Nature has a way of taking care of its own, and when Lucy's time comes, she'll know what to do. The vast majority of dogs have complication-free deliveries. Understanding what should come when will give you peace of mind that all is as it should be. During dog birth, the puppy comes first.
It's been about two months since Lucy's become in the family way and everyone's ready to meet the new brood. During the first stage of labor, which can start up to 24 hours before delivery begins, your girl may become restless, panting, pacing and refusing to eat. Her uterine contractions have started at this point, though you probably won't notice them. If you suspect your dog's begun labor, try enclosing her in a quiet, darkened spot, preferably the same place you've placed her whelping box.
The second stage is when you need to pay attention, though you probably won't have to do anything to help Lucy -- this should come naturally to her. Her contractions become more intense and the first thing you'll see probably will be the membrane covering each puppy. Each one of her babies grew in these fluid-filled sacs and this is the first thing that comes out when your dog gives birth. Sometimes the sac will tear and you'll see a puppy emerge outside of the membrane, which is normal.
If the puppies emerge in their sacs, your dog will tear away the membrane, often eating it herself, and lick her puppies clean. The licking process clears all the fluid from the puppy's nose and mouth, and stimulates his breathing. Lucy also will sever the umbilical cord herself. If she doesn't do this basic maintenance, you'll need to lend a helping hand. Tear the sac away gently yourself and clear away fluid from the pup's nose and mouth using a clean cloth. Rub his chest to stimulate his breathing and cut the umbilical cord using dental floss. Tie one piece of floss on the cord an inch or two from the puppy's body and a second piece another inch or so away from the first tie. Cut between the two ties, cleaning the end well with iodine and place the puppy next to his mother.
As Lucy continues to deliver, you'll see puppies coming out approximately every 30 to 60 minutes. If the sac has ruptured during the delivery process, it and the placenta may follow the puppy. In fact, it's not unusual for a dog not to deliver afterbirth following each puppy. Don't be alarmed If you can't account for all the afterbirth. Lucy may have eaten them, or they may still be in her body. Afterbirth that's left behind usually disintegrates and is absorbed by her uterus, or dispelled of when she takes care of her daily business. However, if she develops a bloody or foul discharge a day or two after giving birth, you should contact the vet.
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