Puppies are so small and fragile when they are firstborn. There are many ways puppies can get injured or die during their first few weeks of life.
Although you can’t prevent every single problem, you can prevent the mother from crushing her puppies.
Puppies can be crushed on accident from the mother being inexperienced and careless while laying down and moving around the whelping box.
Below, we will discuss the best ways to prevent your puppies from being crushed.
Take Good Care Of The Mother
The first step to stop the mother from crushing puppies would be to ensure the mother is well taken care of. This way, she can take care of the puppies better.
Having puppies is hard on a mother, especially her first litter. If you have any concerns or questions about the mother postpartum, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
You will want to make sure she is getting enough calcium. After giving birth, the mother can develop postpartum eclampsia.
That is a deficiency of blood calcium which can cause poor maternal behavior. If you notice she is walking stiffly or is having muscle spasms, you will need to take her to the veterinarian.
They will give her calcium in an IV and possibly anti-seizure drugs to get her feeling back to normal. If she does develop this, you will want to get the puppies weaned as quickly as possible.
You will want to monitor how much stress the mother is in. Too much stress can also affect a dog’s maternal instincts.
It is best to keep the whelping box in the dark and quiet place to reduce stress for the mother. Also, it would help to make sure the mother is getting enough rest.
She is at her best to take care of her babies when properly rested. If she isn’t resting enough, I recommend removing her from her puppies for a few hours.
It will give her a little break to herself. Do what you can to make sure mom is rested and cared for so she can better care for her puppies.
Ensure Proper Space In The Whelping Box
You want to make sure your whelping box is the correct size. The ideal size of your whelping box should be the length of the mother plus an extra foot.
If it is too small, the mother will be more likely to crush her puppies. It needs to be big enough so that the mother has enough room to move around, lay down, and stretch.
With that said, it also cannot be too big either. The puppies can move too far away from the mother and littermates if it is too big.
The distance will stress the mother out. She will feel unable to protect her puppies with them being that far away from her. It will also risk the puppies getting too cold.
Puppies are unable to regulate their body temperature. Therefore, they need to be close to the mother and littermates for warmth.
If they are not close to the mother or littermates, they can become hypothermic. Hypothermia could lead to major complications and even death.
Install Railings (Pig Rails)
The whelping box should have railings (pig rails) around it. Pig rails are ledges that stick out and create space against the wall.
Here the puppies can lay and sleep without the mother crushing them. You should keep in mind this will only help if the puppies are under the rails.
If the puppies are not under the rails, the mother will still crush them. You will want to make sure the rails are low enough to where the mother cannot get under them.
If the mother can get under the rails, she will still lay on them and crush them. Once the puppies are too big to fit under the pig rails, the rails can be removed.
At this point, the puppies will be able to move out of the way of the mother. Therefore, they are no longer in danger of being crushed by their mother.
Provide Proper Supervision Of Mother And Puppies
Puppies are very fragile the first few weeks of their lives. During these first few weeks, you should be supervising the mother and puppies in the whelping box 24/7.
It is recommended to supervise the litter for at least 3-4 weeks until the puppies are bigger and less likely to become injured. It would be helpful to schedule litters out ahead of time.
This way, you can take time off work to constantly supervise the litter. It would also be helpful to have someone there to trade off with you.
That way, one can be supervising while the other one sleeps, then vice versa. You will need to supervise the mother and puppies closely to ensure that she feeds and cares for them.
If you notice that she displays any behaviors that may be dangerous to the puppies, you may want to consider separation.
The constant supervision will also help you catch any growth or development problems early on so that they can be treated quickly.
Separate The Mother From The Puppies If Needed
If you fear for the puppies’ safety, separating the mother from the puppies may be best to avoid being crushed.
If you decide to separate you will need to decrease the size of the whelping box to keep the litter mates closer together.
You will need to provide a heating pad to regulate the puppies’ body temperature since the mother will not be around for warmth.
You will need to bring the mother into the whelping box every 3 hours to feed and care for the puppies. You will want to supervise this time closely to ensure the puppies’ safety.
If you feel uncomfortable having the mother around the puppies, you can always consider bottle-feeding using goat milk.
You will also have to stimulate the puppies to use the bathroom. To do this, get a warm wet washcloth and gently wipe the puppies’ genitals until they urinate/defecate.
You will have to do this for some time before they can start going themselves. You can start weaning your puppies at 3-4 weeks old.
The best way to do this is to start by pouring a spoonful of their formula over the solid food and offering that along with a bowl of water four times a day.
By eight weeks, they will be old enough to go to the bathroom themselves and eat solid food independently.
At that point, it would be safe to reunite them with their mother or send them to their new homes if you are selling them.
Following the above advice will help keep the puppies safe from being crushed by their mother. I would recommend working out all the details for the process before you breed your female.
As well as purchase everything you will need to prevent the puppies from being crushed by the mother.
Zoey is a long-time pet owner and animal rights advocate, a vital part of Purrfect n’ Pawesome. She shares her unique experiences and learnings with her readers to enhance their understanding of pet behavior and nutrition. Along with being an active pet writer, she volunteers at multiple animal shelters, rescue centres with some bespokenly awesome pets.
Zoey has a lot to share when raising the pets and spending life being their true friends. She has a quite pampered Persian cat and a Ragdoll, whom she loves the most. Readout her blogs to know more about being a responsible parent to your beloved pets.
“I love to be around cats and dogs; that’s my passion and my trick to get away from all the negativity and soaking in unconditional love and affection. Being attached to this platform gives me the reason to be vocal about pet love, care, and nurturing. Although I am not an expert or veterinarian by any means, I have a lot of experience and learnings to share with my fellow readers.”