What to expect when you're expecting?
  • MushiMushi
    Posts: 4
    I really need some help and would really appreciate any feed back.

    So during my Shiba's (Mushi) third heat cycle she got tied with my other Shiba (Shokobo) twice due to my neglect and not keeping a proper eye on them. This was during the last week of June and I am fairly certain Mushi is pregnant due to her change in temperament and huge teats. I know it's my fault for not getting either of them spayed/neutered when I should have; I wanted to be able to stay at home after the procedure yet, either my schedule or financial abilities never matched up, plus I kinda forgot. I'm extremely scared about this and won't forgive myself if anything bad was to happen to either of my dogs or their litter. My partner and I decided that if we can't find proper homes for any of the puppies we're going to keep them as part of our little family rather than there be a possibility that any of them would end up in the wrong hands or worse, a shelter.

    With that little intro being said, I have several questions. One of the more urgent ones being- prenatal care. About two weeks ago when I was still on the fence about if Mushi was pregnant I contacted my vet and asked some basic questions about getting an ultrasound done and if there was anything in regards to prenatal care I can do at home prior to our appointment (which is scheduled at the end of this week). One thing that he did mention was adding calcium supplements to her diet. Without questioning his word I headed straight to PetsMart and purchased a bottle of GNC chewable multivitamins (I couldn't find any specifically for calcium). I began giving each of the dogs half a tablet a day for the first week then went up to the full tablet after that. Today I started looking up some things to get prepared for the litter and came across several articles that all came to the consensus that giving dogs vitamins during pregnancy is a horrible idea and leads to several birth defects and can be problematic for the dog during her pregnancy. So, now I'm terrified that I made a horrible decision out the gate and don't know what to do. Do I continue giving her vitamins like my vet said? Should I hold off on them until further discussing it with him in person? On a side note, I noticed Shokobo's stool became black around the time they started taking the full tablet, could that be the reason?

    I was also planning on constructing my own whelping box/area by welding small rods and creating something similar to a large dog crate (bad idea?) that'd be lined with thick sheets of plastic and have removable walls and a bottom for cleaning and access. Will/Should Mushi ever leave the whelping area? Should Shokobo ever be allowed in it? Is there a way to get her accustomed to it? When should it be ready by? Should I put her in there to sleep at night prior to the birth?(she currently spoons with me in bed basically)

    A few other questions I have that don't need some long drawn out explanation are:
    - How common is it that a puppy will die?
    - How will I know if Mushi is having serious problems with the birth and would need a c-section?
    - Will Shokobo act hostile towards the puppies?
    - How soon will I be able to handle the puppies?
    - Should I purchase a formula incase the puppies aren't getting fed?
    - How active should I be during the birth (ex. cleaning the puppies off)?
    - How large of a litter can we expect? (I've read that 3-4 is fairly common)
    - Will the number of ties during heat create a larger litter?
    - How can I be adequately prepared for the birth?
    - I've already started transitioning her over to puppy food, is there anything else I should start doing?


    ANNNDDDDD- if there's anything else anyone would like to mention or shed any light on or even share some of their own experiences I'd really appreciate it.


    Thank you!
  • DO NOT give any calcium until after the first puppy is born. Discontinue giving her vitamins now.

    DO start feeding her puppy food after they are born. Puppy food is fantastic for nursing mothers. I don't actually feed it to puppies, though, I wean them on to adult food. Funny enough, puppy food is too rich for growing pups... slow growth is much safer. And if you think about it, what would puppies eat if they were wild? The same food that the parents do. You can switch momma back to adult food at the same time you start weening pups.

    She should be fine giving birth unless she has a singleton - which can be common in small breeds. I would get an x-ray to confirm exact number of puppies after day 55. If there is only one pup, or if the vet measures the puppies' skulls and they will have problems fitting through her pelvis, you should consider a planned c-section.

    DO NOT allow your vet to administer oxytocin during birth. If she is having difficulties, a c-section is safer. Oxytocin causes unnaturally hard contractions which can crush puppies to death or pinch nerves causing paralysis or neurological problems. It can also make other puppies detach too early and suffocate while waiting for the pup in line ahead of them to be born.

    You can and should handle puppies immediately if momma will let you.

    There is a great Facebook group you should join:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/DogBreedingandWhelpingGuidance/

    Number of ties has no affect on litter size.

    I have to go, I will answer more questions when I return!
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1813
    I've only ever had one litter (Kishu Ken), but I'll share my experience with you and answer the questions you put in bold...

    Will/Should Mushi ever leave the whelping area? Should Shokobo ever be allowed in it? Is there a way to get her accustomed to it? When should it be ready by? Should I put her in there to sleep at night prior to the birth?
    I let Nami decide when she wanted to stay or go. I set up the whelping area a couple days prior (I meant to have it set up for two weeks before the pups were born, but the vet didn't guess their age exactly right, lol) and she took right to it. She slept in there and gave birth in there and I let her decide when she wanted to come or go. The first couple days, she didn't want to be away from the puppies for long.

    I also allowed her to choose when she wanted people/the other dogs in there and around her puppies. I had her and the litter in my room, so I could supervise her and be with her if she needed it. She never wanted dogs in there, but she accepted people in there. She started accepting the dogs around the puppies after they were active.


    How common is it that a puppy will die?
    I had two of my five puppies die from inhalation pneumonia. They were literally inhaling the food-mush I was giving them when they started weaning. :\ I've been told it isn't a common way to die, but fatalities in general don't seem terribly rare (not terribly common, either, thankfully - just not unheard of) in the medium-sized breeds. Not sure about Shibas.

    How will I know if Mushi is having serious problems with the birth and would need a c-section?
    I think if it's making you uncomfortable, you should go to a vet. There are actual ways to tell, otherwise - signs you should look out for. Hopefully someone else can give you those. I had a pretty easy birthing experience with Nami's litter. That wasn't our "hard part".

    Will Shokobo act hostile towards the puppies?
    My male dogs all growled at the puppies or avoided them like the plague. They wanted nothing to do with them at first - but I think it may be because they were afraid of Nami sneaking up on them or seeing them with the puppies. As the puppies grew and Nami became okay with the boys around the puppies, they became interested and playful with them. Everyone got along really well. I think it may be an individual dog thing...

    How soon will I be able to handle the puppies?
    I handled the puppies from day one. I got them out of their sacs when Nami wouldn't do it, I weighed them daily, and made sure everything was there. Lots and lots of handling.

    Should I purchase a formula incase the puppies aren't getting fed?
    The only time I got formula was when Nami had to go to the hospital to get purged of the parts that stayed inside her after the birth. The puppies were fed formula for half a day until Nami got home. I didn't use it after that except to mix it with the kibble mush I made when they were transitioning to solid food.

    How active should I be during the birth (ex. cleaning the puppies off)?
    I was told that Nami would take care of everything herself and not to worry. This was the opposite of the thing she did, lol. I had to tear open every sac, clean off every puppy, cut each cord off... and set each one back with her. I also got birth weights during this process. I had a lot of baby towels and blankets.

    How large of a litter can we expect? (I've read that 3-4 is fairly common) Will the number of ties during heat create a larger litter?
    I think 3-4 is pretty normal for Shibas. Less or more can also be the case, but average 3-4 sounds like a good number to expect without knowing more about the dogs as individuals and where they came from. Litter size is determined by the genetics the mother has behind her, not by the number of ties or anything. She is either capable of small litters, large litters, or normal sized litters.

    How can I be adequately prepared for the birth?
    Join the group that @PoetikDragon linked. Ask lots of questions. Read up on the forum. I had to do a crash course because my litter wasn't expected, so you've already got more warning than I did!

    I've already started transitioning her over to puppy food, is there anything else I should start doing?
    Like @PoetikDragon said, I would probably put her back on normal food and just give her as much as she'd like. After the puppies were born, I put Nami on puppy food and gave her cottage cheese for her calcium and fatty needs.

    Here's my litter spam (picture) thread. That's all I have, otherwise, on here...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • @Mushi - I just checked back on your intro thread and I'm worried about two things. You mentioned that your female was born with a vaginal prolapse (which is why you had been wanting to get her spayed). Also, assuming that your boy was a puppy (and not an adult) when you got him, both dogs are under two years old.

    I hate to be the downer here, but realistically I think that 1) you are likely to experience some medical issues with the birth, 2) if you in part didn't get them altered in a timely fashion because of your fluctuating financial situation, taking on the entire litter will be tough, and 3) a lot of shibas become more intolerant of other dogs starting around ages 2 or 3 and especially if you need to keep any of the pups, behavioral management of the household may become very difficult.

    I know this sounds awful, but I think you should talk to your vet, and probably get a second opinion from a vet hospital and seriously consider an abortion. It may honestly be the best option for the well being of your dogs.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3426
    When was she bred? Last week of June? She would be due in a few more weeks. I also would suggest a spay, but you've waited a bit too long to safely do it while she is this heavily pregnant. You could, but take her to a reproductive specialist for a consult before you do anything. Your regular vets are going to give terrible advice most likely (such as with the calcium), but they may have referral infoation to a repro vet.
    info@hokkaidoken.org
    www.hokkaidoken.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2015-08-12 13:46:01

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