Maltese dogs are small breed dogs and often need help delivering new puppies. The mother might fail to push the puppies out or fail to remove the birth sac at the time the puppies are born. This means the puppies and mother will need help. There are also instances where emergencies occur and a vet is needed to save both the mother and puppy.
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Things you need
- Pee pads
- Lubricant product
- Bulb syringe
- Dull scissors
- Food colouring
- Emergency numbers
Give the mother sheets and old towels for nesting behaviour, which are helpful during the birth. Maltese dogs will often start preparing for puppies by setting up blankets, sheets, towels or similar items in their bed, crate or comfort area.
Set up pee pads around the area for birthing. Maltese Luv suggests putting the pee pads down over the entire area and a bit beyond because the mother dog might walk around restlessly before the birth.
Sterilise the scissors and hemostats with alcohol. These are used to clamp down on the umbilical cord and cut it, so they need sterilisation beforehand.
Take the mother's temperature for a week before the puppy due date. Lubricate the anus and take the temperature from there twice a day at the same times each day. Maltese Luv states that the normal temperature for a Maltese is 38.9 degrees Celsius. When the temperature drops down to 36.6 or 37.2 degrees C and stays at there, the mother should deliver the puppies within 24 hours.
Watch as the mother starts birthing. If she stops pushing the puppies, she needs help. At this point, gently move the vulva and grasp the puppy's body. When the mother Maltese has the next contraction, gently pull the puppy out. Always take care for a gentle pull to prevent harm to the fragile puppy.
Allow the mother to remove the birth sac. If she does not, use a fingernail to break the sac and then pull it away from the puppy's face. Use fingers to remove anything inside the puppy's mouth. Rub the puppy gently with a soft towel to stimulate breathing.
Press the bulb syringe until all of the air is removed. Put the syringe into the puppy's mouth and remove any excess liquid. Repeat with the nostrils of the nose and watch for breathing. The puppy might gasp if it does not get enough air.
Hold the puppy firmly but gently in a towel, and support the puppy's head with a thumb. Gently swing the puppy down in a towel to remove fluids from the puppy's mouth and watch for breathing. If the puppy gasps, blow gently into the puppy's mouth and nose to aspirate the puppy. Look for breathing. If the puppy does not breath, rub gently with the towel, swing the puppy downward and aspirate again. When the puppy breaths, look for pink feet foot pads. If the pads of the puppy's feet are blue, aspirate again. Allow the puppy to nurse and mark the puppy with food colouring to tell it apart from its brothers and sisters.
Clamp the umbilical cord with the hemostat. Cut the cord on the side of the hemostat away from the puppy's body and continue pressing on the hemostat for one minute.
Tips and warnings
- Give the mother water while she is in labour. She will end up very thirsty.
- Call the vet as soon as the Maltese goes into labour. This will alert the vet and allow the vet to get to the birth in case of problems.
- Watch for dark green discharge. Dark green discharge is a sign of trouble and needs a vet. There is only 20 minutes to get the puppy out before the puppy is stillborn.
- Never allow the mother more than one hour from the water breaking to deliver a puppy.
- Allow the mother to deliver a breach puppy until the shoulders of the puppy are visible. Only pull the puppy with contractions after gently grasping the shoulders and break the sac at the face first.
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