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How to (or not) whelp a chihuahua

Updated on September 18, 2008

Life can be funny sometimes. Mostly not, however and for this very reason I wish that someone had provided me with a very specific handbook on whelping chihuahuas when I first started out.

It's not like I haven't whelped a truckload of dogs before. I was a vet tech, my parents raised dogs my whole life, and for kicks and giggles, I was the one who traversed around the neighborhood delivering puppies- The doggie doula- if you will, complete (at age 12) with my own set of forcepts lovingling donated by our only in-town vet, Doc Peterson. Oh, I did cats too- not much to that. But dogs were my forte.

I lived in farming country so, the dogs I helped with were- big dogs- the kinds of dogs that deliver a full-grown goat disguised as a puppy- wait, let me amend that, 12 full-grown goats.

This is not what will happen when you deliver chihuahua puppies.

First- temperature is critical- NOT! See, that's a joke. Because, while I have found the old temperature drop to be fairly reliable in many larger breeds of dogs- ha! maybe yes, maybe no... You can have a chihuahua drop temperature for a week (talk about pins and needles) or you can have another one not drop temp, go outside to take a pooh and look! It's Junior!

I think a good indicator of a chihuahua coming close is the fact that they will demonically possess a bed space, dig, dig dig, stretch, pant and do it all in the very middle of the night right after you have hit good REM sleep. If this happens, you can probably bet she is in real labor. Oh yeah, not only should it be the middle of the night, it should be a Saturday or Sunday night so that if there is trouble- it is a huge emergency vet bill.

Lets review: If your bitch has turned into Cujo regarding where she wants to sleep, if she is panting, arching, digging and you are so tired that you could die- combined with the fact that it is probably the middle of the night on a weekend- your little love bunny is probably in labor. DO NOT ATTEMT TO TAKE HER TEMPERATURE AT THIS TIME! I gurarentee you, it will not go well.

The arching you are seeing is contractions. Are you seeing full-blown arching her neck, looking like a stretch with a strain added to it? Contraction. Usually their position is sitting up or stretched way out. If they are laying on their backs, stretching their legs, asking for the remote control and some liver snaps- these are not contractions. These are chihuahuas in repose.

Once you see the contractions coming harder and more frequently you should prepare for puppies. NO. Preparing for puppies does not mean getting on the internet and placing ads or updating your website. Preparing for puppies means having those items in place and checking that they are still there. Do you have a small pair of scissors, washcloths, hemostats, thread or dental floss, an extra pair of hands? Well, what are you waiting for? Get that stuff!

NO, don't stand there saying it is only day 58- these things happen, you could be delivering stuff under two ounces or over 5 ounces. Did you get an xray? Then you are ahead of the game. If not, you are living on the edge- that can be fun too. I prefer the xray method as I know how many and how big- if there is a St. Bernard in there with those chihuahuah pups, I worry about mom's natural ability to pass. That is called a C-section. Well, it is called a complication but lets cut to the chase, it's a C-section!

But before we jump the gun, we have puppies to deliver. She is pushing, you are seeing something- something drastically wrong in your eyes- a black bubble that looks like what the car mechanic takes out of your tank during an oil change looks like- hold on, don't call CNN, this is the bag of waters. Sploosh, it breaks. She keeps pushing, I offer ice cream or cottage cheese throughout these points, also raw hamburger. It works for me. Other people offer other things. DO NOT OFFER YOUR CHI HER OWN BANKCARD OR A WING BUILT ON TO YOUR HOUSE AT THIS TIME! That is just panic setting in and it will pass.

As she pushes, you see another one of those opaque bags, but this time you think, you feel, you know that's a puppy! It's not moving in the bag, oh God! It's drowning! STOP! No, it is perfectly fine at this point, once the bag is out, mom or you will break it, take the slimey little feeder mouse and briskly rub it with that washcloth. Cut and tie off the umbilical cord (you can also pinch the umbilical cord off and keep rubbing, pinching and trying to piss that puppy off. Get it crying. Mom should be doing something really disgusting and eating afterbirth at this point. The afterbirth came out with the puppy but it is not the puppy's malformed, hideous twin. It is the placenta and the rest of the bag that the puppy was in. You need to know this because this is the same point that usually small kids come in and are traumatized for life. "Mommy, Princess is eating her own liver that fell out!" Usually I am to busy to explain so I have come up with "That's okay, she'll grow a new one." Kind of like the Lee Press-On-Nails commercial.

If you have gotten this one squeeking, you can put him on a heating pad or with mom. Keep checking him (I say him because it's a boy- they are always boys- someone is producing girls but I have know idea who it is- maybe they are genetically cloned in some warehouse somewhere- mine, inevitably are boys.) So, put this guy with mom and be prepared to do it all over again.

Make sure mom is hydrated during this prosess. Don't do what I did my first litter, and even if she is begging for it with her eyes, do not give her a Margarita. Water is just fine, or chicken broth if you want to go crazy.

All of the little squeekers should be rubbed, pinched and put with mom. Watch them to make sure they don't "fade". Weigh them with that nifty little scale you bought. (I know you did) and record the weights for the first week or so. This will drive you crazy with worry and then I will have company. MIsery loves company. Now, if they all look alike you can put a little nail polish on the fur (not skin) to tell them apart. The best nail polish is one they make for kids. Non-toxic and mom wont wash it off in the night.

In case of a tragedy, please do not wrap the puppy up in paper towels, put it in a baggie and place it in the freezer if you have human children. Someone I know did this and had to answer all kinds of questions from the school counselor on tuesday just as I (I mean she) was trying to figure out how she had missed a pediatricians appointment for that same nine year old. The counselor, obviously never having been raised around pets, felt that this child was traumatized. This was the same child who assisted the vet for the last C-section. Well, this is just a warning-take it how you will.

Now, it goes without saying that, since I'm not there with you, and if you see your dog straining for a length of time (a length of time being two hours) with out producing anything- or if you see something that you are worried about, (a puppy that you can see being stuck, a foot but nothing else, no contractions after the first puppy and it's been a few hours) well, get thee to a vet.

Also, just so you know, during this process, some chihuahuas have big teeth.

As for the new happy family, enjoy the fact that mom eats the poop for about 4-6 weeks. Then it's all up to you. Beleive me. I think that is the only great thing about the small litter size.



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    • profile image

      Linda 6 weeks ago

      I am not so worried now, or am I? Scarey business and Millie's pregnancy is not even confirmed yet.

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      nichole 3 years ago

      Interesting and comical; I have raised pits and great danes for years now my friend is expecting chuhuahua pups by my male and is concerned by her whining I think she has roughly ten days to go so looking advice? If u can think of anything I may not know please email

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      Ellie 5 years ago

      I am about to have my second litter of pups from my amazing Chihuahua mom . She is a brindle and a rescue dog. My husband and I found her in a rest area in central Oregon last October (2011). It was extremely cold and she weighed about 8lbs. But should have weighed more. We took her home and took her to the Vet with in a week and the Vet stated it looks like sh has been spayed and is just really malnourished. So we put her on a special diet to get her healthy and gave her lots of love.Come December 1st. she gave birth to 5 very healthy puppies. Side note the first one was born on my husbands lap . LOL

      She did an amazing job and my PIT BULL (rescue dog as well ) was acting like a nervous father the whole time.

      Make a long story short she was a amazing mother loved every part of it and my pitt helped her and loved those puppies every step of the way.

      I made sure and screened every person that got a puppie and they have all signed and promised that if anything should ever come up that they can not keep there puppy they come back to us.

      I know them all personally and the puppies are doing great.

      This will be her last batch and I already have homes for the puppies.

      Just wanted to share and let people know these dogs are tuffer then you think give them a chance to do what is natural .

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      PeanutButter 5 years ago

      Omg thx for the help gotta tell my parents this so they're prepared ... Just in case you never know what's around the next corner

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      diane 5 years ago

      i found this little tiny chihuaua cant afford to take her to vet but she is in need of c section she is in labor now i don't get payed till next week what can i do i don't want her to die

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      i have a chihuahua named gem 5 years ago

      my chihuahua weighs 4 pounds and is so adorable and she gots lots of cloghts so basicly what im saying is that she is spoiled

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      Angel 6 years ago

      my 6.5 lbs chihuahua mated with my 5lbs male chihuahua they were with kids at home and got out and got together not sure the date so not sure when she will birth , ultra sound showed three sacs but couldn't tell if anything in them about july started vomiting,sleeping a lot and refused to eat, and could feel them slightly moving.temp went down to 99.5 yesterday than back to 100 i think she is close but worried she has not gone into labour , yet she seems fine not sick ,eating and drinking here and there and pups still moving but less than before, could we be close to whelping?

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      DFR 7 years ago

      That was great, I laughed aloud, and it was informational. Thanks

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      Angel 7 years ago

      Thanks so much for your info. It helped us make the right choice $2,000.00 later at an emergency vet. We saved the mom and 3 puppies via c-section and had her spayed at the same time. She may have been too little to deliver but being Sunday morning an 45 minutes to an open emergency animal hospital. We are all ok, a few new gray hairs and all.

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      lily 7 years ago

      i loved this story! my chi just gave birth to 10 pups... NO LIE!!! all are healthy and getting fat. at 2 weeks old they can get super loud . lol

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      Dan - Not nervous anymore....much 7 years ago

      That's pretty freaky how my girl is going to deliver any second now, well it looks like it anyway, after reading your story yesterday, I took her to the vet for XRays and for $100, I got peace of mind, I found out how many and their respective sizes and the vet showed me the XRay and like a proud Co-Daddy, I stared in disbelief when there where 5 puppies in there.

      The size was important to me because the daddy, you know the biological father, is a Morkie, he's not much bigger than she is, about 4 Lbs heavier and, now you have to understand that I didn't want this to happen right away, they are both very young, my boy is 1 1/2 and my Chi Girl (Chocolate Chi) is only 11 months.

      I know full well that they are too young to mate, but I had taken precautions, diaper pants on both of them, but you seriously have to always watch them when she is in heat, it was her first time and boy o boy, she was already a pro, I had never seen such displays, except at the strip club, she knew how to work it and she found a way, now I have to deal with it, but the vet visit put me at ease...some, still a little nervous, but as a vet once told me, nature and life, always finds a way to flourish.

      So thanks for your inspiring story, as it helped me a great deal, Thanks.


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      beverly 7 years ago

      Great story! We have a five pound chihuahua,she is three years old with first litter on way. She bred with an four pound blue fawn male he is one and half,we are very nervous about this,we don't know the exact date they...but know sometimes last month and she is huge her titts are big also.we have gotten all items that was listed as needed for the big time and more I really hope she and pups do well,we have raised and breed pit bulls and had seen labor last 15 hours with 12-15 pups sure that's not going to happen I this case but every night the last two weeks I have been up til 3 am reading and trying to learn more please help if tour have any information I may need its 3 am and very tried but please anyone help thanks

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      TalkofLondon 8 years ago

      Congrats on your little angel and her little angels. Remember to ask your new puppy owners to spay and neuter their pups unless they are show dogs- There are more chihuahua's in rescue right now than ever before!!

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      Pearl 8 years ago

      Thanks so much for a great article.I laughed the whole way through it.I was very nervous about our 5 lb little girl having her litter. This was an unplanned event for us.I had never birthed ANY puppies before.So even though I'm a mother of 3 and grandmother of 3,I was absolutely terrified that something would go wrong.Read your story yesterday and as of 3AM this morning I am the proud granny of 6 pups. Everything went just as you said and our Lilah hardly needed my help.She was quite a little pro at this.Needless to say she will be spayed as soon as possible as I don't think my heart could handle the stress again! We only planned on 4 and have found good homes for them but I don't think I'll have any problem finding two more loving homes. Again, thank you so much for helping us through this!

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      Donna H, 8 years ago

      Thank you for all the info, our little girl is due any day, she hit 65days now we wait. I have herd That it can take up to three days after for her to become pregnant, so now we sit and wait but thank you again for all the info

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      amanda 8 years ago

      Thanks for the great story. My baby is having her puppies shortly wasn't sure about it she so small. Maybe i will be more calm about now.

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      Gracies Mom 8 years ago

      I am so happy I ran across your site today. Our baby is due in 2 weeks with hers and our first litter. I have been a nervous wreck after reading other horror stories. Yours was informative and calming. I just hope all goes well and we will NEVER do this again.

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      Channell Rajal 8 years ago

      I really enjoyed this story:) You described my feelings exactly from when my chihuahua had babies! I was looking for info again because she's about to have another litter - thanks for calming my nerves and letting me know that my worries are more common then I had thought:)

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      Christina 8 years ago

      Thanks for the advise my chihuahua is due in the next two weeks or so. I have been reading everything I can and this may be the most helpful article of all. I am getting her x-rays soon. Hopefully this will show me how many to expect. Thanks again forhte humerous and helpful info!!

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      Monica Kerr 8 years ago

      Thankyou for writing such an easy to read, cut the crap story about chihuahua whelping my chihuahua is due to birth 3 puppies in the next week and I am very prepared and know the local vet is open 24hours(in case) fingers crossed. It helps to read information on whelping in a humourous way. Thankyou

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      Daphne McDevitt 8 years ago

      Wow!! Thank you for the entertaining and informative article. Most articles or information I have read all tell me to seek a vet..unfortunately, I can't afford one. Our two chihuahua's that mated were not bred on purpose but we are looking forward to the babies!! Thanks to your article, I feel much better about our Chi going into labor and what we will need to do and have to be prepared!!!

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      Cait 8 years ago

      Wow. You nailed it. My girl gave birth to five healthy babies today, only four hours of visible labor but she had all the signs. The restlessness, digging in her bed, panting, waking me up every half hour last night. I wish I had found this site before the delivery today, it would have put my mind at ease during the process. It doesn't matter how many books you read or how many tips a vet offers it always helps to have it explained the way you did. The sense of humore doesn't hurt either. Thanks for the laugh.

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      Pixie 9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story/info. It seems its a rather typical event for breeding chihuahuas. Last night my AKC chi went 4 hours after bursting her first water sac & still no puppy. There were a few contractions but no action. She wasn't even stressed or tired I didn't know what to do. I took her to a vet 65 miles away, as there convienently was a vet convention in the state and EVERY damn VET was outta town. OH YEAH I paid for this one. $679.00 I am ill this morning trying to stomach having spent that much. In this instance there were no puppies in the canal, labor without useful contractions.

      She was given oxytocin ( $50+) which did NOTHING but waste more money. They did a C-section, gave me a fat bill (due at time of services of course), 3 pups (all girls) that even if sold cannot recoup the lost money, time and effort

      I found this site researching what to do when labor of your chi stalls, or how to prevent this. I did not have her spayed last night as the vet offered, but said this does not mean she wont deliver normally next litter. She did not have a stuck pup or anything visibly concerning. Anyway its been interesting to say the least.

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      Phyllis M 9 years ago

      Great story, and I can certainly relate!! I also raise purebred chi's. Early this morning (VERY EARLY 1:30 A.M.) my chi gave birth to 4 tiny little ones. It all happened exactly as you wrote. Weekend, middle of the night, and problems with the birth! Needless to say, we spent the night at the vet clinic! I can just imagine what the vet fees will total!!

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      Lyn 9 years ago

      I love your sense of humor, always have! Since I know nothing about birthin' no babies, your turn on it makes me want to know less. I do know NOT to let a female doberman out the back door when she's in heat, however! But I digress. Can't wait to read more about your experiences. Rynnie

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      Laura Lakies 9 years ago

      I loved your story! I knew I made the right decision to let others do the breeding and whelping and I do the puppy pooh clean-up!

      Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more.