When giving birth, if your female dog takes an hour or slightly longer between puppies once whelping begins or she appears to lack the adequate muscular control needed to push the puppies out, she could be suffering from inertia. Apparent inertia may be counteracted at times by a moderate amount of exercise such as walking around the yard, a glass of milk as a calcium source or a ride around the block in the car. If none of these combined methods show results within 30 minutes, contact your veterinarian immediately.
The veterinarian may determine that your matron requires a higher dose of pituitary oxytocin to that which she is already producing. The administration of a booster shot of pituitary oxytocin will help to stimulate her contractions after some of the puppies are born.. A whelping dog’s response to the injection occurs within minutes if it is to occur at all. Some require help of a deeper professional nature. Not every female’s uterus is responsive to the presence of natural hormones or oxytocin. For those cases when natural milk, exercise and pituitary oxytocin are ineffectual, a cesarean section may be required.
Before any shots are given or invasive therapies undertaken, the veterinarian will physically examine the dog, checking for obstructions and the presence and position of a puppy in the birth canal. Occasionally a puppy stuck in the birth canal will simply require repositioning. Often the first puppy being the largest impedes the litter’s natural arrival. Usually it is possible to reposition this puppy by digital vaginal manipulation. Sometimes an additional physical push forward on the abdomen effects a relatively normal delivery. At times this is all that is required to get the puppies on their way naturally.
Labor is hard work. Dogs that have been in sustained labor over a long time period may end up being candidates for inertia. Should all other therapies fail, the matron will require surgical assistance. Some breeds, such as the brachycephalics (Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, for example), are routinely scheduled for cesarean sections for nearly every anticipated litter.
A trouble sign is a steady straining by the dog, contractions with no immediately resulting puppy. Get to the phone without delay and contact your veterinarian. If all the hospital lines are busy, call the operator and say you have an emergency call that must be put through immediately!