Whelping Puppies
Stage Two Labor

Whelping puppies is an exciting event, but for the first time human parent, it can be full of anxiety!

After your Golden Retriever finishes her first stage of labor, she will begin her second stage. This stage ends with your dog whelping her pups!

This stage of whelping puppies is marked by panting, licking her vulva frequently, and the start of contractions.

©Photo Courtesy of Faith Jochems

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever face with sad eyes

Right before delivering puppies, she will need to urinate a lot and it is normal for her to have a loose bowel movement or two.

From this point on, do not allow her to go outside to the bathroom by herself. If she needs to go out, snap a leash on her and go with her. If it’s dark, take a flashlight with you.

Sometimes, when dogs are whelping puppies, they mistakenly think they need to have a bowel movement, when actually it is a puppy on its way. This holds especially true for first time momma’s.

If your Golden Retriever is anxious and wanting to roam around a lot, make her stay in her box. Once she delivers her first puppy, she will settle down and not want to go anywhere.

©Photo Courtesy of Ron Washburn

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever in labor

If for any reason, you have not yet put her into her whelping box, now is definitely the time to do so!

Remember that while she is birthing puppies, do not have too many people in the room, and especially no other animals.

She will soon start having harder and harder contractions. You can actually see these contractions, as they look like her belly hardening and then releasing.

She will not be pushing yet and her contractions will be 5 to 10 minutes apart.

It is at this point that you may hear sounds from your Golden Retriever. She may groan, grunt, or even make slight cries from time to time.

This is all normal behavior, as is also, no sounds from her at all! You will notice her turning her head around and looking at her vulva.

©Photo Courtesy of Ron Washburn

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever puppy being born

As she gets closer to whelping her puppies, the contractions will be every minute or two, and when you see her lift her tail, you will notice that now she is actually pushing with her contractions.

Before she delivers her first puppy, she will push out a water sac, which is a shiny, dark sac. This is her main water sac that breaks before she gives birth.

Each pup is then born within its own enclosed water sack that usually breaks upon coming down the vaginal canal.

You don’t usually see it, although, sometimes a pup will be delivered within this water sac.

If this happens, the sac needs to be immediately opened, keeping the pup’s head up, so that the water drains away from the pup’s mouth, nose, and lungs.

©Photo Courtesy of Sheila Schimpf

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever with new puppy

I generally break this sac myself, rather than allow the mom to do it, since the puppy would be in a laying down position when momma does it.

I just don’t like to take chances with puppies possibly getting this fluid into their lungs.

Sometimes your Golden Retriever will actually stand while whelping puppies.

This is generally at the beginning of her whelping, and she will probably lay down for whelping after she has birthed one or two puppies.

When dogs are giving birth, they may either slowly push the puppies out, or occasionally, the pup may slide out very quickly. This can happen back and forth between puppies.

Each pup is coated in a membrane that resembles a thin piece of plastic wrap. This needs to come off of the pup in order for the puppy to be able to breathe.

Puppies have about a 5 minute window in which to be taken out of the membrane. Any longer than that and the puppy will die.

©Photo Courtesy of Ron Washburn

whelping puppies, Golden Retriever removing membrane sac from newborn pup

Give your Golden Retriever a couple of minutes to do this on her own. If she doesn’t attempt to do this within 2 minutes, then you will need to do it.

This membrane sac opens easily by simply ripping it open with your fingernails, starting at the puppy’s head and then working down to it’s feet.

Once you have the pup out of the membrane sac, give it to the mom so she can lick the pup’s face and clean it up. If she doesn’t do this, perhaps because she is busy whelping another one, then you’ll need to stimulate the pup by rubbing it with a towel.

The third stage of whelping puppies is the expulsion of the placenta and care of the umbilical cord.

Your Golden Retriever will now go back and forth from stage two of whelping puppies and stage three of whelping, which is delivering the afterbirth.

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Go from Whelping Puppies Stage 2 to Whelping Stage 3

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