Watching a dog give birth is entertaining and interesting, and most of the time everything proceeds without difficulty. However, occasionally the owner must intervene when problems occur. When a puppy becomes stuck in the birth canal, quick action can mean the difference between life and death for the puppy, and sometimes for the mother as well.
Determine if the puppy is stuck or if the mother is taking a short break to allow for internal adjustments. If the mother continues to strain or seems distressed, there is a good chance that a puppy is stuck in the birth canal. Hard labor lasting more than a couple of hours indicates a serious problem.
Insert one gloved finger gently into the birth canal, using the lubricant to ease the process. If you can feel the puppy, you may be able to help deliver it. If you cannot feel the puppy, you need to take the dog to a veterinarian.
Grasp the puppy gently, preferably hooking a finger under its legs. It is normal for puppies to be born either feet first or head first, so don’t panic if you find the rear instead of the head.
Pull very gently, timing your efforts to work with the mother’s contractions. Don’t pull the puppy by the head, since you might dislocate its neck. The puppy might be stuck right inside the birth canal, in which case a little help will bring it out quickly.
Wrap the newly delivered pup in a towel and hold it with its head down to clear the fluids from its lungs. Gently suction fluids from its mouth and nose.
Clamp the hemostat onto the umbilical cord, and cut or tear the cord between the mother and the hemostat. A tear or ragged cut is best, as it stimulates the mother’s chewing of the cord and helps minimize bleeding. Don’t pull on the umbilical cord. Remove the hemostat after a few minutes.
Rub the puppy dry, then let its mother lick it to stimulate breathing and crying. Once the pup has begun to breathe, it might be tired from its extended delivery, but after resting it will usually be fine. Be sure to keep it warm.