Shih Tzu - Birth Process/Normal Deliveries

Published: 27th November 2005
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A shih tzu mother's instinct to nurture begins with her first shih tzu puppy delivery. Praise your shih tzu mother through labor and delivery. Try not to express disgust, fear or overexcitement. A breeder's expressions and emotions can have a deleterious effect on the shih tzu mother's attitude. If you fail to offer your shih tzu mother adequate emotional support, she could, in the rarer cases, refuse care of her litter.
The first thing seen in a normal birth is a partial emergence of a grayish blue (slimy-looking) sac from the shih tzu's vulva. However, I have seen many normal shih tzu deliveries in which this sac does not appear. If the sac is present, do not be alarmed, and do not try to burst the sac. This sac contains the first shih tzu puppy. Usually the shih tzu is able to deliver the sac containing the shih tzu puppy onto the whelping box floor by her second contracture or third strong contraction. Remain calm. Your attitude right now can prove crucial to the shih tzu mother's acceptance and care of her offspring. Usually, but not always the shih tzu will deliver the placenta (afterbirth) directly after each shih tzu puppy. Some shih tzu will turn to eat the placenta first, then go on to eat the sac, tearing it from around the shih tzu puppy's face and body. As the shih tzu ingest all evidence of a fresh birth, she will shake the new whelp still attached to the placenta by its umbilical cord.

Three events are taking place. First, instinct demands that all strongly-scented bloody evidence of a fresh birth be destroyed. In the wild, a fresh birth would attract predators to a whelping den's site. Instinct prepares the shih tzu mother to quickly get rid of all evidence of the fresh birth. Second, the placenta contains precise nutrients vital to the shih tzu mother that help to nourish her during a time when her strength is less than optimal. Included in these nutrients are those assisting the whelping shih tzu to maintain strong contractures. Some breeders will contend the shih tzu should not eat the placenta or at least not all of them.


I believe in allowing instinct to rule and I allow my shih tzu mothers to eat all the evidence of a fresh birth. If timing is right, I may remove one placenta. Thirdly, during these moments a shih tzu mother ingests the sac and afterbirth, she stimulates the shih tzu puppy to an independent life, toward breathing on its own. When the entire process is left to the shih tzu mother and assuming the shih tzu mother is abiding by her natural instinct, I have seen the puppies seem to become lively and thrive much better than if I have to help in the process. Not all shih tzu mothers do what they are suppose to do, and in these cases, a breeder must act quickly to save the newly whelped shih tzu puppy.
If the shih tzu mother is tending to the placenta first, you must act quickly and manually tear the sac from the shih tzu puppy's head. Do not remove the shih tzu puppy from its proximity to the shih tzu mother. Once the sac is torn especially away from the shih tzu puppy's face, carefully pick the shih tzu puppy up, holding it a few inches off the whelping box floor to make it easier for the shih tzu mother to crush and sever the cord. This action provides a clotting of blood coming from the cord and ties off the cord naturally. Allow the shih tzu mother to grind and gnaw the umbilical cord. The grinding-crunching sound heard is that of the shih tzu mother severing the cord from the placenta. If the shih tzu mother refuses to sever the cord within a few minutes of birthing a shih tzu puppy, clamp the cord with sterilized hemostats approximately two inches from the shih tzu puppy's abdomen, and cut the cord with sterilized surgical scissors. Dot blood clotting powder on the cord to stop the bleeding (this is the same powder that is used to stop bleeding when clipping toenails). In some cases, you might need to apply some Neosporin Ointment to prevent infection around the umbilical cord.

Connie Limon is a shih tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Discounts are offered to subscribers. Sign up at:

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