Unlike humans, male dogs don't feel an emotional impulse to witness the birth of their young. This is for the best, as exposing even a well-meaning father to his puppies at birth could have deadly consequences for the new litter. The father shouldn't be separated from the pups just at birth, either -- he should be kept away from them for several weeks.
Safety During Birth
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Both before and after their birth, puppies depend on their mothers for protection from certain illnesses. Even after her pups are born, a mother passes certain immunities on to her young through the milk they consume. If the pups' father is around before, during or even after birth, though, he can infect them with a deadly virus. Canine herpes is a relatively harmless virus in most adult dogs that typically causes only mild sickness, but it can cause miscarriage in pregnant dogs and it can kill puppies. The father -- and all other dogs -- should be kept away from the mother during the final three weeks of her pregnancy. During birth and for the next three weeks, he should be kept away from both her and the litter. Otherwise, he may unwittingly spread an infection with the potential to cut his pups' lives short.
By Tom Ryan
Veterinary Partner: The Pet Health Library: Pregnant Dog Care
Hilltop Animal Hospital: Taking Care Of Your Pregnant Dog
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.