Whelping Puppies
Stage Three Labor

Your dog’s third stage of labor when whelping puppies, involves the expulsion of the placenta and knowing what to do about the umbilical cord.

Your Golden Retriever will go back and forth between stage two and stage three labor until she has finished delivering puppies.

She will whelp a puppy, chew through the umbilical cord, clean up the afterbirth, and start nursing that puppy, until whelping another pup starts all over again!

©Photo Courtesy of JoAnn Srein

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever with her puppies

Once a pup has been born and the membrane sac has been removed, so that the puppy can breathe, it is time to consider what to do with the umbilical cord.

The umbilical cord being cut is not as critical time-wise as removing the membrane is.

After the puppy is breathing, squirming around, and doing fine, I place the pup near the mother’s face, if she has not yet chewed through the cord.

Doing this usually reminds her that her job is not yet finished!

If for some reason, the mother does not chew through the cord, usually because she is busy whelping more puppies, then you can easily do this yourself.

The easiest and safest way to do this is by using your thumbs and “sawing” in a back and forth motion, ripping, and tearing the cord with your thumbnails about an inch away from the puppy’s belly.

©Photo Courtesy of Ron Washburn

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever opening membrane sac on puppy

There is no need to be in a rush when doing this, and just make sure that you are only tearing at the cord and not jiggling the pup’s belly around.

This simulates what the mother does and therefore you do not need to worry about puppies bleeding out or trying to tie a piece of dental floss, or string on the cord.

The umbilical cord is attached from the puppy to the placenta, which is commonly called the afterbirth.

Now that the pup is born, the placenta is no longer needed. It looks like a very dark greenish-black mass.

Sometimes, when whelping puppies, the mother will push the placenta out almost as soon as she pushes out her puppy.

However, there are times that the momma will push the puppy out far enough to break the membrane sac, clean the pup, and chew through the umbilical cord while the actual afterbirth is still inside of her.

©Photo Courtesy of Ron Washburn

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever cleaning placenta from puppy

When this happens, you need to make sure that every single placenta does indeed come out.

If a dog retains a placenta, rather than expel it, it will make her dangerously sick within a day or two.

If your Golden is whelping puppies very quickly together, you may see two puppies delivered, then two placentas pushed out together.

This is fine, as long as each and every placenta is accounted for!

When dogs are giving birth, some owners do not allow their dog to eat the placentas, claiming that it gives them an upset stomach and diarrhea.

I allow mine to eat all of them! I believe that it is good for their milk production.

©Photo Courtesy of Gill Fotheringham

whelping puppies, 4 day old Golden Retriever puppies

Doing this is healthy for her and helps to keep her strength up, and the mother is going to have temporary diarrhea whether she eats them or not.

After whelping puppies, she is switched over to a different type of food, thereby causing her an upset stomach anyway.

When it comes to your dog whelping her litter, sometimes you will need to move puppies out of the way while your Golden Retriever is whelping another pup, as they can easily get in the way, or get stepped on.

I do not place the puppies in a separate box as some people advise.

All this does is upset the mother.

Instead, I move the puppies either to the other side of the whelping box where she can see them, or lay them by her head while she is whelping.

When your Golden Retriever is whelping her puppies, the box will become quite wet from the water sacs breaking, and from the placentas.

©Photo Courtesy of Sheila Schimpf

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever with newborn puppies

It is best to have the box lined with newspaper, and as the papers get wet, replace them.

Do not bother with any type of blankets or soft bedding at this point, as they will quickly become soaking wet.

Though your Golden Retriever will probably breeze right through whelping her puppies, occasionally there are a few problems that can arise.

Puppy whelping seems to take forever, especially with Golden Retrievers, as it seems they like to take their good ole time!

As long as her labor is progressing normally, and she is not obviously distressed, then do not worry about the time length involved in whelping puppies, enjoy it instead!

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Go from Whelping Puppies Stage 3 to Problems to Watch For

Return from Whelping Puppies to Golden Retrievers Home

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