How to Help a Yorkie Give Birth

By R. Lynne

When you first suspect your Yorkshire terrier is pregnant, there is a lot to do to prepare for the birth of her puppies. Take her to the vet for a complete medical checkup. She needs extra care to remain healthy throughout her pregnancy. When the big day arrives, make sure you are there to help her with the birthing, or whelping, process.

Prepare a whelping box. Line a cardboard box with newspapers and set it in a quiet area where the mother won’t be disturbed. Make sure the box is large enough to hold her and her puppies. She should be able to get in and out of it easily.

Look for signs your Yorkie is entering labor. Beginning on the 63 day of gestation, take her temperature daily. Insert a thermometer rectally one-half inch and leave it in for three minutes. When her temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, she will usually give birth within 24 hours. She may also vomit and cry and show signs of restlessness.

Watch for the amniotic sac to appear. The mother should push this sac out and break it open with her teeth. She may even eat it. This is normal and part of the bonding experience. If the mother won’t care for the puppy, remove the amniotic membrane and gently clean its nose and mouth. Rub the puppy with a warm, clean towel until it begins to breathe on its own and return it to its mother.

Tie the umbilical cord off one inch from the puppy’s body with a piece of dental floss. Cut the cord on the far side of the knot with a pair of sharp scissors. Don’t tug on the cord because this could injure the puppy. Apply iodine or Betadine to the end of the cord. The remaining cord will drop off within two or three days.

Repeat this process with each puppy. The puppies may be born one after the other, or two hours apart. The mother will rest in between each birth. During this time, she will expel the afterbirth and ready herself for the next delivery. Litter size will range from one to five, with four being average.

Place each puppy close to its mother so it can begin nursing. Watch out for any puppies that are very small and are pushed out of the way by larger litter mates. You may need to bottle feed this puppy. Don’t disturb the puppies.

Replace the bedding with old, clean towels. Put a heating pad set on “warm” under the towels. The temperature should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week and 82 degrees Fahrenheit thereafter. Keep the new family away from drafts.