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Whelping Kit

submitted with permission by Marj Brooks

with thanks to Kevin & Donna Frizzell of DeSaix St. Bernards for generously allowing us to use many of their superb array of articles

A comprehensive whelping kit should be collected and be ready for use at least two weeks prior to the expected delivery date. There is nothing worse that not being properly prepared and it can put the life of your bitch and the puppies at risk. We have listed what we have found to be most useful and no expense has been spared for the sake of convenience, or the compromise of safety or hygiene.


  • a good size whelping box with pig rails and flap
  • waterproof tarp or plastic sheeting to protect the carpet under the whelping box
  • whelp chart to record time ~ weight ~ markings ~ placenta deliveries
  • at least 2 dozen towelling nappies (towels are too big and cumbersome)
  • a good set of electronic weighing scales
  • a phone near the whelping box with a list of emergency numbers
  • a good lighting source
  • a camera with a flash
  • a video camera
  • some newspapers for the dam to shred
  • large rubbish bags for the newspapers after the dam has finished
  • heaps of kylies (very useful as they absorb fluids and leave the surface dry)
  • soft toys for the puppies
  • a warm box to put them in after they are born to keep them together and safe
  • a heating pad or infra red lamp
  • orphan formula such as Biolac
  • tubes of Nutrigel
  • human type baby bottles and teats
  • containers with lots of compartments for easy access and storage of equipment
  • a sterilizer for feeding equipment
  • feeding tubes
  • sandoz calcium syrup for the dam
  • brandy for the babies if they are sluggish
  • 50% glucose solution for the babies if they are sluggish
  • lots of baby wipes in case mom doesn’t want to clean up after them
  • betadine solution for dew claw and umbilical cord care cotton buds large and small
  • surgical spirits for umbilical cord care
  • worming suspension
  • sterile water
  • Vaseline to smear on bums as the anus can become blocked externally with dried faeces
  • assortment of sharp scissors
  • haemostats (small) for clamping cord
  • zip ties (small) excellent for tying off cords
  • an assortment of different capacity syringes 1ml ~ 2.5ml ~ 5ml ~ 10ml ~ 20ml ~ 50ml
  • rolls of elastoplast to cover sharp ends of trimmed zip ties
  • cotton wool balls
  • gentle puppy shampoo to clear up * accidents *
  • small plastic bowl for holding water for toilet duties

We have found the best method (if intervention is needed) of separating the puppy from the afterbirths is:

  • it requires two people one to work on the puppy and the other to separate it from the membranes
  • gently squeeze the placenta prior to severing the cord – it gives the puppy maximal blood volume
  • clamp the cord twice at 1″ and 1 1/4″ away from the puppy with the haemostats to crush the vessels
  • secure zip tie on first clamp tight nearest the puppy and cut the cord at the other clamp site
  • trim the tail of the zip tie as short as possible
  • swab the remaining cord with betadine or surgical spirits
  • allow to dry
  • cover the zip tie and cord with elastoplast
  • trim the cord below the zip tie (nearside of the puppy) to remove it after about 6 hours and re-swab
      • 1ml Brandy
      • 1ml Sandoz or 50% glucose solution
      • 8ml Sterile Water
    • Puppies should be placed on the mother to feed as soon as possible after the birth to get the Colostrum necessary for immunity. Puppies can manage for several hours if overly lethargic without this. Below is the recipe for a solution to give lethargic puppies as source of energy and cardiac stimulant and then continue to attempt to get them to nurse.

      In a 10ml syringe draw up:

      ~ Make sure the solution is warm and shake well prior to administering.
      ~ Administer 1/2 – 1ml no more than once an hour