Planning your dog’s cesarean section is mainly centered around common sense. Keep a close relationship with your veterinarian during the weeks building to the c-section, and take notes of any recommendation made by the vet clinic.
The main focus of a female dog’s c-section starts on the day of the operation and is prolonged with the post-op care. Your female will come out drained of surgery but will need to jump into motherhood and nursing right away. Therefore, helping her as much as possible will favor a speedy recovery.
1. Schedule Your Dog's C-Section
Planning a female dog’s c-section requires some patience and good timing. Schedule your dog’s c-section according to the number of days following her ovulation period remain. Such simple maths give breeders an understanding of their dog’s due date.
Generally, 63 days after ovulation is when most canines go into later. This number is usually within a 24-hour time span of her expected due date. Due to various factors, such as relatively large litter sizes, a bitch can go into labor unexpectedly. Because of this, breeders are encouraged to take extra caution in care and vigilance during the 72 hours prior to her planned surgery date.
When you schedule the c-section for your dog, make it a priority that you find the right doctor. You want to make sure you have the right vet that will be performing the procedure as to avoid potential problems down the road. This will also give you the much-needed assurance that the process will run smoothly. Make sure they have a good track record with positive online reviews, for example.
Timing is everything. Choose a date and time in which you know you will be free so that outside influences won’t adversely affect your timing, therefore adding a hindrance to your plans. If the surgery date is not in line with the planned due date, things can go wrong such as an emergency c-section which can cost even more money. Or worst-case scenario, you end up having to do the delivery yourself without the c-section which can be extremely risky, especially if you have a breed that is at risk for c-sections such as a Scottish Terrier, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Mastiff, or St. Bernard.
2. Before the C-Section
Not only is the scheduling important, but what you do or don’t do before the surgery, can have an immense effect on the procedural outcome. When planning a female dog’s cesarean section, ensure she is properly cleaned and trimmed several days prior to the scheduled surgery. That said, give her a proper wash and shave her surgical region using quality dog clippers. Although some vets do the shaving themselves, it’s always best to be prepared by doing it yourself that way time is saved during the procedure. You don’t want dirt and hair getting in the way of the vet’s vision and practical devices.
In addition, it’s highly recommended you buy an Adaptil Collar for your bitch. These collars are designed to keep dogs at ease during stressful situations and due to the release of chemical pheromones, dogs are able to better adapt to new situations.
During this period, make sure she is on a proper diet that will help prepare for the surgery by avoiding certain foods. Ask your vet for a feeding schedule as they can give you your dog’s personal meal plan. Avoid feeding her too much during the days prior to the c-section as this can exasperate any signs of discomfort. Ideally, feed the bitch several small meals as opposed to bigger meals. Keep her well hydrated. However, on the day of surgery, she shouldn’t have anything to eat unless otherwise directed by the vet. Your vet can also tell you how to administer her medications if it is needed.
Before the day of the c-section, avoid applying any topical flea and tick products before the approaching date. On the day of the procedure, arrive early so that there is proper timing in handling all preparations such as paperwork, tests, and exams. About 1 to 2 hours is sufficient. And always be gentle with her avoiding anything that may stress the dam.
C-section Kit and Accessories
Planning a female dog’s cesarean section requires the right tools and accessories to prepare the welcome back after the operation. Part of a cesarean section planning is making sure your dam comes back home to a comfortable environment. A bitch who is whelping, especially after a major surgery, will need extra care and comfort. Make a cozy bedding for her and throw a warm throw on it.
Always have a whelping kit ready at home close by where she will be placed in, ideally the same room. An ideal kit includes a rectal and room thermometer, a heat source, a puppy scale, puppy formula, feeding tube, nursing bottle, syringe, etc. These are essential items for taking care of the newborns while in your home care. During this time, it’s crucial you limit access to the room from other people or pets. You want to encourage intimate time between mum and pups without any outside influences and disturbances.
Prepare for your dog’s c-section by being ready to do some of the whelping yourself. Sometimes, due to various reasons, puppies need to be fed manually and are not able to nurse on their own. These bottle-fed pups follow their own guidelines and procedures so make sure you know which milks to buy and utensils needed. You will have to prepare the formula yourself as well as keep track of the pup’s weight on a weekly basis to ensure they’re growing on a steady basis.
3. Going to the Vet for the C-Section
When breeders are planning a female dog’s c-section, they always consider what to bring to the vet or what actually needs to be done once arrived. It’s equally important to prepare for the arrival as well. For security reasons, don’t forget to bring your cell phone with you, charged, along with its charger in case you run out of battery. You never know what could happen so make sure you have a way to contact others. It’s advised that you bring all your dog’s paperwork as well as your ID. Bring towels because whelping could get quite messy. You will also need a crate or basket in which to carry her and her pups in.
As mentioned, arrive 1 to 2 hours before the scheduled operation. This should give you ample time to organize things before the c-section. During this time, various routine tests and exams will be done on the bitch including X-rays and ultrasounds, cleaning, blood tests, vaginal smears, catheter, etc. If she wasn’t already shaved at home, this will be the time it is done by a professional. She will then be anesthetically induced for the procedure and you will wait outside in the holding area.
4. Caring for a Dog After Cesarean Section
Planning a dog cesarean section means being ready to offer the post-op care once the mother and puppies are brought home. You will most likely have medication prescribed by the vet so keep those in a safe spot and administer them according to your vet’s instructions. Make sure your environment is an ideal place for whelping and void of parasites and germs; clean, warm, and away from distractions.
During this time, you want to encourage the bond between mum and her pups. Ensure that she is feeding and mothering them and that she is not ignoring them. Generally, a c-section doesn’t provide the natural whelping experience most mothers go through naturally, and because of this, she may reject her babies.
Watch out for any bloody discharge from the bitch during the initial whelping phase and sudden fluctuations in her temperature as this is normal. Only in the event of excessive bleeding should be a cause for alarm. Also, check her incision to make sure there is no tearing on the sutures. Never leave the pups alone with the mother, and in any case, they are unable to nurse, create formula mixture and begin administering with the bottle using a milk replacement. The puppies will be gaining weight quite quickly and quite steadily during the initial weeks of life. Weigh them each day and make sure they have gained a bit on a weekly basis.
5. Post-op Visits
C-sections are major surgeries. A bitch that undergoes a major procedure in her whelping phase will need double the aftercare as opposed to a dam that experienced a natural birth. Due to this, taking the dam and her babies for post-op visits is crucial to their health and survival. The vet will generally book your female again about ten days to two weeks after the c-section. This post-op appointment will be scheduled for the purpose of removing the mum’s sutures from the operation site.
However, not only does the mom need follow-up care, but the puppies will also need to come back. After two weeks it is advised that breeders take the pups back to the vet to get checked for worms and ultimately get them dewormed. They will also need to go back to get vaccinated once they have reached eight to ten weeks of age. During this visit, the vet will most likely create a comprehensive nursing plan for the pups according to each of their needs. This will help ensure a successful future between both mum and pups and work to alleviate any stress on the breeders.