Whelping Plan

Pre-Natal Feeding Schedule

The expectant dam should be fed an inexpensive low-protein dry dog food for the first 6 weeks (42 days) after she is bred. Mark these dates on your calendar. (Recent studies have shown that high protein diets in the first six weeks of pregnancy actually cause a higher percentage of abortions and fewer pups per litter.)

After 6 weeks (42 days), she should be fed her regular food again (a mix of 50% canned, 50% dry dog food) with the addition of one dozen cooked eggs per day until the puppies are four weeks old. Eggs may be hard boiled or scrambled. Follow her feedings throughout the rest of her pregnancy and nursing with a pan of regular milk.

The Kimbertal Plan for Producing Larger Litters and Bigger Pups

This plan applies exclusively to breeders who have a contractual obligation to Kimbertal. It is not intended as a general guide for care and feeding under any other circumstance.

From the moment of conception and on through whelping, nursing, and feeding of the pups, following Kimbertal's nutrition plan is the single most important element in achieving and maintaining good health and strength in both the dam and the pups.

After your bitch returns home from being bred, keep her confined for at least 10 days.
This will insure that no other dog will get to her until she is safely past any further conception.

Kimbertal's recommended enriched prenatal diet will allow the puppies to achieve maximum growth, their survival rate will be higher, and the mother will have more abundant and richer milk.
You will have insured that your pups have the healthiest

Immediately on returning home, begin giving her a daily vitamin which Kimbertal will supply. Continue the daily vitamin throughout the pregnancy and nursing periods.

Important! - Feeding Eggs To Your Puppies And Mother Dog

Eggs are the essential component in this enhanced nutritional plan. Their addition to the mother's and the pups' diets will help to insure that your pups will make the weight to qualify for any and all bonuses.

Kimbertal supplies you FREE of charge the following:

  • Prenatal / nursing vitamins for the dam.
  • Forty pound bag of top quality dry food
  • $10 a puppy for meat.
  • Reimbursement for eggs.
  • Reimbursement for milk.
  • Shots and Worming medications.
  • Feeding bottles, feeding syringes

The Whelping Pen

Many, if not most puppy deaths are preventable. You can insure against such tragedy with your pups if you take care to avoid the following:

  1. Temperature below 75 degrees at the floor level.
  2. Pups being born in unsuitable area, such as outside in a dog house, on the back porch, on a cold basement or garage floor with no heat lamp, etc.
  3. No protection to prevent the dam from accidentally lying on the puppies.
  4. Failure to provide supplementary feedings in large litters (8 or more pups).
  5. Failure to monitor that smaller pups get adequate nursing time.

You will receive instructions on how to set up the whelping area when you come to pick up the Whelping Guard the week before your bitch's due date. The Guard is a small, floor level corner shelf which allows a pup caught behind the dam to slide under the shelf, which then bears the dam's weight and keeps her from crushing the pup.

The floor area where your bitch whelps should have a minimum temperature of 75 degrees. We recommend a place that is not within your family's normal traffic areas, but near an outside door for the dam's convenience in relieving herself. If there are children in the household, they should not have unrestricted access to the area and should be monitored by an adult if they are in the vicinity of the pen.

When using the heat lamp, secure it 36" high and adjust it so it shines to one side of the pen. This allows the pups to benefit from the heat while the mother lies away from it. Be sure the lamp is very secure -- it can become hot enough that it can ignite flammable materials that are too close or are touching it

Line edges of the pen with one inch of shredded newspaper. Leave the center of the pen clear so the mother does not lie on hidden pups. WIPE THE PEN DOWN MORNING AND NIGHT - AND CHANGE PAPER WHEN IT BECOMES SOILED.

The Moment Arrives!

Your bitch should whelp approximately 63 days after her first breeding, usually late at night when the house is quiet.

Starting around her 61st day, begin checking her temperature morning and night. Her normal temperature is 101.5 degrees rectally - a drop below 100 degrees usually indicates that she is getting ready to whelp - usually within 12 hours. It is best to have only the husband and/or wife attend her. Children may observe the delivery only if they are very quiet and remain in the background.

If this is the first time your bitch has given birth, she may not instinctively break the sack as the puppy is born. This could cause the pup to suffocate if you do not give immediate assistance. Hook your finger into the membrane under the pup's chin and puncture the sack before placing the pup back with the mother. She will take care of the rest. Frequently the sack will remain inside the mother, but she will eventually expel it. It is common for dams to eat the pups' placentas. This is quite all right. The placenta contains extraordinary nourishment which will benefit the dam and the nursing pups.

It may be necessary for you to cut the umbilical cord, but no closer than 3" from the puppy. Apply iodine to the end of the cord.

If a pup has had a difficult birth, it may have inhaled amniotic fluids. If he has trouble breathing, hold the pup upside down and swing him gently to help expel fluid from the lungs. Wipe out his mouth with a damp piece of cloth and rub his little chest and belly vigorously but gently with a towel until you can determine that he is breathing clearly.

If you can tell the dam is still in labor but has gone without giving birth to another puppy for more than 3 hours, take her outside on a leash for an exercise walk and then return her to the pen. Fresh water should be available to her at all times. Have the puppies nurse for ten minutes and then a quick walk until another pup comes along.

When she has completely finished whelping (at least 8 hours after the last puppy) administer 1 cc of oxytocin and an hour later 2 cc of penicillin. (Kimbertal will have supplied these when you picked up the whelping pen.)


Pups usually begin nursing soon after birth. You may have to assist them at first, but it is important that they receive the antibodies in the dam's milk the first 24 hours.

If the litter is large (over 8 puppies) or if any of the pups are not getting an adequate chance at nursing, divide the litter into 2 groups and alternate each group's access to the mother. Place the non-nursing group into a comfortable, cozy box and remove them from the vicinity to a place where you can offer them a supplementary feeding. Rotate the groups every 2 to 3 hours. Do not rotate any smaller or seemingly weaker pups - leave them with the mother at all times.  Do not take the mom away from the puppies except for potty breaks.  Meals are served between her front legs.

Supplementary Feedings

Use the following formula for supplementary feedings:

1 can evaporated milk / 1 can hot water
1 egg yolk (raw)
1 tablespoon clear Karo Syrup.

Blend thoroughly and refrigerate in a closed container. (Discard the unused portion after 48 hours and blend a fresh batch)

When ready to use, pour no more than 2 ounces of formula into the nursing bottle, heat it to lukewarm (test it on the inside of your wrist as you would for a baby) and offer it to each pup for 30 seconds. Empty the bottle of any remainder after 1 hour.

To insure that the formula is passing through the nipple adequately, hold the bottle upside down and see if drops form readily at the end of the nipple. If not, you may need to enlarge the nipple hole with a hot needle. Take care that the pup does not get too much formula too quickly--this may cause him to overfeed or to choke and aspirate milk into the lungs.

Weak or thin pups should receive supplementary feedings morning and evening for three to seven days. USE ONLY CANNED MILK in the formula. Dairy milk at this stage can cause diarrhea - do not use dairy milk as a substitute for canned milk.

Preventing or Treating Mastitis During the Nursing Phase

It is especially important to clean the dam's breasts once a day during the nursing phase. Make a solution of one gallon of water to which 4 drops of Chlorox has been added. Apply the solution to a washcloth and gently and thoroughly wipe each nipple area.

Check each nipple by gently squeezing to express some milk. If the milk appears off-color or speckled, immediately halt breast feeding. Remove the pups and start supplementary feeding. CALL KIMBERTAL IMMEDIATELY. The dam may have mastitis but prompt action can save the litter. Transport the dam to Kimbertal where we will check her and, if necessary, provide you with antibiotics. (Give her 2 pill every 12 hours for 12 days.)

If she does have mastitis, we recommend that in addition to the antibiotics, you apply hot compresses to the affected breasts. If only one breast gives evidence of mastitis, it may be possible for the pups to continue nursing from the other breasts by taping over the infected breast (s), thus preventing the pups from getting bad milk. If 3 or more breasts are affected, the pups should be completely removed, making it necessary to bottle feed the pups for a few days until the mastitis is cleared up.

Docking the Tails

As soon as the pups are born, notify Kimbertal (610) 933-3600} so that arrangements can be made for you to bring the pups in to have the dew claws removed and the tails docked. The ideal time for docking is between the 3rd and 5th day after birth. Plan on bringing the mother along as well.

The pups should be transported in a sturdy, light-weight box layered with nesting materials (shredded paper, towels, blanket pieces, or the like) with a towel or light blanket covering to protect the pups from chill.

At the same time, Kimbertal will provide you with an additional bag of dry food and additional canned food. These supplies should be sufficient to feed both the dam and the pups through their sixth week.

General Health Care Tips for Puppies

At around two weeks, the puppies' nails will have become quite sharp - you will need to clip off the white tips. This can be done with a regular nail clipper. Take care not to clip them too close. The clipping prevents the mother from being scratched, which makes her less willing to nurse the pups.

If you notice fleas on the puppies or the mother, please contact Kimbertal for appropriate flea spray.

As long as the pups are nursing, the dam keeps them clean by licking them. However, once solid foods are introduced, the job falls to YOU to keep the pen clean and sanitary. Once the pups are more up - and - about, they can begin stepping in their stools - a perfect environment for contracting coccidiosis, a parasitic invasion of the intestinal tract which produces loose, watery, and/or bloody stools that has a definite unpleasant odor. Contact the kennel immediately to obtain medication to address this problem if it arises.

Layers of newspaper on the floor of the pen with additional shredded paper added on top will help to maintain a more sanitary environment for the pups. Once or twice a day you can roll up all the paper, dispose of it and put down fresh layers with more shredded paper on top.

Supplementing the Pups - Introducing Solid Food (2 - 3 weeks)

Introduction to solid food should be started when the pups are 2 - 3 weeks old. You will also be gradually transitioning them from formula (I can evaporated milk / 1 can water. Etc.) to whole milk now that their digestive systems are better able to handle a more complex diet.

Morning and Evening Feedings

(These feedings should be lukewarm.)
(Over the next week you will gradually DECREASE amount of formula as you gradually INCREASE the amt. of whole milk. By the end of the week, you will be using 100% whole milk and NO formula. Rice Cereal and dry kibble will remain the same)

Option 1 - Weaning and the Introduction of Solid Food Using a Bottle

The following amount is suggested for 8 pups. Increase or decrease depending on litter size. The bottle is done both morning and night.

Day 1
Place 16 oz. (2 standard measuring cups) warm formula, 3/4 cup Gerber's Rice Cereal, 2 Tablespoons dry kibble (supplied by Kimbertal) in a blender on HI for 30 secs. .
Pour mixture into nursing bottle which Kimbertal supplied to you. You may need to slightly increase the size of the hole in the nipple due to the thickness of the formula. Give each puppy 1 - 2 oz per feeding.

Day 2
Decrease formula to 12 oz. (1 cups) and ADD 4 oz. (1/2 cup) whole milk

Day 4
Decrease formula to 8 oz. (1 cup) and increase whole milk to 8 oz. (1 cup).

Day 5
Decrease formula to 4 oz. (1/2 cup) and increase whole milk to 12 oz. (1 1/2 cup).

Day 7
Discontinue formula. Increase whole milk to 16 oz. (2 cups).


Option 2 - Chicken / Rice Transition to Weaning and Solid Food

Cook 2 cups white rice. Boil 6 chicken thighs until meat falls from bone. Allow the broth and chicken to cool. Save broth. Debone the chicken. Put rice and chicken meat in blender, adding enough broth to make a thick puree. Pour puree into ziplock baggies. (This mixture can be frozen and used both in the bottle and as an additive in future pan meals.)

When ready to use, thaw and heat to lukewarm. Mix rice and chicken puree with formula (using the ratios described in Option 1 (16 oz. formula on Day 1, etc. As the week progresses, you will be reducing the amount of formula and increasing the amount of whole milk.

You may use either option OR both (Option 1 in the morning, Option 2 in the evening) just as long as the pups receive these supplementary feedings TWICE A DAY. The pups grow rapidly and the dam may not be able to produce enough milk for the litter. She may also start to cut down on her nursing time as the puppies' teeth emerge even though we encourage you to let her keep nursing.

Noon Feeding

Give each puppy 6 cc to 10 cc plain nonfat yogurt. (12 cc syringe supplied) This is in addition to the two supplementary bottle fed meals that the pups are now being fed.

Pan-Feeding the Puppies from 4 to 7 Weeks of Age

At this stage, we introduce pan feeding. No more bottles
Pups should be receiving THREE feedings a day
The following is based on an average litter size of 8 pups.
Increase or decrease portions accordingly.

  1. Combine 1 can of dog food, 1 can kibble, 1 cup cottage cheese, 4 raw or cooked eggs. Mix thoroughly. This will make a substantial mush. Place the pan (a pie pan is ideal) of warm food in the center of the pen. Place the pups close to the pan and dip their noses into the food. Within a week they should be eating well.
  2. After 30 minutes, pick up the food the puppies have not eaten and give it to the mother. Then, using a clean pan, give the puppies as much warm whole milk as they will drink
  3. You will no longer need to use a blender by the time the pups are 4 weeks old. In addition to their regular feedings 3 times a day, you will need to make dry kibble available at all times along with a constant supply of fresh water. Continue to let the pups nurse the mother as long as she will let them - her milk contains essential growth hormones and continues to strengthen the pups' immunity against diseases.
  4. When the pups are 5 weeks old, increase the number of eggs per feeding to 6.
    This is a total of 18 eggs (1 - dozen) per day for a litter of 8.
  5. Continue to provide milk after each feeding.

By the time the pups are 6 weeks old, they should be completely weaned from their dam. To help her milk dry up, restrict her to dry food only. Always have clean, fresh water available to her.

For Any Females on a Contractual Obligation or on Breeder's Terms with Kimbertal

Your signed agreement stipulates the following: If you take your bitch or her pups to your veterinarian without explicit instruction from Kimbertal Kennels to do so, you alone are responsible for all veterinary charges incurred and there will be no reimbursement by Kimbertal Kennels. If, however, Kimbertal Kennels directs you to take your female or her puppies to our veterinarian, Kimbertal will pay for all veterinary charges incurred.

Worming the Puppies

It is very important that all pups be wormed at 3, 4 and 5 - weeks of age. Mark these dates on your calendar. Kimbertal will supply the liquid worming medication and medicine droppers to administer it.

Follow these instructions:

First Worming is to be given when they are 3 - weeks old (cc per puppy). The candy - flavored, yellow worming medicine is given orally by squirting it into the side of the pup's mouth (not directly into the back of his throat - he may choke).

Second and Third Wormings are given in the same manner when the pups are 4 and 5 weeks of age. The wormings can be done before or after a meal - no starving or fasting is necessary.

Follow-Up Shots at 4 Weeks and 6 Weeks

(Mark these dates on your calendar)

When they are 4 weeks old, bring your pups back to Kimbertal for an Intra - Trac II shot. (Call the kennel ahead of time to set up the appointment.) This vaccine will prevent the pups from getting kennel cough (similar to Whooping Cough in children.) You will also need to bring them back when they are 6 weeks old for additional shots.

You should also plan to return the whelping pen, heat lamp, and nursing bottle(s) at the 4-week visit. By now the pups require a different containment -- one which works best for you in your home environment. While you are here, we will supply you with additional cases of canned meat for the puppies

All puppies come into the kennel to stay at 7 weeks of age.

In addition to bonuses for large litters and large puppies, we reimburse you $10.00 dollars per pup for designated out - of - pocket food expenses. Reimbursement pertains exclusively to Kimbertal bitches on a Lease - Purchase (i.e., breeder's terms) agreement or contractual obligation.

Rottweiler Puppies

Rottweiler nursing females are noted for contracting mastitis. It is not uncommon for one out of every two to have had mastitis at one or more times. Unfortunately, even Kimbertal has lost litters because of this. It is especially important that you conscientiously give the dam the prescribed amount of apple cider vinegar up until the time the puppies finish nursing. This procedure has been effective in suppressing mastitis in 90% of our cases.

Mastitis is relatively simple to detect if you know what you to look for. The milk becomes off-white and somewhat pasty to the touch. The nipple (or teat) of each breast has 4 sections. If you squeeze the teat gently, four small drops of milk appear - one drop from each section--and merge to form one larger drop. (You must observe each small drop from each section to determine the color. If it is sticky or off color in comparison to any of the other sections, that is a sign of mastitis).

(Do not confuse the color of the milk with the color of the colostrum that the dam produces in the first 36 hours after giving birth. Colostrum is also "off - white" but it is not pasty or sticky to the touch.)

If you suspect the dam has mastitis, call the kennel immediately. If she has mastitis in one or two breasts, we can clear it up with medication within three to four days. If the mastitis is so severe as to endanger the pups, an alternate nursing dam would need to be located.

You can understand why it is so very important to keep the Rottie dam's breasts meticulously clean and to insure absolutely that she receives her daily dose of apple cider vinegar.

You'll be Interested in Knowing !

We recently raised a litter of 11 Doberman pups here at Kimbertal!! How?

  1. The pups were kept under a heat lamp.
  2. For the first 7 days, they were given a supplemental nursing formula every 4 - 5 hours.
  3. Half the pups were alternately separated from the dam at all times.
  4. We followed for the entire time the above described Kimbertal Plan for feedings.
  5. By the age of 6 weeks, the pups were consuming up to 2 gallons of whole milk and were fed 2 dozen eggs daily.
  6. These Pups Averaged 15 Lbs. At 7 Weeks Of Age!!

Kimbertal has been breeding top quality dogs for FORTY years.
You can rely on our experience and advice when it comes to assisting YOU in producing top-of-the-line litters.

We Have All the Shredded Paper You Need for Bedding.
Just Ask!!!

To our Kimbertal Breeder Families

From time to time, some families tell us they have tried to raise bigger puppies but that the weights we describe for bonuses are unobtainable (14 pounds at 7 weeks of age for Dobermans and 18 pounds at 7 weeks of age for Rottweilers.)

However, families who consistently allow the pups to eat all the canned dog food, eggs, and milk that they want along with constantly available dry food, raise pups to the preferred weights by following Kimbertal's dietary recommendations.

The secret to having larger litters and raising larger pups lies in adhering to the "Kimbertal Plan." That plan features specific nutritional guidelines for you to follow during the mother's gestation and through - out the nursing period, as well as maintaining the pups on our prescribed diet up to their seventh week, when they are delivered to Kimbertal. The Plan is described in detail elsewhere in this document.

You can be one of the families that has no trouble with your pups attaining the weights we describe above. Kimbertal has such confidence in the success of this Plan that it offers full reimbursement for the dietary components we suggest. You can't get more support than that!

A Kimbertal mother nursing her puppies. Spring 1982.

A Kimertal mother nursing her puppies.

Spring 1982