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I have a one year old black lab mix puppy that I got when my neighbors moved and couldn't keep her. I already have a black lab, about six months older, and they get along great. They said she was fixed, but obviously not, because right after I got her she went into heat. There is an intact male that has the run of our neighborhood and he dug under my fence and let himself into my backyard. Now, maybe I should have been prepared for that, but I had no idea Cookie wasn't fixed, so I didn't even recognize that she was in heat in the beginning. Now nine weeks later I am pretty sure she is preggo and I we are having puppies. Finding them homes won't be a problem, as my entire family keeps labs and my cousin trains therapy dogs for soldiers with ptsd. What I am worried about is what to do when the puppies come. I have never had a dog that wasn't fixed, so I am very unprepared.

I have an old sandbox outside that I use for a small pool for the dogs in the summer. It is large enough to use as a whelping box, and she has been laying in it constantly, so I will bring that in so she can get used to it before her time comes. That is about as far as I have gotten. When she goes into labor, do I back off and let her do everything herself, or do I need to be helping her somehow? Also, what kind of supplies do I need to have on hand?

I asked my vet if I need to bring her in and he said that it is all pretty natural and the only thing I need to do right now is start feeding her puppy food for added nutrients.

I know that most dog lovers do not condone backyard breeding, and frankly, neither do I, but we are in the middle of this situation, so I need to move forward and would sincerely appreciate answers that are helpful, rather than condemning, as I got on the last site I visited to try to get some information. I totally understand that this is a touchy subject, but there is no way I am going to abort a bunch of puppies, especially since my six year old already knows about it and would be heartbroken. And yes, I will be getting her fixed as soon as she is recovered from having puppies!

Any help or advice you can give is appreciated!!!
 

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If it was 9 weeks ago, she'd be just about ready to pop and I think you'd be more sure than just "pretty sure". You'd definitely be able to feel them moving by now. What makes you think she's pregnant, if you can't be totally sure?

There really is a lot of variability in how this could go. Some dogs just pop 'em out no problem, and some will need emergency intervention. What breed is the loose male? If he's considerably larger, there could be issues. My main advice is to keep the vet's emergency number handy, just in case. Do you know any breeders? They have a lot of experience with dogs birthing and would be your best resource for info and advice.
 

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63 days is the normal gestation. Lol, my last bitch was x-rayed and the vet said 3 pups. She delivered 9! Pay very close attention to her, if she begins labor/delivery and does not pass a pup within two hours be concerned about one being stuck. Between pups as well. After delivery within 24-48 hours I take mom and pups in to the vet for a complete check up. It is common to lose a pup at birth or soon after. Take the mom in now, make sure your vet doesn't recommend any vaccines, have her x ray or ultra sound done, and good luck!
 

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Thanks for the replies and sorry for the confusion, it is 9 weeks since she went into heat. I thought that heat lasted for about 3 weeks and she could have gotten pregnant anywhere in there, but like I said I really don't know much about this, except that she definitely looks pregnant, but not like she's ready to pop. I thought I felt something moving in there the other day, but when I felt around more, I couldn't feel it again.

Also, I found the male dog in my yard a total of three times, but only two when she could have been outside with him. They are inside dogs, so they only go out to run around and do their business.

I have no idea what kind of dog the male is, but he is about the same size as my lab but white and super fluffy. I will definitely look into the xrays. My vet doesn't do them, but he gave me a number of one who does, so I will call them tomorrow. Luckily, there is an emergency vet clinic right outside of my neighborhood, so we can get help quickly if we need it.
 

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LOL, I brought home a stray female who was heavily pregnant once from the clinic I worked at. They had no room for her over 4th of July weekend. She delivered 14, one of every color! Even a gray merle, who knows what mom or dad were. They all had good homes and mom was spayed later. The clinic gave half price on all the pups spay/neuter!
Anyway, be ready for lots of little ones!
 

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NINE???? Goodness!! Does anyone know what is a normal litter for labs? I'm hoping it isn't nine! LOL!!
Labs have huge litters. 12-14 is pretty normal. My Lab came from a litter of 13. Be ready for a lot of little mouths to feed.

When was the last time you found the male in your yard?
 

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Hate to burst your bubble, but with labs it's usually 7-10 pups or more in some cases. Nine wouldn't be out of the question!

My advice would be to contact a rescue, and see if they will help you adopt out the litter. It means you can't sell the pups yourself and they'd have final say in who gets them, but they would help with the expenses and so on. Unless you have ten for sure homes who are willing to take in the pups and take them for classes and such, I'd go that route (and even if you did, it wouldn't be a bad idea as the rescue can get a better price for vet bills and spay/neutering).

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/whelping.htm - great site with information. I had a foster litter last year and what we did is used a wardrobe box for the first while, with shredded paper, then moved to using shavings on one side and shredded paper on the other. The same link has info on 'housebreaking' and it means you have some work to do, but in the end the puppies are much easier to housebreak, the litter doesn't make as much of a mess and so on.

Get her to the vet to see how many to expect, and start stocking up on supplies. The big ones are a heat source, lots of clean bedding, and a good scale to make sure nobody's loosing weight. Start explaining to your daughter now that not all of the puppies survive all of the time and so on too - if she's old enough to experience the birth she should know that it might happen that some of them may not do so well.
 

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Oh my!!! Well, I guess a little crazy time will be a nice change of pace! Life has been kind of boring lately LOL! I had no idea she might have that many!!!

The male was in my yard with her one week after she started her heat and then again about 4 days later. I don't think he was in my backyard before that, because I'm out there every day playing with them and I didn't see any holes in the fence before that, but honestly I could have just missed it. I found him once more a few days later, but I filled the hole with dog poo and dirt and he didn't dig in again after that. Now I check the fence line at least once every two days, but I haven't found any more holes.
 

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I will contact a rescue for sure! I'm not interested in getting any money for them, as long as I know they end up in good homes!

Thanks for the website, I will check it out tonight!

I know that all the puppies may not survive, but I certainly hope we don't lose any! My daughter as already experienced more death than most adults I know, so that would be devastating for her. I will definitely start talking to her about it now. Thanks for the heads up on that!!!
 

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One more question....should I separate Cookie from my other lab when she gives birth? They have become best friends, and Zoe has never been aggressive at all, but I have no idea how other dogs react to newborn puppies.
 

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I would. New moms can become very protective, attacking other dogs and you as well. Be very careful when handling the pups at first. Now I have a reactive breed, and the girls are good with the labor and new pups, but some may react. Just expect it, but she will probably be fine.
 

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Thanks to everyone for all the helpful info! I sincerely appreciate it!!! This will be the ONLY litter Cookie ever has, because as soon as the vet says it's okay, she is getting fixed, but I still want to make sure I can do everything I can for these pups. It's not their fault I was a gullible idiot!!!! (Note to self: never take the word of people you barely know!!!)
 

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You will want to set up a quiet, 'safe' place for the litter and mom. Mom can get stressed and not care for her pups or worse kill them, and may not be into allowing another dog into her family - you don't want a battle with newborn puppies underfoot. Even the best of friends can change when hormones come into play, so keep that in mind. The other dog may not be as maternal and may even kill or eat the pups too, it does happen. Best to keep them separated, see if they are ok away from the puppies and play it by ear, but not push the issue.

Mom can also get snappy or aggressive with people, even your daughter, so keep that in mind. Put the litter where you're not going to have a ton of traffic coming and going, including kids. Socialize of course but in a controlled manner - these pups are not toys and you are not running a petting zoo. With kids I don't let them pick up the puppies or otherwise harrass them, they can sit on the floor and pet a puppy if it comes to them, and the puppy can sit in their lap, but should be free to get off the lap and go play again. Avoid letting anyone swoop and grab them as the pups can get fearful of people and handling very quickly. Even with adults, it's VERY EASY to have them drop a puppy (a friend had the vet tech DROP a puppy during a c-section) so be careful. Many adults will drop a puppy when it suddenly pees on them - and that does happen!

You also want to keep disease in mind, don't go to pet stores, shelters, vet clinics or dog parks when you have newborn puppies at home. That goes for visitors too, they shouldn't come from those kinds of places on their way to see you or the puppies.
 

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Also, with a large litter, the last puppy or two may take a while to be born, and they may be smaller and weaker. Try to use blankets or towels to configure the 'whelping box' so that the pups can't get behind Mom, so that you can minimize her rolling on them or crushing them. You might get 10 different colored ribbons, to tie loosely around each pups neck, so that you can tell the pups apart. A notebook with one page per pup may be useful for keeping notes about weight, personality, etc.

These two free books may help: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
 
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