer to take immediate action in ensuring each puppy's health.

Puppies usually are born within their embryonic sacks, but complications can arise, such as the sack breaking prematurely or a puppy getting stuck. I learned from Badass Breeders that it's okay to assist in pulling the puppy out, but only during the mother's active contractions.

Personal Conclusion

My instinct leans towards the proactive approach. Having seen my son struggle to breathe, I know I can't just stand by and hope for the best. I plan to use light, cheery music during labor and delivery to maintain a calm and relaxed environment, beneficial for both me and the mother dog. Mentally, I'm preparing myself to accept the natural uncertainties of the birthing process.

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