Canine Reproduction  & Whelping Guide   by Debbie Jensen
Complications !! Pregnancy or Whelp - Dystocia



Letter to You
Why I became an Imperial Shih Tzu breeder

Whelping Photos
See pups as they are born

Heat Cycles
First days of heat

Pre Natal Care of pups
Care of the Bitch before and during Pregnancy

Mating your dog
Best days to bred your bitch

The Stud
His ability to produce sperm and mate and artificial insemination

Is she Pregnant
Signs she is pregnant

Java Due date
Inside her body fertilization to birth

Due Date Chart
Puppies are usually born 61 days after conception

Temp Chart
Taking a dogs temperature and recording her temp to predict her whelp day

Print Temp Chart
Taking her temp to determine whelping time

Whelping Supplies
Hemostats, bulb syringes, towels tons of them

Labor Stages
Digging, Shivering and Panting

See a Live Birth
See my Shih Tzu deliver a pup

Hard Labor Begins
Whelping the puppies

Aspirating Throat & Nose
Removing Fluids from the nasal passages

Umbilical Cord
How to cut the umbilical cord

Difficult Whelp (Dystocia)
What to do if shes in distress

What Can go Wrong - Movie
Distressed Pup and Mom

Care of Bitch
Discharge, Retained Placentas, Eclampsia

Puppy Care
Fading Pup, Bottle Feeding, Tube feeding, Vaccinations

Weaning the pups
Giving the pups food

Disease of Dogs
Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus

Worms and Fleas
Roundworm, tapeworm, Coccidia, Fleas & Giardia

Selling Your Puppys
Placing your Puppies

Terms of Breeding
Common breeder terms we all should know

More Whelping Photos

Imperial Shih Tzu by Jensen
Imperial Shih Tzu breeder since 1976
Now Chinese Imperial Dog


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Complications during pregnancy

When you read this page I hope you understand how serious it is. You may be an alarmist or to relaxed about the whelping process.
You may feel you should do everything in your power to aid a female in whelp like I do
. Or you might be those that come from the old school and feel "oh they are dogs they can do it all themselves."
Most of the time they can. This page is about when they cant ... and they need our help.
After you read this page I dont want you to panic and to run to a vet needlessly. I wrote this so you are more prepared.
No matter what happens go by your gut feelings.

What Can go Wrong - Movie
Distressed Pup and Mom.

Complications during pregnancy and whelping may mean result in a life-threatening
situation to the dam and or the puppies.

Recognizing these early warning signs and knowing what you can do and when its
time to go to a vet for medical treatment will increase the chances of survival
of the puppies and the dam.


  • Pelvic canal obstruction due to fetal over-size - The bitch has failed to progress to second-stage labor (delivery of pups) after 6-8 hours of first stage labor

  • Uterine Inertia- The bitch demonstrates evidence of intense abdominal pain and symptoms indicative of shock such as pale mucus membranes, rapid and thready pulse, sudden drop in body temperature (below the 98oF associated with whelping) or collapse. This is an emergency go to a vet immediately.

  • Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia - The bitch experiences muscle weakness, muscle-spasms, muscle-tremors, or muscle-rigidity, or seizures. This is an emergency go to a vet immediately.

  • Uterine torsion or rupture -The bitch is passing a heavy, persistent flow of fresh blood from the vulva. This is an emergency go to a vet immediately.

  • Hemorrhage - The bitch is passing a heavy, persistent flow of fresh blood from the vulva. This is an emergency go to a vet immediately.

  • Premature Placental Separation - No pups have been whelped, but the bitch is passing thick, black-green discharge from the vulva.
    If you see any green discharge BEFORE the first puppy arrives, please call the veterinarian. Green discharge AFTER the first puppy arrives is NORMAL. If your dog strains continuously for one hour and no puppy arrives, please call the veterinarian. A puppy may be stuck somewhere in the birth canal.
  • Fetal distress - After you have aspirated the throat nose, warmed the pup and it sill doesnt respond get someone to take it to a vet while you finishing delivering the litter.
    My Sister in law Barb worked on a cold puppy for hours. He made it.
    I had a pup born under the bed. It was cold and lifeless. I warmed it with a hair dryer for an hour. She made it and is living in her new home.
    Dont give up on a pup.


    Pelvic canal obstruction due to fetal over-size
    Next are 3 photo of one my Shih Tzu puppys that is to large to pass.
    Coming breech with its front legs wedged in a position that was difficult to
    pass. Its sac tore loose and it was dangling for 10 minutes. When I finally
    pulled it out it was to late. I aspirated for 10 minutes but because it was not
    face first it didn't get oxygen and it died. This Shih Tzu mother would have
    died if she had been left to deliver on her own. In this case pulling on the pup
    was the only alternative to saving the mother.

    Peeling back vulva
    Peeling back the vulva, I can see his hind toes
    and I know the pup is coming out feet first ( breech ).
    This pup is stuck. Its placenta is torn off.
    Breech pup
    He is without oxygen.
    I used Vaseline to lube up the puppy and pulled it out. But I knew it wouldn't survive
    Puppy stuck and hanging out
    The decision to save the mother or pup is a difficult one breeders face. I chose saving the mother. If I could have gotten it out quicker it would have lived but its front legs were positioned one up above it head and one down and caught on the umbilical cord.
    I had a delivery a few months back with a similar situation. If I was not there to assist the pup would of died and the mother from exhaustion. The pups was breech. It's body was stuck from the waist up to the head. I was determined that I was going to find a way to get this pup out so I stuck my finger in the vulva and felt for the top of puppies shoulder. I bent my finger over the shoulder and pulled with my finger. It popped out. Once the shoulder was out, the pup was easy to pull out. This puppy lived.


    There are times a bitch whelps her pups to early. Pups born before day 58 will not survive if their lungs are not developed. Here is a picture of a pup that was born so early that it did not have hair

    nohair.jpg - 61647 Bytesbald.jpg - 64433 Bytes


    A female I had fought with another female during the pregnancy. I was sure a pup would be born deformed. I was right.
    This lil boy had his gutts born on the outside. No arm and deformed tail.
    He feel asleep and died
    deformed.jpg - 19784 Bytesdeformed1.jpg - 12713 Bytes

    sidney1.jpg - 89419 Bytes
    sidneysbulbs.jpg - 114617 Bytes

    Sidney is my friend Barbs female. Bred to The Gabe
    Two pups were whelping at the same time.
    I reached inside Sidney and felt a foot and a tail. It was breech.
    I tried to grab ahold of him and reposition him and get ahold of him and try to pull him out
    Sidney was taken to the vet and after he also failed to get ahold of him or reposition he performed a c-section
    4 pups were delivered, All were born live but the first pup died within minutes

    sidneychart.jpg - 52390 Bytes
    Picture shows :
    What I feel happened is two pups were coming down the same time,
    the first was positioned wrong
    but to high up to reposition him.
    He blocked the exit for pup 2


    If a pup is out but its placenta is still inside. You can wait to see if it comes out. and if it doesnt do what I show below in the picture. Try to do it at the same time mom has a contraction if possible
    close.gif - 13015 Bytes






    csection.jpg - 23444 Bytes
    A Picture of a C-section
    I lost my hard drive and would love to give credit to the sweet person who sent me these pictures please contact me.

    Picture of a human
    bighand.gif - 220819 Bytes

    90% of litters are whelped with ease, thank God we as breeders only face these difficult whelping occasionally. I just want you to be prepared for the worst so you can better deal with these difficult deliveries. If you have questions please e-mail

    I cant say I have the answer to all questions but I will do the best I can. Debbie Jensen