Postnatal Care for Cocker Spaniel Mothers and Their Puppies

Welcoming a new litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies can be an exciting yet challenging time. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to understand the postnatal care that the mother and her puppies require. The health and wellbeing of the mother and her offspring should be a top priority. In this article, we will provide you with helpful tips and tricks on how to prepare for whelping, care for the mother Cocker Spaniel, and ensure the health and happiness of her puppies. So, let’s dive in and explore the necessary steps you need to take during this crucial time.

Preparing for Whelping

Preparing For Whelping
Preparing for the arrival of a new litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies can be an exciting and anxious time for any breeder. To ensure a smooth whelping process, it’s crucial to properly prepare the mother dog and the whelping area. This involves finding the right supplies, setting up a comfortable living space, and consulting with a veterinarian for prenatal care. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can refer to our article on preparing your Cocker Spaniel for breeding or review the signs of Cocker Spaniel whelping in our article on whelping signs to look for. In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take before the birth of the puppies, so you can be fully prepared for the big day.

Setting up the Whelping Area

When preparing for the arrival of the Cocker Spaniel puppies, it is essential to set up a safe and comfortable whelping area for the mother and her newborns. This area should be warm, dry, and free from drafts. To ensure that the mother and her puppies are protected and comfortable, follow these tips when setting up the whelping area:

LocationChoose a quiet and spacious room that is easily accessible. Avoid high-traffic areas or rooms with a lot of noise or activity.
BeddingProvide nesting materials such as old towels or blankets to create a soft and warm bed for the mother and her puppies.
Warming DevicesUse heating pads or heat lamps to help regulate the temperature in the whelping area.
HygieneKeep the area clean and disinfected to prevent the spread of bacteria or infection. Clean up any soiled bedding or surfaces immediately.
SecurityInstall baby gates or barriers to prevent the puppies from wandering away from the whelping area.
AccessibilityPlace food, water, and additional bedding near the whelping area so that the mother can access them easily without leaving her puppies alone.

By setting up the whelping area properly, you can ensure that the mother and her puppies are comfortable and secure during the early weeks of their lives. For more information on prenatal and postnatal care for your Cocker Spaniel, check out our articles on Cocker Spaniel gestation and prenatal care, or read up on common issues during Cocker Spaniel pregnancy.

Supplies Needed

To ensure that your Cocker Spaniel mother and her puppies have everything they need during the whelping process, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies beforehand. Here is a list of essential supplies you’ll need:

  • Whelping box: A whelping box should be large enough for the mother to move around in comfortably and provide space for the puppies to nurse. Additionally, it should have sides at least 12 inches high to keep the puppies safe and secure.
  • Bedding: The whelping box should be lined with washable bedding, such as blankets or towels, to provide a comfortable and clean surface for the mother and puppies.
  • Heat lamp or heating pad: Newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperature so it’s important to provide additional warmth. A heat lamp or heating pad set on low can help keep the puppies warm.
  • Scale: To monitor the puppies’ weight gain, you’ll need a scale that can measure in ounces or grams.
  • Puppy milk replacer: In case the mother is unable to nurse or care for the puppies, puppy milk replacer should be on hand to feed them.
  • Bottles and nipples: If you need to feed the puppies with milk replacer, you’ll need bottles and nipples specifically designed for puppies.
  • Thermometer: To monitor the mother’s temperature during and after birth, you’ll need a rectal thermometer.
  • Towels and washcloths: Keep plenty of towels and washcloths on hand to clean up after the mother and puppies.
  • First aid kit: Put together a first aid kit that includes items such as sterile saline solution, antiseptic spray, and bandages in case of emergencies.
  • Veterinarian contact information: Keep your veterinarian’s contact information on hand in case you need to reach them during the whelping process.

By having these essential supplies ready, you can ensure a smooth and successful whelping process for your Cocker Spaniel mother and her puppies.

Consulting Your Veterinarian

When preparing for the arrival of your litter of Cocker Spaniels, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her puppies. Here are some reasons why consulting with your veterinarian is crucial:

Reasons to Consult with a VeterinarianExplanation
Health AssessmentYour veterinarian can perform a comprehensive assessment of the mother to ensure that she is healthy enough to give birth and care for her litter. This includes checking her weight, temperature, and overall health.
Breeding ConsultationIf you plan to breed your Cocker Spaniel in the future, your veterinarian can provide valuable information on breeding practices, genetic testing, and potential risks involved with breeding.
Whelping SupportYour veterinarian can provide guidance on how to properly assist the mother during the whelping process if necessary. They can also provide medication or other interventions to ensure a smooth and safe delivery.
Puppy Health Check-upsYour veterinarian can perform regular check-ups on the puppies to assess their health and address any issues that may arise. This includes administering vaccinations and deworming medication.
Emergency CareIn the event of an emergency, having an established relationship with your veterinarian can mean the difference between life and death for your beloved pets. They can provide immediate care for both the mother and the puppies in case of emergency.

Consulting with your veterinarian is an important step in ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and birthing experience for your Cocker Spaniel and her puppies. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have any concerns or questions throughout the process.

Postnatal Care for the Mother Cocker Spaniel

Postnatal Care For The Mother Cocker Spaniel
After the whelping process, the mother Cocker Spaniel will require attentive postnatal care to ensure her health and well-being. Providing proper postnatal care for the mother Cocker Spaniel is crucial to prevent complications and promote a healthy recovery. From assessing her health to managing her diet and exercise, every detail matters. Here are some essential guidelines for postnatal care for your mother Cocker Spaniel.

Assessing the Mother’s Health

After giving birth, it is essential to keep a close eye on the mother Cocker Spaniel’s health to ensure a smooth recovery. Here are some key aspects you need to assess:

Vital SignsTemperature, heart rate, breathing rateCheck daily to ensure they are within normal range. Consult with a veterinarian if there are any signs of abnormality.
BehaviorAppetite, energy levels, attitude towards puppiesMonitor closely to ensure any changes are noted. Consult with a veterinarian if the mother shows signs of disinterest in puppies or lack of appetite.
AppearanceBody condition, incision site, discharge or bleedingCheck daily for any signs of concern, such as redness or swelling around the incision site, discharge or bleeding. Consult with a veterinarian if there are any signs of infection.

It is vital to maintain a clean environment and provide appropriate postnatal care to help with the mother’s recovery. This includes providing a comfortable and safe space for the mother and her puppies and monitoring her hygiene. Make sure to consult with a veterinarian promptly if any concerning symptoms arise to ensure a smooth recovery process.

Diet and Hydration

After whelping, the Cocker Spaniel mother will need a carefully balanced diet to keep her strong and healthy. The mother should be fed a high-quality puppy food that is packed with essential nutrients, making sure the food is easily digestible. It is essential to provide the mother with plenty of fresh water at all times to keep her hydrated, particularly when she is nursing her pups.

It is essential to monitor the mother’s eating habits during this time carefully. Ensure that she is eating enough food, but avoid overfeeding her as this can lead to weight gain, which may cause health problems later on. Feeding a high-quality diet also gives the puppies the nutrition they need to grow properly.

One way to ensure that the mother Cocker Spaniel stays healthy is to supplement her diet with vet-approved vitamins and minerals. Supplementing her diet with Calcium can help prevent milk fever.

On the other hand, it is crucial to control the mother’s water intake if symptoms of Eclampsia are noticed. In this case, hydration should be provided to the mother in small but frequent portions.

Here’s a table that outlines the diet and hydration needs for mother Cocker Spaniel:

High-quality puppy foodEssential nutrients, easily digestible
WaterPlenty of fresh water at all times
Calcium supplementsCan help prevent milk fever
Vitamins and mineralsSupplemented diet for extra nourishment

Remember that a healthy mother Cocker Spaniel is essential for healthy puppies. A well-balanced diet that meets the mother’s dietary needs will ensure that she remains healthy during the nursing period.

Breast Care

Maintaining the health of the mother Cocker Spaniel’s breasts is critical for both her well-being and her puppies’ nutrition. Here are some tips for caring for her breasts after whelping:

  • Regular Inspection: Inspect the mother’s breasts daily for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. These could indicate infection or mastitis, a painful inflammation of the breast tissue that can be harmful to both the mother and the puppies.
  • Cleaning: Clean the mother’s nipples and surrounding areas with a warm, damp cloth to keep them free of dirt and bacteria. Avoid using soap or other harsh chemicals, as these can dry out the skin and cause irritation.
  • Balanced Feeding: During early lactation, the mother requires a well-balanced and nutritious diet to produce enough milk for her puppies. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure she is getting the right amount of protein, fat, and other essential nutrients.
  • Comfortable Resting Environment: Provide the mother with a comfortable and clean resting area where she can nurse her puppies and rest. This will help reduce stress and improve her overall health and milk production.
  • Managing Engorgement: In the days following whelping, the mother’s breasts will become engorged with milk. To relieve discomfort, gently massage the breast tissue and allow the puppies to nurse frequently. If the mother is suffering from severe engorgement, consult with your veterinarian for additional treatment options.

Regular breast care is essential to ensure the mother Cocker Spaniel’s health and wellbeing during this critical period. By following these tips, you can help prevent complications and ensure a happy and healthy litter.

Exercise and Rest

After whelping, it’s important for the mother Cocker Spaniel to have a balance of exercise and rest. Here are some tips on how to maintain that balance:

  • Start slow: Avoid intense physical activity for the first few weeks after whelping. Gradually increase exercise as the mother’s energy levels increase.
  • Monitor the mother’s behavior: Watch for signs of exhaustion or overexertion. These signs may include panting heavily, difficulty walking, or lying down and not wanting to get up.
  • Short, frequent walks: Take the mother on several short walks throughout the day instead of one long walk. This will help prevent exhaustion and will also give her a chance to relieve herself.
  • Avoid high-impact exercise: Steer clear of activities like running or jumping, as they may put too much strain on the mother’s body.
  • Provide a comfortable resting area: Make sure the mother has a soft, warm bed to lie in. This will help prevent any joint pain or discomfort.
  • Encourage rest: Try to limit outside stimulation and encourage the mother to rest as much as possible. This will give her body a chance to recover.

By providing the mother Cocker Spaniel with a balance of exercise and rest, you can help her recover from whelping more quickly and reduce the risk of any complications.

Postnatal Care for the Puppies

Postnatal Care For The Puppies
Welcoming a litter of adorable Cocker Spaniel puppies can be a joyous and exciting experience. However, it’s important to provide them with proper postnatal care to ensure they grow up healthy and happy. From assessing their health to keeping them fed and clean, there are several steps that you should take to care for your Cocker Spaniel puppies in the days and weeks following their birth. Let’s dive into the postnatal care tips and tricks to help your puppies thrive.

Assessing the Puppies’ Health

It is crucial to assess the health of newborn Cocker Spaniel puppies to ensure their proper growth and development. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Monitor their weight: Newborn puppies should gain weight from the moment they are born, and they should double their birth weight by the time they are one week old. Weigh the puppies every day using a digital scale and confirm they are gaining weight steadily. A sudden loss of weight can be a sign of illness.

2. Check their body temperature: Puppies cannot regulate their body temperature until they are around three weeks old. It is essential to keep them warm and monitor their body temperature regularly. You can check their temperature with a rectal thermometer. Normal body temperature for puppies should range from 95 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Look for signs of infection: Check the puppies’ eyes, ears, and noses for any discharge or foul smell. Make sure their skin is free from rashes, lesions, or parasites. If you notice any signs of infection or parasites, consult your veterinarian immediately.

4. Observe their behavior: Puppies should move around and interact with their littermates. If a puppy appears to be weak, lethargic, or unresponsive, it could be a sign of illness or injury. Keep an eye on their behavior and report any concerning changes to your veterinarian.

5. Check for congenital abnormalities: Cocker Spaniel puppies are prone to certain genetic disorders, such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and ear infections. Regular vet check-ups can help identify any congenital abnormalities and provide appropriate treatment.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your Cocker Spaniel puppies develop into healthy, happy adult dogs.

Feeding and Hydration

After whelping, the puppies will be dependent on their mother’s milk for the first few weeks of their lives. However, it’s important to ensure that the mother Cocker Spaniel is getting enough water and a nutrient-rich diet to provide for her puppies’ needs. Here are some tips for feeding and hydrating both the mother and puppies during the postnatal period:

1. Water: Make sure the mother Cocker Spaniel has access to clean, fresh water at all times. This is essential for good milk production and hydration. The puppies will also need access to water when they start weaning.

2. Diet: A nutrient-dense diet is essential for the mother to provide good quality milk to her puppies. Consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate type and amount of food to feed her during this time.

3. Feeding the Puppies: For the first 3-4 weeks, the puppies will rely solely on their mother’s milk. Make sure the puppies are nursing regularly and that all puppies are getting adequate amounts of milk. If you notice one of the puppies isn’t gaining weight, consult with your veterinarian.

4. Supplementing: After a few weeks, you may need to start supplementing the puppies’ diet with commercial puppy formula. This can help support their growth and development. Consult with your veterinarian about the best type of formula to use and how to properly feed the puppies.

5. Gradual Weaning: Once the puppies are around 4-6 weeks old, you can start the process of weaning them off their mother’s milk. This should be done gradually over a few weeks, and you can start introducing solid food mixed with puppy milk formula.

By following these feeding and hydration tips, you can help ensure that both the mother Cocker Spaniel and her puppies are getting the nutrients and hydration they need to thrive during the postnatal period. However, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance specific to your Cocker Spaniel’s needs.

Keeping the Puppies Warm and Clean

As a responsible pet owner, you need to ensure that the puppies are kept warm and clean after their birth to prevent infections and illnesses. Here are some tips to help you keep the puppies warm and clean:

  • Use heating pads: Puppies are unable to regulate their body temperature during their first few weeks. To help them stay warm, you can use heating pads set on low and cover them with a soft blanket.
  • Monitor the room temperature: The room temperature should be maintained around 75-80°F. You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly.
  • Change bedding regularly: Puppies spend most of their time sleeping during their first few weeks. Ensure that their bedding is cleaned and changed regularly to keep them comfortable and prevent infections.
  • Clean puppies gently: Puppies should not be given a bath until they are at least four weeks old. Until then, you can clean them with warm water and a soft, damp cloth if necessary. Ensure that they are dried thoroughly to prevent chilling.
  • Keep the whelping area clean: Clean the whelping area at least once a day with a pet-safe disinfectant to prevent the buildup of bacteria and reduce the risk of infections.

Remember that keeping the puppies warm and clean is just one aspect of postnatal care. It is equally essential to ensure that they are well-fed and hydrated. If you notice any signs of illness or distress in the puppies, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Weaning the Puppies

Weaning is an essential process in the development of puppies, and it refers to the transition from mother’s milk to solid food. It usually starts around three to four weeks of age and gradually finishes by six to seven weeks. Here are some tips to help you with the weaning process.

  • Start slow: The weaning process should be gradual. Start by offering a small amount of puppy food mixed with warm water or puppy formula, and gradually increase the amount and thickness of the mixture over time.
  • Introduce variety: Introduce a variety of nutrients by offering different flavors and textures of puppy food. This will help the puppies to develop a liking for a wide range of food.
  • Monitor their progress: Keep a close eye on the puppies’ weight gain, and make sure they are thriving on the new diet. If you notice any weight loss or other concerns, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Encourage independence: Gradually reduce the amount of time that the puppies spend nursing, and encourage them to eat from a bowl by themselves. This will help them develop independence and confidence.
  • Cleanliness: Keep the feeding area clean and sanitize their food and water bowls regularly to prevent the spread of infections.

Remember, the weaning process can be stressful for both the puppies and the mother, but with patience and the right approach, it can be a smooth and successful transition.

Common Health Concerns

As much as we want the best for our cocker spaniel mothers and their puppies, there are certain health concerns that we should be aware of. It is important to be vigilant and notice any signs of illness or discomfort your dog might be displaying. This section will discuss some of the common health concerns that you might encounter during the postnatal period, along with tips on how to identify and manage them. By being informed and prepared, you can ensure that your dog and her puppies receive proper care and attention when they need it the most.


One of the most common health concerns for nursing Cocker Spaniel mothers is mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the mammary gland tissue that can occur when bacteria enter through a cracked or sore nipple. Symptoms include redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area. The milk may also appear lumpy or contain pus.

If left untreated, mastitis can lead to a decrease in milk production and make it painful for the mother to nurse. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the infected tissue.

To prevent mastitis, it’s important to keep the mother Cocker Spaniel’s breasts clean and dry, especially after nursing. It’s also important to make sure the puppies are latching on properly and nursing evenly from both sides.

If you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel mother has mastitis, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment may include antibiotics to clear the infection and relieve pain and inflammation. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help increase milk production.

To reduce the risk of mastitis, follow these tips:

  • Keep the whelping area clean: A clean whelping area can help prevent infection. Change bedding and clean up any messes as soon as possible.
  • Monitor the mother’s nipples: Check the mother’s nipples regularly for any signs of redness or tenderness. If you notice any issues, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Ensure proper nursing: Make sure the puppies are nursing properly and from both sides. A lactation specialist can help you if you’re unsure.
  • Watch for signs of infection: Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite. These symptoms may indicate a more serious problem that requires veterinary attention.

By following these tips, you can help prevent mastitis in your nursing Cocker Spaniel mother and promote her overall health and well-being. Remember to always seek veterinary care if you suspect any health concerns with your dog or her puppies.


Eclampsia, also known as milk fever or puerperal tetany, is a condition that affects lactating mothers, including Cocker Spaniels, during the postnatal period. It is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Eclampsia is caused by a sudden drop in calcium levels in the mother’s blood due to the demands of lactation. As a result, the mother’s muscles, including those in the uterus and heart, do not function properly.

Symptoms of Eclampsia:

The symptoms of eclampsia may appear suddenly and can include:

Physical SymptomsBehavioral Symptoms
Muscle stiffness and tremorsRestlessness and nervousness
Weakness and lethargyPanting and pacing
Staggering and difficulty walkingAggression or disorientation
Spasms or seizuresLoss of appetite and refusal to nurse

It is important to note that not all mothers will exhibit all of these symptoms. Some dogs may only exhibit a few, especially in the early stages of the condition. It is important to monitor your dog closely and seek veterinary care if you notice any changes in behavior or physical symptoms.

Treatment for Eclampsia:

If you suspect that your dog is experiencing eclampsia, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment typically involves administering calcium supplements to the mother to restore her blood calcium levels to normal. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to closely monitor the mother’s condition.

Prevention is key when it comes to eclampsia. Keeping your mother Cocker Spaniel on a balanced and calcium-rich diet throughout her pregnancy and during lactation can help prevent the condition from occurring. Additionally, limit strenuous exercise and ensure that your mother is getting plenty of rest and hydration.

Eclampsia is a serious condition that can affect lactating mothers such as Cocker Spaniels during the postnatal period. It is important to monitor your mother closely and seek veterinary care if you notice any changes in behavior or physical symptoms. With proper treatment and prevention, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your mother and her puppies.

Breast Infections

Breast infections can occur in mother Cocker Spaniels who are nursing their puppies. These infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria entering the mammary glands through small cuts, scratches, or other injuries. Symptoms of a breast infection may include fever, lethargy, discharge, inflammation, and tenderness in the affected area.

If you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel has a breast infection, it is important to seek veterinary care right away. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection, as well as pain medication to help your dog feel more comfortable.

To help prevent breast infections, make sure that the whelping area and any bedding or surfaces are kept clean and dry. Additionally, be sure to monitor your dog’s puppies for any signs of illness, as sick puppies may be more likely to transmit bacteria to their mother.

Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your Cocker Spaniel may have a breast infection:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Discharge from the affected area
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Tenderness or pain when touched

Here are some tips for preventing breast infections:

  • Keep the whelping area and bedding clean and dry
  • Monitor puppies for signs of illness
  • Make sure your Cocker Spaniel is getting proper nutrition and hydration
  • Take steps to reduce stress on your dog, as stress can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for your dog to fight off infections

If you suspect your Cocker Spaniel has a breast infection, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. By being vigilant and taking proper precautions, you can help your Cocker Spaniel stay healthy and avoid potentially serious health issues.


After reading this article, you should feel more confident and prepared to take care of your Cocker Spaniel mother and her puppies during postnatal care. It is important to remember that each Cocker Spaniel mother and litter of puppies is unique, so be sure to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and care.

Preparing for whelping is an essential part of postnatal care, and setting up the whelping area with the necessary supplies is crucial. Make sure to consult your veterinarian throughout the process to ensure the safety and health of your mother and puppies.

During postnatal care for the mother Cocker Spaniel, it is important to assess her health, provide proper diet and hydration, and take care of her breasts. Keeping her active but also giving her plenty of rest will help her recover from the birthing process.

When it comes to postnatal care for the puppies, assessing their health, providing proper feeding and hydration, and keeping them warm and clean are all essential. Be sure to follow a proper weaning process to ensure their healthy growth and development.

It is also important to be aware of common health concerns such as mastitis, eclampsia, and breast infections. Knowing the signs and symptoms of these issues can help you take proactive steps towards treatment.

In conclusion, postnatal care for Cocker Spaniel mothers and their puppies requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to consult with your veterinarian. With proper preparation and care, you can help ensure the health and happiness of your furry family members.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is whelping?

Whelping is the process of giving birth to puppies.

How long does a Cocker Spaniel carry her puppies?

A Cocker Spaniel, like most canine breeds, carries her puppies for an average of 63 days or 9 weeks.

What supplies do I need for a Cocker Spaniel’s whelping area?

You will need a whelping box, clean towels, scissors, forceps, heating pad, thermometer, gloves, and disinfectant.

When should I take my Cocker Spaniel to the veterinarian for postnatal care?

It is important to take your Cocker Spaniel to the veterinarian within the first 48 hours of giving birth for a postnatal checkup.

How can I assess the mother’s health after birth?

You can assess the mother’s health by checking her temperature, pulse, and respiration rate, and looking for signs of lethargy, blood loss, or discharge.

What type of diet and hydration is recommended for a nursing mother?

A nursing mother needs a high-quality, protein-rich diet and access to fresh, clean water at all times.

How can I care for the mother’s breasts after birth?

You can care for the mother’s breasts by checking for signs of engorgement, gently massaging any hard or lumpy areas, and keeping the area clean and dry.

When can I start weaning the puppies?

You can start weaning the puppies at around 4-6 weeks old, gradually introducing solid foods and decreasing their dependency on the mother’s milk.

What is mastitis and how can I prevent it?

Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands, which can be prevented by keeping the mother and her litter clean, ensuring a proper diet and hydration, and promptly treating any injuries or infections.

What is eclampsia and how can I recognize it?

Eclampsia is a serious condition caused by low calcium levels in the mother’s blood, which can lead to seizures and other health complications. Symptoms include restlessness, panting, fever, and difficulty standing or walking.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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