German shepherd Puppies will grow big and are agile dogs who are very intelligent and loyal companions. German shepherds need regular health care and exercise.
Your German shepherd can live a long and happy life and be a lovely companion to you with persistent and careful efforts.
A German shepherd fertilizes in the hot season. Gets pregnant and gives birth to most puppies. If you find that your GSD is pregnant, prepare the necessary items to help her with her litter care.
You should take in-charge if the mother GSD is not producing enough milk and she does not want to take care of the litter.
How many puppies can a GSD litter hold?
German shepherds have very large litters; 2 to 14 puppies in a litter. The average litter size is 8 puppies.
In her first litter, puppies are beyond their mother’s abilities when they have more than 4 puppies. So, some new-borns will die or get sick and become very weak if you do not intervene.
What is the gestational period of a GSD?
The gestational period is about 64 days which is slightly longer than the gestation period of other species, due to their large size.
Getting Ready for Delivery
Before giving birth to its babies, a female German shepherd begins exploring private and safe places for her puppies (this process is called nesting).
For the comfort of the mother and the safety of the puppy, keep some blankets and towels in the whelping box. She begins to spend more time in her nest.
This way you will not have to distribute her puppies in hidden places.
German shepherd puppies are born blind, deaf and toothless, yet with a tendency to breastfeed and the ability to crawl toward the warmth of their mother’s body.
Taking Care of a German shepherd Puppies
New-borns cannot see or hear until 5 to 8 days of age. Puppies do not stand until at least 2 to 4 weeks of age. Same for the barking behaviour.
If left in the litter or orphaned, or if its mother is unable to produce enough milk, or if the suckle reflex for the puppy is poor, ask your vet for the milk prescribed by the German Shepherd Puppies.
Check if the temperature is warm enough as the puppies cannot control their temperature at this stage. During the first week of puppies, the room should be between 30º and 32ºC. For the second week, it can be slightly reduced between 26º and 28º and around 22º after the third week.
You do not need to bathe them this time, because the mother GSD cleans her litter by constantly pressing.
If the puppies are orphaned, you can wash them gently using a warm and damp cloth. Don’t forget to change the mattresses daily to keep the area clean and dry to avoid discomfort.
Post Delivery German shepherd Care
Monitor the delivery process. Mothers (for German shepherds), depending on her experience and the size of the litter, work an average of 6 to 18 hours, usually to deliver 5-10 puppies.
When new contractions begin, arrange the already born puppies with a heating pad fitted in a small box and keep them away until the next puppy is born.
Immediately after birth, check that each puppy is breathing properly. Observe closely on their movements to make sure there are no faded puppies.
German shepherd giving birth the first time
Usually, after birth, the mother cuts the umbilical cord and cleans the puppies by gently pressing their bodies.
She starts with the genitals, then the legs complete with the rest of the body. She may not do so if she has no experience, or when she is exhausted after childbirth.
Use a disinfectant to clean the cords and a clean towel to gently massage the puppy’s body until it dries.
Immediately after delivery, the mother cannot secrete milk, but the yellow substance is “colostrum”. This colostrum is very nutritious for babies. It is very important in strengthening their immunity as it transmits their mother’s natural antibodies.
In fact, 80 to 90% of new-born puppies die, as they could not benefit from colostrum.
Mother GSD, by licking its genital area, encourages her litter to urinate or defecate, but if left in the litter, you should stimulate them because new-borns cannot do this on their own till the first 2 weeks of life.
Gently massage the anal area using a damp cotton ball or washcloth. Use a suction bulb syringe if something obstructs the nasal passages of the puppy.
Track the growth and condition of each puppy. Using the Baby Scale, weigh each puppy immediately after birth and log its weight.
Healthy German Shepherd puppies weight is about 0.8 to 1.3 pounds at birth and 1.6 to 2.1 pounds by the end of the first week.
2-week old German shepherd puppies care
Healthy puppies are plump and firm and nurse every two hours or until their bellies are round.
Well-fed puppies sleep quietly, while air-swallowing puppies appear to be well-fed, but behave satisfactorily, initially crying and wandering around a lot, then, not moving enough.
Also Read: Adopting a German Shepherd Advice
Start training your GSD puppy when he is 5-6 weeks old. Provide high-quality solid food as the mother’s milk production of GSD begins to slow down.
German Shepherd puppies are completely weaned and completely independent from their mother by 8 weeks of age, so it is best to train them to avoid behavioral problems. If puppies are not trained to be considered completely stupid, train them now.