I don't mean this in a mean way at all, but if you are planning to let your dog have puppies and you cannot afford a vet ... you need to start putting some money aside asap for veterinary care, quality food to feed thoughout her pregnancy and while nursing pups, emergencies that may arise and veterinary care for the puppies (shots, deworm, health exams etc.) because it can get quite costly very quickly. If you cannot do this I highly recommend re-considering letting her have this litter.
If you are set on going through with letting her have the puppies, I would like to provide you with some very good information that you are going to need.
- this one is about gives you all the information on letting your family pet become a mother - from cost to complications. It's worth the read to prepare yourself in the beginning for what could happen.
2) Blue Knight Labradors - Fading Puppy, or Failure To Thrive Syndrome
- This one is about fading puppy syndrome. Not sure what that is? Please give it a read.
3) birth and developmental anonymalies
- Possible birth defects and abnormalties.
Please speak to your veterinarian regarding nutrition for your dog during pregnancy and lactation. Your veterinary team should be able to work to provide quality nutrition while still being affordable for your budget. She is doing to need a high quality puppy food that's AAFCO statement says something like "for growth and lactation" during her last trimester. Lactation is going to place a lot stress on the nutritional demands and those nutritional requirments can greatly increase. The growth/puppy diet still needs to be fed (at lib) and a lot of fresh water will need to be supplied.
When the puppies do arrive, colostrum is very important to them because it contains antibodies from their mother that provide early protection for the puppies (until first vaccinations - speak to your vet about starting their vaccine program). When nursing, puppies should be vigorous and active. Those that are not recieving enough milk will cry, become restless or extremely inactive and fail to achieve expected weight gain (about 2-4g/day/kg of anticipated adult weight or 10% per day).
Since she is a young mother, there is the possibility she may not know what to do or may reject the puppies. You will need to get a formula from your veterinarian. The formula should be warmed (37.8C) before feeding. Your veterinarian should help you with the caloric needs of each puppy. All equipment should be sterilized prior to feeding. Your veterinarian will discuss with you how to feed them, store the formula, discard after so many hours if not used and of course after feeding you will need to stimulate the puppies with a warm moist cotton wool/cloth to urinate/defecate. By 3 weeks they should be to relieve themselves.
Your veterinarian can discuss with you when to start introducting solid foods, but puppies should NEVER go to new homes before 8 weeks of age! 8 weeks of age is behavioral weaning and it's a very important stage. Reputable breeders will not let a puppy go to its new home before this age because it does not have good outcomes.
Prior to her being bred, had her vaccinations been up to date? Also speak to your veterinarian about de-worming to prevent transmission of parasites (transplental and transmammary) as well as vaccines and deworming for the puppies at appropriate ages.
If things are very tight financially, please do consider aborting the litter because having a litter of puppies is not going to be cheap, and it is a lot of work. Please do consider spaying the dog after the litter is weaned if this is what you chose to do. There are spay/neuter clinics that are at reduced costs that help people in difficult financial situations spay/neuter their pets. Even talk to your veterinarian - if you are a regular client you may be able to make payments on a spay. I'm sorry to say but there is no reason this should have happened with so many resources available to spay and neuter pets - but it did and now its important that you know all the information before making a decision.