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Setting up the Whelping Box

  When the box is ready, put a bedding of straw in the bottom, and start getting the bitch accustomed to it a week or two before her whelping time. Keep clean straw in it until she shows signs of approaching labor, and then replace it with sacks or a piece of rug nailed to the floor of the box. This gives the bitch something to tear at, and you may be sure she will take advantage of this convenience. Be sure that the box is located in a spot where she will have privacy from other dogs and strangers. This job of having puppies does not concern the others in the kennel. The bitch will want to have her puppies by herself, with no one near but her master, and it is well to humor her desire. However, be sure that you can reach her quickly and easily when the time comes and you have to render assistance.

  If the whelping box has been used before, scrub it thoroughly with disinfectant and let it dry in the sunshine. Before you place the bitch in it, give her a careful treatment with flea exterminator. A good plan is to treat her for lice too, for fleas and lice, beside irritating the puppies, form part of the life cycle of tapeworms.

  Keep the bitch exercised during pregnancy, but do not overdo it. After the sixth week, take her for gentle strolls, but keep her on the lead. Do not allow her to jump, and be sure that she does not get into any fights. Never allow her to travel during the last two weeks, even though she is accustomed to riding in your car. During this period a very slight jolt will often bring on a miscarriage.

  Pregnant bitches are frequently very thirsty, so be sure that there is always a fresh supply of water where your bitch can reach it easily.
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