Discuss delivery procedures with your vet - remember that the information here is based on my own experiences, but your vet is the expert. Vets opinions vary. It is very important that you choose a vet that specializes in small dogs and small dog deliveries. The differences in vet opinions and the experiences of deliveries with larger dogs can mean the difference in how many puppies live or die in your litter.
The owner of the female Maltese is responsible for vet costs, delivery, boarding and other miscellaneous expenses associated with breeding. It's best to locate a Maltese breeder in your local vicinity.
Agree prior to breeding if puppies will be registered with open registration (the new owners can breed the dog) or limited registration (pet only - spayed or neutered at 6 months, then receive papers). Open registration contract should be signed and specified before breeding. Most breeders want to protect their bloodlines, so open registration will usually require a contract to be signed.
While your female Maltese is pregnant, give her Nutri-Cal twice a week during pregnancy to build up immune system of both mum and pups, and to prevent hypoglycemia. After delivery, give the mum Nutri-Cal and Calcium Tablets.
During the last trimester, I give the mother cottage cheese and yogurt to help bring in milk. Also, I give her chicken livers once or twice a week in the last trimester.
If her water breaks, or stringy brown/green mucus comes out before or during delivery, call vet and take her in - signifies water has broken and puppies could be in danger.
If your female Maltese is crying during delivery and has been pushing down for at least 3 hours, take her to vet so he can x-ray - she might need a c-section. This happens especially during first pregnancies.
If puppies are delivered by c-section, it is imperative that you place the puppy on mum's nipple as soon as you bring mum and the puppies home. C-section puppies have to be taught how to do this, regular delivery puppies tend to go right the nipple.
Your vet should have you bring mom and puppies in the next day after c-section to check and make sure everything is okay.
Mum will be sedated from c-section. Normally, she will lick her puppies to make them go to the toilet. Since she's still slightly sedated, you may need to gently rub the genital area of the puppies to make sure that it stimulates the puppy to go for a wee, or the puppy will die. Use baby oil on clean fingers. If puppy is crying a lot, this is a sign that the puppy has to go for a wee, so stimulate genitalia area to encourage this. Mum will take over the next day.
Puppies will be born in sacs. Puppies will be pushed out in the sac -- use scissors or tear the sac open. Cut the cord with clean scissors, and rub gently to stimulate breathing. Wipe puppy off with a soft dry cloth and give to mother to clean.
She may eat the afterbirth - this is normal. It is best to get rid of the afterbirth from the other puppies being born - she does not need to eat all of them.
If puppy comes out only partially and stops, as soon as you can grip the puppy, use clean washcloth, put some K-Y jelly around the vaginal area, and pull gently to help get the puppy out. The longer the puppy is lodged halfway, the greater the chance the puppy will die (oxygen cut off).
If both mum and dad are small, or you get a very tiny puppy born in the litter, there's extra fun. Real tiny puppies don't have strength to nurse, so you must feed them with an eye dropper. Buy pet formula (milk) at the pet store and also buy dropper. They must be fed as much as you can get them to take as often as you can get them to take it (about every half hour - yes through the night) until the puppy has the strength to nurse on its own. So keep putting puppy on mum's nipple until it can suck and get milk. Keep putting puppy up to mum constantly so she will start to lick puppy. Once she starts licking puppy, she will take over. She will stimulate the puppy to eliminate - you must keep feeding puppy and putting up to mum to lick to eliminate what you've input.
Change the bedding under the mum and puppies every day to keep bacterial infection away.
Place mum and pups in a basket or a playpen NEVER in a plastic kennel. Plastic kennels trap bacteria and cause kennel diseases.
No visitors handling puppies until they are at least 4 weeks old for their protection (germs). You and your family can stroke and hold the puppies regularly (wash hands) to get them used to being held and loved, but no other outside visitors until 4 weeks. Look but not touch for visitors. Diseases such as parvo can be tracked in on shoes - some breeders will make you take your shoes off before entering the house even if you don't touch the puppies.
Weaning will begin at 4-6 weeks, fully weaned at 8 weeks depending on the size the litter and size of puppies. Mum won't get in and feed them as often (usual feeding is every 2 hours) - she will start to feed every 3 or 4 hours. Take dry dog food and place in blender, pulverize to a powder. Put powder on a plate, place puppy's mouth to the powder and encourage to lick, or dip clean finger in powder and place on puppy's tongue. Puppy will then learn to eat dry food.
Purchase weaning milk at any pet store (dry powder), mix with bottled water (not tap water), place in saucer and push puppy's mouth to it and they will lick it. Helps to transition puppy from mum's milk. Leave weaning milk and dry food and water in playpen for puppies.
Don't put mum's food in the playpen with the puppies - they will choke on it. Feed mum separately. Puppies at 8-10 week should be able to chew regular dry dog food - once they have teeth but not before.
BUT MOST OF ALL ENJOY YOUR PUPPIES, THEY ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS BUNDLES OF PURE LOVE