Sometimes you may have to assist the mother while she is giving birth. Puppies are usually delivered head first in a diving position while some are born tail and hind legs first. If the mother is having a hard time with the delivery, you can help her by gently pulling out the exposed puppy as she restrains. However, if only the legs are out, call the vet immediately for advice. If the mother does not lick the newborn puppy, you will need to remove the membrane from his face and clear the fluid from his nose and mouth. Rub the newborn puppy vigorously with a towel in order to stimulate his first breath. Do not handle the newborn puppy more than what is necessary.
Helping a weak puppy after delivery
Once the puppy has been cleaned, check to make sure that he is breathing properly. If he looks normal but appears weak or lifeless, gently but firmly massage him with a towel, particularly around the head and the chest. A puppy that stays in the birth canal for a long period of time results in a lack of oxygen to the brain.
If he is still not breathing after you are finished rubbing him with a towel, suspend him by his hind legs for a few seconds to allow the fluids to drain from the air passages. Gently shake him while keeping a secure grip on his hind legs. This should stimulate him to start breathing. Once the puppy is breathing, keep him warm and comfortable by wrapping him in a towel until the mother has finished giving birth. When the whelping has finished, show the weak puppy to his mother and make sure that he finds a productive nipple. Observe him for a few days to ensure that he is not bullied by stronger puppies in the litter.
The mother normally chews through the umbilical cord. If she does not, you can tie off the cord using a thread about 2 inches from the puppy’s belly and then cut it on the opposite side of the knot, away from the puppy. Be very careful when doing this and do not pull on the umbilical cord.
Sometimes the mother may reject the puppy if it is taken away. In this case, bring the puppy to her and allow her to lick him and then place him where he can suckle.