So, the day has finally arrived. Your dog is giving birth to a litter of puppies and your entire family is excited for her and the new additions to your family. While you do everything you can to ensure the comfort and safety of your dog during the birthing process, you might be surprised to know that you'll need to keep an eye on some things after she gives birth as well. This guide explains what you can expect from the mother dog in the days and weeks after giving birth.

Eating Habits

The new mom may not be interested in eating food immediately, but a few hours after giving birth her appetite should come back. The biggest challenge of feeding the new mom is that her instinct will keep her completely bound to the puppies. She will not leave them even for a moment. To keep her well fed, you need to bring food and water to her, as she will not go get it for herself.

Switch the mom to a dog food with higher calories toward the final stages of pregnancy. The increased intake of calories prepares her for the rigorous demands of nursing. Continue this diet as she progresses her puppies through the nursing stage. If the mom is not eating food or drinking water within the first 24 hours of giving birth, contact your veterinarian.

Hair Loss

The extreme stress of labor, birth, and nursing can affect your dog's regular hormones and functioning. Dogs lose and grow hair at a regular rate, which is what keeps their coat looking healthy. However, the stress of birth can disrupt the growth and can result in very visible hair loss.

In some cases, new moms may even suffer temporary bald patches in their coat. The hair should begin growing again once the stresses of birth and nursing wear off within a couple weeks

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge is very normal and should be expected after your dog gives birth. The mom's uterus needs to heal and return to its normal size, which will result in discharge. For the first 24–48 hours the discharge will be black or green, but eventually it should turn red and always be odorless. Discharge can continue for a few weeks and should lessen as time progresses. If the discharge isn't slowing down, or if it has an odor or inappropriate color, contact your veterinarian.

In time, you'll notice that your dog returns to her normal self without any complications. Ask your vet about other things you should be on the lookout for when your dog gives birth to her new puppies. For further concerns, speak with a representative from a clinic like Canine Center.