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Shih Tzu - Birth Process/Stimulating Puppies To Life
by: Connie Limon
Some puppies will be active the minute the sac is broke, others will seem lifeless and you will think for sure they are dead. I have rubbed and rubbed on lifeless puppies and then almost give up only suddenly to realize they were starting to move and respond a little bit, so I kept on stimulating them to come more and more to life. The worse I ever had to act like that was my Smokey. He was the only puppy born to me that was this beautiful steel grey color, which now I have learned is a "true blue." He has a blue nose and the light eyes. I almost gave up on him, it took so long for him to finally come to life. He is a big boy now and has not had a problem since, except for a slight sinus infection as a young puppy unrelated to his initial slow start to breathe on his own.

I use just a plain dry wash cloth and briskly rub the puppy all over, tumbling and rubbing in all directions until it will finally yell. I also take a small baby ear syringe and place it in the puppy's mouth to suck out any fluid or mucus. This also helps to stimulate the puppy to breathe on its own. The nostrils need to be free of fluid as well.

Once the puppy is dry and breathing I hold it to the mom to see if she will sniff the puppy. If she does and starts to lick the puppy, this is nature's way of stimulating the puppy to life and making it breathe better. Sometimes mothers are so distracted by the whelping or tired or probably just a little frightened, they don't want anything to do with the puppies at this point. If that is the case, the doggie midwife will have to continue rubbing and stimulating the puppy. If she does start to lick the puppy and accept it, the puppy will be fine to lie with mom for awhile until the next one arrives. Try to keep the bedding dry and warm and the puppy as warm as possible during this time.

The above procedure is only done if the mother does not do as her instincts should allow her to do with newborn puppies. Most mothers will do all the stimulating. This procedure is only for those few times mom does not do her job.

Puppies are born unable to urinate or have bowel movements unless stimulated by the mother's tongue. If the mother does not do this, you will have to do it with a piece of cotton or gauze that has been softened with a little baby oil. If you ever handraise a litter of puppies this is important to know. It has to be done, and is not difficult. You just rub the anus of the puppy with the moistened cotton ball until the puppy defecates, and then do the same for urination until they urinate. It will be tiny little drops. Once you notice the mother about to deliver another puppy, you should remove this one and put it in the warmed puppy box you have kept next to the whelping box. Sometimes mothers will really put up a fuss about me taking their new whelps and putting them in a puppy box, but I have to, and I insist regardless of what a fit she throws about it. Puppies need to be warmed up after birth and kept warm. This is impossible when left in the whelping box with the mom delivering other puppies and the fluids running all over the place and back onto the puppies already delivered. They definitely will get chilled and you do not want this to happen.

About the author:
Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts on shih tzu puppies are offered to subscribers. Current available puppies. Sign up at

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