Whelp me, my dog is pregnant.

Over the last 12 months we have seen a huge increase in the breeding of brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds, especially the British Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug. With this comes certain problems, most notably the ratio between the bitches pelvis and puppies head and thus they require a caesarean.


With this in mind we have created the following guide to help breeders and owners with pregnant bitches as the time draws close to whelping. This guide applies to all pregnant bitches, not just brachycephalic ones. Please remember, if you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to get in contact.


When is it time to perform the caesarian? – this is the most commonly asked question we get


When the bitch is in establishment labour, this is not when the temperature has dropped nor when she is restless. This is when she has been actively contacting for 1 HOUR without the production of a puppy and the cervix is open.


Why are we so particular about this specific time-frame?


  1. Physiologically it is very important, the puppy pushing down in the birth canal creates a signal to the bitches brain, this turns on her mothering instinct and makes her produce milk. Without this reaction the bitch is at increased risk of rejecting the puppies and not being able to feed them.


  1. The surgery is made MUCH SAFER when abiding by this time frame. By the bitch contracting this helps us during the surgery reduce haemorrhage and aids delivery. It also makes it much easier to resuscitate the puppies.


What do I do when my bitch has been pushing for 1 hour without producing a puppy?


  1. CALL US – please DO NOT just arrive at a surgery unannounced, we have to ensure we have the surgery team in place before you arrive. This is for the safety of the bitch and for owner convenience.

How much does a cesarean cost?


The cost of the surgery will depend on the time of day, in normal working hours the cost is approximately £450, outside normal working hours but before 10pm it is approximately £650 and after 10pm but before 9am it is approximately £850.


What do I need to do to prepare my bitch for labour?


  1. Stay calm – stressing a bitch out before she goes into labour will not benefit her at all, she needs to feel safe and calm in order to go into labour, just like humans!
  2. Keep her quiet and warm
  3. Be prepared – the bitch will need a whelping crate – this is something that allows her to nest in a safe location where she can move freely away from the puppies should she want to. It also keeps the puppies in one location. I have attached an image of what one looks like.


What to bring when it is time for a caesarian?


Your puppy kit – these are things that keep the puppies safe and warm whilst you transport them from us home. The kit includes: an open top plastic box, hot water bottle and blankets (1 for the base of the box and 1 for round the hot water bottle.


How long will the procedure take?


Surgery time varies from 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you are travelling from a distance we recommend you wait nearby, this can be in the car, in the waiting room or at a coffee shop in the town.