When you are breeding dogs, especially for your first time, it is very common to feel worry and have a lot of questions. Especially those pertaining to your dog giving birth. It is a time where both your bitch and her litter are incredibly vulnerable. This is why it is so important to get every element correct. One question we receive regularly pertains to the best bedding for a dog giving birth. It may not seem like that important of an element, but it can influence the comfort of your puppies and bitch and even lead to possible worries.
From allergies to damaged skin, these are all concerns that may occur from incorrect bedding during birth. We will go through the best dog bedding options, their pros and cons, and other elements to consider. So you can make a fully informed choice without worry.
How To Pick The Right Bedding
There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing the perfect bedding for a dog giving birth. These include the ease of changing and cost-efficiency. We will go through the top five factors to consider below.
Ease of Changing
Your dog giving birth is not a clean process. Even with bedding with high absorbency, it is going to get messy and need replacing. You need to know how easy it will be to change the bedding and clean their whelping box properly during the birth. Make sure that you can grab the dirty bedding, clean the area, and replace the bedding. All without disturbing the bitch too much. You can purchase some wonderful bedding, but if it is too difficult to clean then they are not worth the cost. A clean area for individuals that are so vulnerable like puppies with weak immune systems is crucial.
Some types of buy-able bedding come in standard sizes. If you are considering types like these you need to make sure that you buy enough, but not too much. Your bitch and her puppies need enough bedding to comfortably lie on during the birthing period. However, the bedding alongside their heat lamp can lead to your dog getting too hot after a while, therefore make sure that there is an area of their whelping box that they can do to cool down in. One that has less bedding in the area for less insulation so your dog can move to a hotter or cooler area.
There are two points to consider in regards to bedding and the cost: a high cost does not necessarily mean that it is better quality, and are you okay with expensive bedding needing disposing of shortly after use. Fluids like blood will actually stain bedding and it is very difficult to remove these stains, especially from white bedding. On the other hand, you could purchase expensive bedding with high comfort and easy to clean material, only to find out it isn’t very effective. There are often cheap alternatives that work just as well, and you feel a lot less guilty disposing of them once soiled.
The comfort of your dog and her litter is one of the most important factors to consider. Your bitch’s labor is an uncomfortable, lengthy, and exhausting process. They deserve that extra comfort to ensure they can birth with as much ease as possible as well as prevent any muscle aches from uncomfortable flooring. Furthermore, the comfort of the bedding is also very important for the puppies. It needs to not be too firm or too soft due to the fragile nature of the bones of newborns. Often newborns can suffer fractures or improper development of the femur if they are not well supported. Too soft and your puppy will struggle to move to the mother’s teat, too firm and your puppy could be uncomfortable and in pain from an inability to move.
Making sure that your bitch and her litter are warn during and after birth is crucial. Puppies cannot regulate their temperatures properly after birth, therefore you need to make sure you are providing thermal bedding. A heat lamp is crucial to give as well, but providing warm bedding can help a puppy even more. When your newborn puppies get cold, this is not only worrying, but life-threatening. Your puppies are so delicate when they are just born and maintaining a proper temperature for them is one of the most important elements of care you must consider.
Types of Bedding You Can Use
We have analyzed all the recommended bedding types for a dog giving birth and have our top five labeled below. We will go through their pros, cons, and any other factors you need to know about each type.
Providing your bitch with newspaper is one of the most popular options due to its ease of cleaning, cost, and ease to change. If they get damp, you can quickly remove them and replace them. Furthermore, if you run out of newspaper, you can go to the shop and purchase more easily. However, if newspapers get wet the ink can run. This means that ink could cover the coats of your puppies, bitch, and can even be ingested. Although this can be a worry, especially for newborn puppies. If you are changing the bedding frequently and cleaning it as you need to, this should not be an issue.
Puppy pads are a little bit more expensive than newspaper, but also a little bit more absorbent. They are easy to dispose of due to their purpose of absorbing urine and are also easy to change. You can order a pack or two online for a reasonable price and have all the preparation you need for the whole birth. Due to their high level of absorbency, some people argue that they have some level of insulation to keep puppies warm. This is a great bedding type for the ease of cleaning and replacement. It also holds the benefit of supporting your puppies with a little support, but it also gives enough texture and firmness to allow them to move towards your bitch’s teats.
For a completely free alternative you can consider using old pieces of clothing. They are easy to replace and can be disposed of immediately. Another benefit of used clothes is that you can provide thermal clothing to ensure that your bitch and puppies will stay warm. However, there are quite a few issues with using old clothes. Firstly, they do not absorb moisture well and that can make cleaning quite difficult. They also offer injury or health risks due to worries of entanglement. Your puppy could get caught in a sleeve and even suffocate quickly. So be careful to cut up tight areas of clothing if you use this method.
Using old towels or even newly bought towels can still be a relatively cheap option for your choice of birthing bedding for your dog. Designed for high absorbency, these are great for catching and cleaning the various fluids during the birth. However, you need to make sure that you have enough clean towels to use for the whole pregnancy. If you only have a couple then they will quickly become dirty and with the time a washing machine takes to clean them, and then a dryer to dry them, three or four simply not enough. Also be sure that the towels are the right size to lay across all the areas you wish to, as hand towels and bath towels have quite different sizing. Therefore, the replacement times will be different as well.
This is one of if not the most expensive choice for dog bedding during your bitch’s birth due to changing beds repeatedly through birth. The difficulty or time needed to clean them can definitely be off-putting for this choice. However, this is the best choice for comfort and for thermal support. Your bitch will be comfortable throughout her pregnancy lying in a dog bed, especially one with thermal blankets. However, you are going to need quite a few dog beds in case fluids leak onto a bed during the birth of each pup.
Beddings For Dogs Giving Birth – FAQ
Here are the top searched questions concerning the best bedding to use for a dog’s birth. By the end of these, you should have all the answers you need!
It is recommended to change your dog’s newspaper bedding 2-3 times a day during birth. However, know that you are not limited to this number. If newspaper becomes damp then you should be changing it to avoid it getting cold, ink leaking, and bacteria
Natural ground is not safe for newborn puppies for multiple reasons. Firstly, the ground is cold, and with puppies not being able to move well nor properly thermo-regulate their temperature, it is a health risk. Secondly, it is not a clean area for your puppy to be. The ground can be dirty and soiled and this could lead to the spread of bacteria affecting your puppies. Finally, the hard ground can actually lead to your puppies’ bones and spines becoming deformed as they are so fragile after birth.
This is a heavily debated topic within the breeding community. Although these are easy to clean, replace, and environmentally safe to dispose of, they can also be dusty and hold onto bacteria and dampness. Therefore, people argue that they are not suitable for the health of your dog, let alone newborn puppies. Research into this bedding type is undergoing, so as of yet there is little information to draw a firm conclusion on.
Disinfectant sprays are actually recommended for keeping whelping boxes safe. Between bedding changes you should disinfect the area, giving a good few sprays and wiping down the area. This kills any harmful bacteria and allows the new bedding to be laid on a clean surface. Just be sure that the spray has been firmly wiped away as leaving disinfectant residue can be a problem in itself. Your bitch could lick the wood or flooring, as could the puppies, which can lead to ingestion. Although this is probably not a worry for an adult dog, this could essentially poison new puppies. This is why you should spray, and then wipe down the area with clear water. Be sure to dry it afterward too so the area does not become damp and cold.
You can switch the bedding from newspaper to towels once the puppies can move properly. This helps to reduce the worry of entanglement that comes with towels when they are young. However, just because your puppies can move around now does not mean the worry completely subsides. Make sure to keep an eye on your puppies and check that their bedding is not an issue for them.
So as you can see, the type of bedding you choose for a bitch giving birth is very important! There is no one best bedding for a dog giving birth, each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, so you have to make the final call. Puppy pads, newspaper, and dog beds are three very good candidates to consider. But each dog will have different requirements, so be sure to take your individual into account before purchase.