For a small-breed dog like a Chihuahua, it is often recommended that you bring your dog in to a veterinary clinic when it's time to give birth in case there are complications or an emergency Cesarean section is necessary. If you choose to have your dog give birth at home, make sure that you are well-versed in the process and have all of the appropriate supplies, as well as your vet's phone number on hand. The process of birth, or whelping, can be time-consuming and very stressful on the mother dog, so it is important that you stay by her side to reassure and assist her until all of the puppies have been born.
Construct a whelping box about a week before the dog is expected to give birth. This box can be made of cardboard or plywood and provides a safe, protected place for the puppies to be born. It should be about four square feet in size and located in an area that is quiet and away from the activity of the rest of the house. Line the box with blankets or towels to make it comfortable.
Look for the signs that your Chihuahua is entering labour. Your veterinarian should be able to tell you how far along she is in her pregnancy. Beginning on the 59th or 60th day of gestation, take the dog's temperature twice daily. When it drops below 37.8 degrees Celsius, it is a sign that she will deliver her puppies within 24 hours. The dog will also become restless and scratch at her bedding. She may begin to cry and vomit in the early stages of labour.
Watch for an amniotic sac to appear. The mother should push this sac out and break it open with her teeth to free the puppy inside. She may even eat the sac; this is completely natural, so don't try to stop her. If she can't or won't break the sac open, you can do it yourself and encourage your Chihuahua to lick the puppy clean. If she won't do this either, rub the puppy with a towel until it begins to breathe and cry on its own.
Sever the puppy's umbilical cord with clean scissors about 1/2-inch away from the abdomen, then tie off the remaining length of cord with thread or dental floss and dab iodine onto the end. Place the puppy into a basket with a heating pad that has been covered with a towel. Keep the basket close to the mother so she can see the puppy as she continues her labour.
Repeat the process of assisting the births and cutting the umbilical cords until all of the puppies have been born. When the labour is over, take your Chihuahua outside to go to the bathroom, then return her to the whelping box and place the puppies in with her to nurse.
Take your Chihuahua to the vet within 24 to 48 hours of giving birth. The veterinarian will examine her to make sure that she hasn't suffered from any complications.
Call your veterinarian immediately if anything doesn't seem right with the dog's labour or delivery. If the Chihuahua appears to be pain, if more than two hours have gone by without another puppy being born (when you know there are more) or if the number of afterbirths pushed out is fewer than the number of puppies, these are causes for alarm.
Tips and warnings
- Call your veterinarian immediately if anything doesn't seem right with the dog's labour or delivery. If the Chihuahua appears to be pain, if more than two hours have gone by without another puppy being born (when you know there are more) or if the number of afterbirths pushed out is fewer than the number of puppies, these are causes for alarm.
Things you need
- Large basket
- Heating pad
- Thread or dental floss