top of page

Whelping Checklist

Whelping usually occurs with relatively few problems. The dog can usually get through it with little help from the owner. This sheet is to provide information to help you decide when an abnormality is present. Most dogs whelp about 63 days after breeding (normal range = 58-71 days). To determine exactly when she will be due, start taking your dog's rectal temperature 2-4 times daily, starting about 55 days after breeding. To take your dog's rectal temperature, you can use a human oral thermometer. Lubricate it with a little Vaseline, make sure the thermometer bulb is totally within the anus, and leave it in for at least one minute. When the dog's temperature falls to below 100 degrees F (usually below

99 degrees F), she should begin to whelp within 24 hours, and will probably begin in 4-6 hours.


You should have a place set aside for her that is warm and private. She may pick a place for herself and start nesting behaviour there as she nears whelping.


Following is a list of supplies it is handy to have on hand:


Whelping Area Checklist:


Whelping Box - This needs to be big enough that your bitch can lie out flat. Guardrails, sometimes called pig rails, are a good idea, this will stop your bitch from rolling onto any of the pups.


Spare box - You will have to move the pups to safety when your bitch starts whelping again. It will also be used to put the pups in while you clean the whelping area. A clean washing basket is great, lined with newspaper, make sure it has warmth, you could put a hot water bottle under some bedding, or buy a heat pad.


Newspapers - To line the whelping area. These can be scooped up and thrown away afterwards. You will need a lot, whelping is a messy business.


Heating Lamp - Only required if your whelping box is in an exterior building or a room with no heat control.


Blankets (or Whelping Pads) - Old, clean blankets are great to line the whelping box once the pups have been born. Initially the bitch will clean up after her little ones, but even so, things will still get messy so the blankets must be washed regularly.


Old Clean Towels - For drying each puppy as it is born.


Scales - Household scales are sufficient enough to weigh the pups when they are born and to continually monitor the growth rate.


Table Top Checklist


Anal Thermometer - This can be useful for monitoring the temperature of your bitch prior to delivery.


Scissors - For cutting the umbilical cords.


Latex Gloves - Whelping is messy anyway, but also your bitch may need your help.


Reel of Cotton or Fishing Line - To tie off the umbilical cord, before cutting.


Antiseptic Solution - i.e. Iodine or a recommended brand, to clean the area around the umbilical cord once cut and tied.


Bulb Syringe - For clearing the puppy's airways should any problems occur.


Torch - Your bitch will need to urinate during the whelping period, which may be at night. A

good torch is essential to make sure she hasn't accidentally dropped a puppy. Telephone - Have your vet's number to hand, or even better, save it in your mobile.

Pen and Paper - To record information regarding the weight and sex of each pup as well as the time and order in which they were born. Details regarding birthing complications are important, as your vet will need to know such information.


Digital or Polaroid Camera - To take a picture of each puppy as it is born for identification purposes.


bottom of page