During the first stage of labor the dog's cervix will dilate and contractions begin. This element of Beagle pregnancy can be painful to the dog. She will be uncomfortable, restless and quite possibly pacing, shivering, panting and possibly vomiting
Do not feed her during this stage - if an emergency C-section needs to be done, she must have an empty stomach. This is the longest stage of labor, lasting 4 to 20 hours. When this stage is complete, your Beagle is almost there! During this period keep the mother’s environment quiet and calm.
As this stage progresses a white fluid may be expelled. You can gently move the dam to replace the wet sheets or newspapers with dry ones. Puppies will be pushed out one at a time. Each will be wrapped in its own amniotic sac. Just about 50% of all pups are born feet first, so do not worry if this happen. It's best to stay close and watch; do not pull a puppy out unless it appears to be lodged. Pups can be born anywhere from one minute to 30 minutes apart; though this does usually happen in rather quick succession.
As the pups are delivered, the dam will bite open the amniotic sac, lick the puppy clean and also bite off the umbilical cord. It is important to let the dam do this. The rough licking of the mother stimulates the puppies to breathe and prompts circulation. It is normal for the dam to ingest the sac, cords and any of the fluids or tissues expelled.
Stage 3: Once all the puppies have been born the dog enters this 3rd stage during which time the dog's uterus contracts fully, expelling any remaining placenta, blood and fluid.
If the dam does not tear the sac away from the puppy and does not lick them, you must intervene. Gently tear it open, clear away all fluids from the puppy's mouth and nose with the bulb, and quickly yet gently rub the puppy to prompt it to breathe.
If the dam does not bite
the umbilical cord, you will need to cut it. Please note that you will need to tie it before you cut it.
1- Tie a piece of dental floss around the puppy's umbilical cord. This first piece should be about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) away from the puppy's belly. A second piece of thread should be tied 0.25 inch (0.64 centimeters) away from the first piece, toward the placenta.
2- Using sterilized scissors, cut the umbilical cord between the two pieces of thread.
3- Iodine should be applied to the cut end of the puppy's umbilical cord. It is best to dip the end of the cord into iodine. This can be done by pouring some iodine into a sterilized cup.
The umbilical cord will then usually fall off within a few days to a week.
Call your veterinarian immediately if:
- If more than 30 minutes have passed without a puppy being pushed out and you are certain more puppies are expected
- If a puppy is stuck 1/2 way out and you can pull him or her out
- The dam is bleeding, has trouble breathing or shows any signs of distress. After giving birth, dogs 'bounce right back'; she should be a bit weary but be happily nursing her pups.