Whelping Puppies
Problems to Watch For

Usually whelping puppies goes off without a hitch.

There are some times though, that problems can arise and you need to be prepared for them.

Golden Retrievers are notorious for taking forever to finish delivering their puppies! Dog whelping may take anywhere from 2 to 20 hours to complete.

One of my Goldens took 14 hours to deliver 9 puppies! And of course, she started labor in the evening, which meant, I was begging for mercy and sleep by the time she was finished!

©Photo Courtesy of "ZD"

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever with new puppies

Judging whether or not your Golden Retriever needs to be seen by a vet, is not based on how long it takes your dog for whelping, but what type of labor she is in.

Dogs giving birth often take an hour or two break in between whelping puppies. This is normal as long as your female is comfortable and not in obvious hard labor.

If she is having active and hard contractions for more than 30 minutes, you need to call your vet and see if he wants you to come in.

The guideline is generally if she is pushing for close to an hour, but if one of mine actively pushes for 35 minutes, I give the vet a call to see how long he wants me to wait.

©Photo Courtesy of Denise Oechsler

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever sacked out!

Also, if she takes more than a 4 hour break in between delivering puppies, you should consult your vet.

Prolonged hard labor or an over extended break, can indicate a problem, such as a stuck puppy or uterine inertia.

Many times after one of my Golden Retrievers has taken an extended break from whelping, I snap a leash on her and take her for a quick, short walk.

Obviously, she won’t want to be away from her puppies for more than a minute or two, but sometimes this short amount of time is just enough to help re-stimulate her labor again, so she will continue whelping.

Other reasons to call your vet when your Golden is whelping puppies, is if she passes a dark green fluid before any puppies have been born. After she has given birth to one puppy, then seeing this colored fluid is normal.

If your Golden is obviously in a great deal of pain, or seems weak and nervous, again your vet should be called.

©Photo Courtesy of Debbi Conlon

whelping puppies, large litter of English cream Golden Retrievers

Since Golden Retrievers do have very large litters, sometimes the momma will become very tired by the time she is almost finished whelping puppies.

You need to be with her until the last pup is delivered, even when things are going great.

As the mom becomes more and more tired, sometimes she can slow down in getting the puppy out of the membrane sac.

You do not want to lose a pup because the momma didn’t attend to it quick enough.

Once your Golden Retriever is completely finished whelping puppies, she will be ready for a good long nap, as I’m sure you will be also!

©Photo Courtesy of Zenia Johnsen

whelping puppies, newborn Golden Retriever puppies

She may not want to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom for awhile, as she will be quite exhausted.

Keep a close eye on her for the next several days.

Some out of the ordinary things you need to watch for would be any foul-smelling discharge, no interest in her puppies, little milk production, fever, loss of appetite, or a general lack of energy.

If you notice any of these things, call your vet and request that she be seen.

And enjoy that beautiful, new litter of puppies!

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