From the time that you learn your Boxer is pregnant to several weeks after the birthing of the pups, your dog will need special care.
- Her increased appetite after week 6 will be the most obvious sign and the one that you will need to tend to. A Boxer in this state will normally eat about 3 times the amount she normally does. Although she will be eating more in the last 3 weeks, be sure to spread out meals (3 to 5 times per day) so that bloat does not occur.
- Do not give her additional calcium.
- Do not give her additional vitamins A and/or D. Too much of these can cause birth defects in the puppies.
- Look for any discharge from your dog. Even a small amount is not normal. It can be a sign of a very serious infection including Pyometra, which an be deadly if not treated.
- Do not be surprised if your Boxer's stomach does not appear to be too big. A large Boxer carrying a small litter will not have a drooping stomach.
- During the last week, you should not attempt to exercise your Boxer. She will need to rest.
Knowing it is Time
Your Boxer's veterinarian can tell you exactly how far along your dog is via an ultra sound. Knowing that the day is approaching, beginning on day 55 you can take your dog's temperature.
This is done rectally. A dog's normal temperature is 100.5 F ( 38.5 C) to 101.5 (38.61 C). When her temperature goes down to 98 F (36.66 C) you will know that puppies will be born in 8 - 24 hours).
What is a Whelping Box?
A whelping box is the area that you will prepare for your dog to give birth. It must be a confined area that:
- Is placed in a quiet area; she will nest here and rest as well as have her puppies
- Has at least 15 layers of plastic on the floor of the box. As she goes through the delivery process, you can roll up and put each plastic layer into a large, strong trash bag. This will create new, fresh plastic sheets throughout the delivery.
- Crumbled up or shredded newspaper should be placed on top of the plastic and in between the plastic. You may also put some blankets. Expect this to be a very, very messy area.
- There must be heat. Keep the room warm; but additional heat must be supplied to keep the newborn puppies warm. Many owners use heating pads, placed under a blanket. The optimal temperature is 85 F (29.44 C).
Helping to Bring Boxer Puppies into the World
What you should do when your dog gives birth? While this is a natural process of life, an owner should never make an attempt to go this alone! You should have 2 assistants. 1 assistant is the minimum. You must prepare yourself:
- You must trim your nails very short, file them so that they are smooth
- Take all rings off of your fingers
- Put on clothes that you have no problem with throwing away afterwards
Your Boxer will not want to eat right before she is ready. Do not try to force feed her. Keep all other pets, especially a male dog, out of the room. Allow her to lay down in the whelping box. Contractions will begin. Do not panic if your Boxer cries while giving birth; this is natural although a bit heartbreaking. Keep in mind that it is temporary. Do not attempt to give her any medication.
As each puppy begins to crown, be ready in case you need to help pull them out. If you do, your grasp but be firm yet gentle. If a part of the puppy is showing, hold on to it so that it is not pulled back in. Allow nature to work, but if a pup is truly stuck you will then need to step in and help.
Each of the Boxer puppies will have a thin sac surrounding them and will be attached by the umbilical cord. Normally, the dam will tear away the sac, bite the cord and lick the puppy. If she does not do this, it is time to step in.
Carefully remove the sac, using sterilized thread cut the cord by tying the thread around it and pulling on each end. Rub the puppy to stimulate blood flow and breathing. If the puppy has difficulty making it to mom, help him or her reach her to suckle.
How I Know All The Puppies Have Come Out?
Your Boxer's veterinarian should have been able to tell you how many puppies were due. However, to make sure: after what you believe is the last puppy to come out, feel your Boxer's stomach. You should be able to feel if there is another pup inside.
Remove the mess. Take away the sheets of plastic until you have a clean area. Lay down more blankets. Allow both mother Boxer and puppies to be left alone. Do not try to cuddle a newborn puppy
. His or her place must be with the dam.
The dam will actually be producing Colostrum during the first few days. This is a highly nutritional fluid that supplies the puppies with antibodies to fight against infection and disease.
Keep an eye out for any puppy who does not seem to be getting this nutrition. Your Boxer may not want to eat right after giving birth. Allow her a day or 2 to get back into an eating schedule. She should have a rather big appetite during the time that the pups are suckling.
When to Call the Vet - Emergency Situations
While we all hope that the birth of puppies happens without complications, one must be prepared in the case of emergency. Your Boxer's veterinarian should be called when your dog is about to deliver. Call for emergency help if:
- Your dog's temperature dropped but more than 24 hours have passed without any puppies
- There is a greenish colored discharge coming from your dog
- A puppy is truly stuck in the canal
- More puppies need to come out, but more than 1 and 1/2 hours have gone by without another pup showing
- Your Boxer has difficulty breathing at any point
- If you sense any negative feelings or worry. It is so much better to be safe than sorry.