Although it's relatively common practice for human fathers to be in the room while their partners give birth to their babies, that just isn't the way things usually go in the canine world. It's optimal to keep whelping female dogs away from all other animals -- father dogs included.
Lack of Fatherly Feelings
Male dogs have no reason to "attend" the births of their offspring. They cannot assist the mothers in whelping, and the mothers often don't need much help in the first place. Unlike male humans, male dogs are incapable of even understanding their relationships with their puppies. Male dogs, simply put, do not possess fatherly feelings and urges. Females typically assume all of the responsibilities of caring for the brand new youngsters, whether it comes to nursing, helping them learn how to play or cleaning them.
Nuisances During Birth
Not only aren't male dogs at all useful during whelping, they can actually even be nuisances to the deeply focused mothers. When male dogs watch female dogs in parturition, they frequently get extremely stressed out that they can't mate with them at those times. This results in their whining noisily, which doesn't exactly contribute to a quiet, serene birthing environment for the mothers. This type of whining isn't restricted to witnessing female dogs giving birth. Male dogs also whine when "in season" female dogs won't mate with them, according to author Augustus Brown.
No Other Animals Allowed
If you care for a female dog who is about to give birth, help make her birthing experience as comfortable and smooth as can be. Do not allow any other household pets access to her birthing area. If the father lives in your home, keep him in a separate part of it. Do the same with all other animals you own, whether they're dogs, cats or parakeets. Silence is golden for whelping animals. While you don't want any other animals present during your pet's labor, you should stay around just in case she experiences complications and needs your help. If the mother dog exhibits any signs of difficulties during birthing, notify a veterinarian immediately.
Later Meetings With Dad
Keep Dad away during birth, and keep him away from Mama and the pups for a few weeks after, too. Mother dogs with newborn puppies have jam-packed schedules full of nursing, nursing and more nursing, and the fathers being around can be bothersome. They also might be a little too overzealous around delicate young pups. If you want the puppies to eventually meet their dad, wait until they're about a month old. Although male dogs generally don't behave aggressively toward their puppies, it's important to always carefully watch over their meetings. If the male dog is confused and envious about the rapport between the mother and the puppies, he could potentially hurt the little ones. In many cases, however, father dogs can develop positive relationships with their puppies, even partaking in playtime together -- with monitoring, of course.
- Canine Courage; Tiffin Shewmake
- Simon & Schuster's Guide to Dogs; Gino Pugnetti
- Dogs - The Ultimate Care Guide; Matthew Hoffman
- Millan Foundation: Frequently Asked Questions about Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
- Play it Again, Tom; Augustus Brown
- Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists; Katherine A. Houpt
- Hilltop Animal Hospital: Instructions for Whelping
- Parkway Animal Hospital: Breeding Your Dog
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images