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The Weight of Whelping: A Survey on Whelping Events in the Broodbitch


To create a large database on the timing of whelping milestones in dogs. We aim to re-evaluate current recommendations and guidelines on whelping monitoring, and on management practices in broodbitches to improve mother and puppy wellbeing and puppy survival. More specifically, we aim to:
  • Collect detailed information on the timing of specific events during whelping in broodbitches, such as when their temperature changes or the time of birth of each puppy.
  • Gather data on how body weight, nutrition, and physical activity affect the course of labor. 


Every broodbitch is unique and so are their whelpings. Although there are guidelines and recommendations on what is considered normal and abnormal labor and when veterinary intervention should be sought, these current guidelines, which are the wealth of wisdom collected over many decades, stem from different and relatively smaller population of dogs. Furthermore, we also do not know how some important factors such as the bitch’s body weight and diet, exercise regime, or litter size can modulate and influence her whelping events. For example, obesity may slow down the whelping or cause dystocia, but scientific evidence for that in the dog is scarce.

Therefore, we would like to gather detailed information through our questionnaire to evaluate whelping milestones so that guidelines on labor events in broodbitches can be updated. 


  • All breeders and owners, whose:
  • broodbitches have had previous litters and owners kept notes on the whelping.
  • broodbitches will have litters in the future and events on the upcoming whelping will be recorded.


  • Pregnancies that have undergone an elective C-section.

Study Design

Breeders and owners will be asked to participate in:

  1. An online survey, which can be completed online, filled in electronically and emailed, or printed and mailed. This survey can also be saved and filled out for a future whelping.
  2. The information provided in this questionnaire will be kept strictly confidential and not shared with any outside sources. The data will be anonymized and used by the investigators for research purposes only. 

Study Timeline

The survey is open until December 2024.

To Participate

Complete the survey online:

Please note that the survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. We would like to kindly encourage you to gather any records you may have on your bitch's breeding and whelping before beginning the questionnaire to help make your survey experience smoother. If you wish, please take a moment to read through the survey introduction and briefly look through the questionnaire before beginning.

If you have questions about the survey, please contact Dr. Sam McCarter and Dr. Orsolya Balogh, Theriogenology
Office Phone: 540-231-4621 | Email:

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621 and ask for the theriogenologist on duty.