Should You Separate a Mother Dog From the Father During Birth?

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An expectant mother dog about to whelp her puppies should be separated from all other animals in the house while she's giving birth, including the father dog. She will need a quiet place in the house, with a large box or container lined with clean towels or blankets, to birth her puppies. The presence of other animals could stress her and create problems with the birth.

Preparing for Birth

  • When your bitch is close to whelping, prepare a place for her to have her puppies. Introduce your mother dog to her whelping box before she is in labor so it's familiar to her. Feed her a meal or treat in the box so she's comfortable there. Choose a quiet room where you can keep her isolated for the birth. She can spend time with the father dog and other family pets until she is ready to whelp, but they should not be in the room during the birth.

During Whelping

  • Stay with your mother dog while she whelps in case she needs help. Avoid having numerous people in the room, even if she knows them. The father dog or other animals may keep her from concentrating on birthing her puppies, and can set off her protective instincts and trigger aggression. When the puppies are born, a mother dog views other animals as a potential danger to her newborns. She can become overly protective of the babies or, in trying to reach the other animals, injure the puppies.

The Father's Role

  • A father dog does not have significant protective instincts about the puppies and is usually indifferent to them. Most mother dogs view their human as a partner in raising pups, since the breeder facilitates whelping, weaning and teaching the puppies independence. A father dog generally does not view the puppies as anything other than potential playmates. It is safest to keep all animals away from the litter for their first few weeks of life while they are helpless and completely dependent on their dam.

Time for Introductions

  • When the puppies are about 4 weeks old, they can be introduced carefully to other dogs and animals in your household, including the father. They should be exposed one at a time from the safety of a pen or crate, in case their housemates view them as interlopers. Be on guard for any sign of growling, snarling or other canine hostility, and keep the puppies separated if it occurs.

References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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