Care for the Mother When All the Puppies Die
When your bitch is pregnant and either aborts the litter before full term or the puppies all die before or soon after birth, she needs special care. You cannot simply remove the dead puppies and assume she will be fine.
1. Put on gloves and put the dead puppies into a container. University of Missouri Extension says to take them with you to your veterinarian, as he or she needs to see them to help determine why they died. Because there can be bacterial or viral problems, use gloves and handle the dead puppies carefully.
2. Write down information to take to the veterinarian, including when the bitch was bred, how many puppies were delivered, any illnesses or problems noticed with your dog during the pregnancy, and any complications or difficulties while delivering the puppies. Note the time from beginning to end of labor.
3. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may do X-rays or an ultrasound to make sure no puppies remain in the uterus. The vet may also administer an oxytocin shot to help the bitch push out any remaining placentas. Blood work will help determine if there is an infection or need for antibiotics. It may be necessary to leave your dog at the veterinarian’s office if there is severe infection or bleeding issues, or if a decision to spay is reached.
4. Discuss drying up milk production with your vet. It is important whether a bitch loses puppies or has a false (pseudo) pregnancy. If the puppies were full term, your bitch may have lactated. Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine says a veterinarian may use either bromocriptine or cabergoline drugs to help stop lactation. Your veterinarian may advise you to limit water by allowing the dog access to drink for only 10 minutes no more than four times a day for a few days.
5. Remove the whelping box or all whelping materials with the scent of the puppies and clean them when you return home. Disinfect the area and wash all materials. Enzyme cleaners work best to remove protein smells, but vinegar and water will help.
6. Prevent the bitch from trying to build a new nest or “adopt” a pretend puppy such as a toy or shoe. Firmly tell the dog “no” and distract her with grooming, walks or other activities when possible. Tranquilizers, such as mibolerone, may help calm the bitch if necessary.
7. Watch your bitch for any side effects such as mastitis (inflammation of the milk glands) or unusual discharge. Some black discharge is normal for up to a week after puppies are born. Smelly or excessive discharge is not normal.