Are you getting ready for your first litter? Or perhaps you have had litters before but you're not 100% on the best equipment for the arrival, whelping or rearing?

Welcoming new life into the world can be very rewarding, but it can also be quite difficult. This blog post includes some of our members comments on the things you may need to welcome your litter into the world, and they also cover what to expect. More of our members expertise can be found in the Ladies Working Dog Group Free Facebook Community. 

setter dog with puppies drinking milk


A whelping box, rubber matting, stock up on newspaper, a heat lamp and a digital thermometer!  I kept an entire litter once, so keep what (puppies from the litter) you want!


Puppystim on Amazon. Literally a puppy life saver. I will NEVER be without it.


Have a plan for when they’re 4 weeks + - ours stayed in their whelping box as it was massive, but we put them onto shavings in it whilst trying to house train them as much as we could, we found it far easier than newspaper! Lots of towels, puppy milk & syringe just incase. Take temp and keep an eye.. mine didn’t eat breakfast the morning of both her litters. She was a week early both times also, but I had no idea the first time, called her to the front door and she come for late checks at the stables, it was only once I’d had a shower and went to bed I noticed a puppy squirming around 😳safe to say I put them both into the whelping box and had to sit with her for the duration of labour. 


When it comes to worming pups buy paste not liquid. More liquid ends up out of the puppy than in it 🤣 Also don't be tempted to let people come and see to buy until you are 100% which one you are keeping.


Budget for a caesarean (in our hospital that can be £1-2k!). You’ll need to worm daily from day 40 of pregnancy to 2 days post-whelping. Familiarise yourself with complications to look for and the normal progression of birth. Sort your vet out ASAP for docking (if necessary for your breed) as most vets don’t do it anymore. Read "Book of the Bitch".


Read up on pre eclampsia/ eclampsia before she’s pregnant and again before she’s due. Know the signs. Also learn about mastitis treatment, quick treatment for these sort of issues can prevent the need for intervention.


Vet bed for mum, I litter trained my pups which made things so much easier. Look at wheatgerm and raspberry leaf extract supplements (dorwest herbs) 

There's lot of great resources out there to read on, puppy culture and book of the bitch for example. Also if you can find a local experienced breeder who's happy to be on call during whelping, as there may be things you'll worry about that's normal and save a unnecessary trip to vets.

If things do go wrong, get a few bit of dollar stashed in the bank. It can get very expensive very quickly. Most importantly find time to sleep and relax, it's bloody hard work but so worth it.


I prefer a special heated mat to a lamp then puppies can choose to get on or off it..especially when the bitch starts to leave them for exercise etc. Also try and have a friend who has delivered puppies before with you during whelping...(this is) always helpful if one needs a bit of extra care.

I stay with the bitch all the time once she's started. Good luck and enjoy.


Best to have plenty in the bank in case of complications, c section etc as insurance doesn't usually cover that. Plenty of old clean towels, sheets newspapers as it gets Very messy lol. If you know any experienced breeders as friends, it's good to have on speed dial. I also take my bitches temperature from a day or two before she's due as it changes before she goes into labour.

golden retriever puppies

If you are interested in purchasing the "Book of The Bitch" as mentioned in the comments above, you can get yours by pressing the button below:

Maybe you're not looking to breed and would rather help on purchasing a puppy. Click the button below to go to our blog on top tips for choosing a working puppy:

  • A plastic whelping box was a brilliant recommendation. No smell, easy to clean.
    Puppy stim for helping any pups with no energy after being born, which I used on the first pup and worked a treat to give her some energy to be able to then feed from mum.
    Lots of towels to give them a rub and get them moving.

    Scissors to cut the cord as helpful to avoid umbilical hernias, get another breeder to show you how if concerned.
    Ask for help if it is your first litter experience from other breeders is invaluable.
    Coffee lots of it.
    So many great tips on here.
    Mostly enjoy it such a fabulous thing to be part of

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thank you so much for adding some more tips for people to use! You have some great ones.

      We are so glad you love being part of the community!

      Much love,
      Charlotte xx

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