How to Raise a German Shepherd Litter

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Raise a German Shepherd Litter
Raise a German Shepherd Litter (Image: http://shepherdstew.com)

German shepherd dogs are by far one of the most well known breeds of dog. They are known for being extremely dedicated, loyal and loving dogs and are known to pass this onto their offspring when properly trained. Raising a litter of German shepherds can be a complex task, but the rewards are well worth the trouble.

Things You'll Need

  • Whelping box
  • Clean blankets
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sanitary string
  • Small towels
  • Bulb suction
  • Puppy pen
  • Milk replacer
  • Small bottle

Provide your pregnant German shepherd female with adequate veterinary care well before her puppies are born. A female who is well cared for before whelping a litter will give birth to a much healthier litter of puppies.

Set up your whelping area well in advance and keep your female calm during labor. Too much commotion or racket will frighten your German shepherd and can cause her to hold off or delay labor which is unhealthy for her and the puppies.

Allow the mother to break the placental sack on each puppy before attempting to handle it. She should also sever the umbilical cords of each puppy herself, but if she doesn’t, tie the cord off approximately three inches from the puppy’s belly with sanitary string and snip the cord gently.

Dry each puppy off well with a soft towel and place the puppy back in with the mother. Do not overhandle the pups as the mother may reject them, so allow her plenty of bonding time with the new litter. If you notice any of the puppies are not breathing, use the bulb suction to try and remove the fluid from his lungs.

Check in on the mother and new litter occasionally after she’s finished whelping. She will need plenty of quiet time to rest and recuperate after giving birth. Be sure she has plenty to drink while she rests and allow her to eat when she is ready.

Monitor the puppies to see if they are all eating well. You should notice each of the puppies nursing every two or three hours, decreasing in frequency as they get older. The pups should be gaining weight well and growing evenly. The puppies will do very little but eat and sleep for the first four weeks or so, and will be relatively inactive.

Let the puppies out of the whelping box when they get old enough to start walking around. You can move them to a secure puppy pen as they become more independent and begin exploring the world.

Introduce the puppies to softened puppy food at 5 weeks of age and make sure they eat well. They will still be nursing at this time and will most likely make more of a mess than they eat, but it is important that they begin eating.

Take the puppies to the vet at 6 weeks of age for their first checkup. The vet will give the puppies their first sets of shots and working treatment. You can request veterinary care history packets from your vet from each puppy so that you can keep record of any health issues or problems.

Begin observing and allowing the puppies to explore the outside world once they have had their first set of shots. You will notice that the more dominant puppies will be more outgoing and adventurous and the shy puppies more reserved. You can use this knowledge as the pups grow and develop so that you can place them in the best new homes available.

Wean the puppies onto totally solid food by the age of 8 weeks. The pups will be ready to leave for their new homes at this age, and it is vital that they are growing and eating well before they leave your care.

Interview potential puppy homes well before letting them go. Make sure that you are comfortable with the new puppy owners before you consider rehoming them. Fill out any required paperwork with the new owners and take pride in knowing you have raised a happy, healthy litter of German shepherd puppies.

Tips & Warnings

  • Monitor your female carefully during delivery. Any delay of more than 30 minutes in between puppies is cause for concern.
  • Do not handle the puppies too much. A mother may reject a puppy if it does not smell familiar and you might be forced to hand raise it.

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