Notorious for requiring caesarean sections to give birth, whelping a litter of English bulldog puppies requires patience and the ability to seek prompt medical care if something should go wrong. The English bulldog has narrow hips, which often makes it difficult for the dam to give birth naturally to her large-headed puppies. There is no real way to know if a female English bulldog will be able to whelp a litter of puppies naturally or if a puppy will become stuck in the birth canal during delivery and require an emergency C-section. The breeder must be prepared for an emergency when whelping English bulldog puppies.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Whelping box
- Cloth towels
- Rectal thermometer
- Petroleum jelly
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
- Phone number for veterinarian
Take the rectal temperature of the dam on day 63 of her pregnancy and every day until whelping begins. Apply petroleum jelly to the thermometer and insert it carefully into the dog's rectum and hold on to it for three minutes. Remove the thermometer and read it. A dog's normal temperature is 38.6 degrees C. The dog's temperature will drop to 37.2 degrees C. 12 to 24 hours before labour begins.
Maintain the room temperature in the whelping room between 30.0 and 32.2 degrees C. Have a whelping box ready in which the English bulldog may give birth. Whelping boxes are sold at pet supply stores, online or can be built by hand. Line the whelping box with simple newspaper so it can be easily discarded as it gets soiled during the whelping process.
Watch the English bulldog carefully during labour. Labor often lasts six to 24 hours before the appearance of the first puppy. The dam will lay on her side or stand to expel a puppy. She will will push and pant. The sac becomes visible at her vaginal opening and then the puppy slides out. The dam will immediately rip open the sac with her mouth and begin to clean the puppy vigorously.
Tear the sac away from the puppy using your fingers if the dam does not do the task immediately. Many first-time English bulldog mothers will completely ignore the puppy once it is born and allow it to die. Remove the sac from the puppy's body gently. Clip the cord 1 inch from the puppy's abdomen using a pair of scissors dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rub the puppy vigorously with a dry towel until it breathes.
Discard the placental sac. Most mother dogs wish to consume the placenta but it can cause diarrhoea.
Dab a drop of iodine on the tip of the puppy's umbilical cord using a cotton swab. Place the puppy into the whelping box beside the mother dog. The puppy will immediately begin nudging its mother in search of a teat for food. It is imperative that the puppy suckle immediately to obtain the much needed colostrum that helps prevent disease.
Wait for the next puppy to be born. The time between puppies can range from 15 minutes to four hours.
Tips and warnings
- The gestation period ranges from 64 to 66 days.
- Always maintain prenatal care prior to puppy delivery.
- Always have an ultrasound done on the English bulldog to determine how many puppies she is carrying prior to delivery.
- Keep the phone and the number for the veterinarian on hand in case of an emergency.
- If the dam is in labour and continues to strain for an hour but is unable to give birth to a puppy she will need to be rushed to the veterinary emergency room immediately. The puppy may be stuck in the birth canal and unable to be born.
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