Category: CARE

Grooming your Finnish Spitz

Fashion tips

Here is a selection of tools we use on our Finnish Spitzes

Slicker Brush

Slicker brushes consist of brush heads covered with short, tightly-packed wire pins angled to go through the coat and avoid the skin. Use them to remove mats and prevent mats from forming by removing loose hair. Maintain a light touch when using slicker brushes, as pressing down hard could cause discomfort.

This is my everyday Brush.

Use once a week.

Chris Christensen / Mark Slicker Brush
Chris Christensen / T-Rake with Bent Pins

Undercoat Rake

Undercoat rakes have one or two rows of metal pins designed to penetrate through to the undercoat to remove loose fur, and remove and prevent mats.

This type of brush is the best during shedding season.

Use everyday during shedding season.

My favorite ! The T-brush by Chris Christensen

This brush is clearly my favorite. Perfect for everyday and during heavy shedding.

Perfect for double coat dogs like ours.

Pin size : 16 mm

Size : Medium

Chris Christensen / T-brush
Kruuse Buster Nail clipper

Scissor Nail Clipper

Kruuse Buster Nail clipper
Size : Small
This clipper is the perfect fit for Finkies nails

Dremel Cordless Dog Nail Grinder 7300-PT 4.8V

Perfect to finnish the job after cutting with the Nail Clipper or if you feel insecure using the clipper, you could just use that grinder. The cordless option is really nice and I can do my 3 adults without having to recharge it in between.

Dremel / 7300-PT 4.8V ​
Kwik Stop / Stytic powder

Topical styptic powder

Because accident can happen using a clipper or even your grinder.

Kwick Stop is a topical styptic powder to aid control and stop nails bleeding


Inugami’s favorites

photo credit :

Our Favorites

Welcome to our own selection of favorite products

Favorite Doggy Door

Endura Flap Kennel Dog Door
Size : Medium
Amazing trap that works all year long even during our harsh winter


Favorite Puppy crate

Petmate Aspen Pet Pet Porter, 30-50 LBS
Tip, visit the walmart next to you, they will most likely have the same crate without the brand and the price. I honestly don’t see a difference in building.
Those crates are prefect for puppies, they are easy to clean compare to the wire one and they make some comfy dens for your Finkies.

Favorite adult crate

New Edge Pet EcoFlex crate

When you Finkie is mature enough it can be time to invest in a more beautiful crate.

My females crates are a Medium size and doors are always open.

Those crates are really lovely

Favorite Lick Mat

Les Chiens d’abord

Rainbow and Hexagone lick mats

Those mats are great for for raw food but also kibbles!

Favorite harness

Nahak – Dog pulling harness

Well made (in Quebec) and functionnal pulling harness. My girls are all wearing a size 3xs.

Perfect fit for my finkies! Plus I love the colors!!

The Littermate Syndrome

  • Puppies with littermate syndrome become highly dependent on one another.
  • This can affect dogs of any breed and also unrelated puppies who are adopted and raised together.
  • Signs can include excessive crying, whining, and destructive behavior when siblings are separated.
  • Littermate syndrome can be difficult, due to the numerous behavioral issues that are involved.
  • While raising sibling puppies successfully can be difficult, the key is to treat them as individuals.

Many factors influence behavior, and not all siblings raised together will exhibit this problem, which is called “littermate syndrome.” In other words, it’s a risk, not a foregone conclusion.

That said, many dog behaviorists, trainers, breeders, and shelters actually discourage adopting siblings. Anecdotal evidence suggests that behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppies’ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication. Since fear is the dog’s default reaction to odd or unfamiliar stimuli, this muddled understanding of the world around them can lead to impaired coping mechanisms later on.

What is Littermate Syndrome?

“Littermate syndrome in dogs occurs when two puppies from the same litter living together develop such a strong attachment to each other that it interferes with their ability to interact in a normal manner with other people, other dogs, or any situation where they are not together,” says Collier.

This happens because littermates bond so intensely to each other that they fail to develop connections with their human family. Puppies with littermate syndrome only interact with each other and become highly dependent on one another for a sense of safety and normalcy.

Littermate syndrome can affect dogs of any breed, and it may also affect unrelated puppies who are adopted at the same time and raised together.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen for the littermates because they don’t get socialized to other dogs or people, let alone to their owners,” says veterinarian and dog behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar. Many pet parents assume that the dogs’ interactions with one another are adequate, “but when the puppies are five or six months old and meet an unfamiliar dog in a novel setting, they absolutely freak out.”
Dunbar points out that raising littermates requires training two puppies, which is particularly challenging when they’re essentially wearing blinders to all but each other. “It’s more than twice the work; it’s exponential. The two combine to produce levels of energy that we can barely measure," he says. "Tension develops in training and compliance as they squeeze the human out of the relationship. They’re always living with an enormous distraction: each other.”
Dr Ian Dumbar
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Patricia B. McConnell, PhD is also against taking in littermates: "They are so busy playing with each other (or squabbling), that you become the odd man out... It seems harder to get their attention, harder to teach them emotional control, and harder to teach them boundaries," she says. "I have seen some nasty cases of bullying or outright aggression between dogs of the same litter, and it feels as though it is more common than between dogs who come into the family from different litters."
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Patricia B.
Signs of Littermate Syndrome in Dogs

At first, puppies with littermate syndrome may seem like they’re acting out or in need of obedience training. However, when dogs experience littermate syndrome, these behaviors are linked to their relationship to their littermate.

Signs of littermate syndrome in dogs can include excessive crying, whining, and destructive behavior when siblings are separated from one another, as well as a lack of interest in playing or interacting with other people or pets in your household, says Collier.

Here are a few signs of littermate syndrome in puppies and dogs to look out for:

Fear of unfamiliar people, things, places, or noises. Puppies may avoid interactions with new people, dogs, or things; become very still and quiet when you approach them; or bark, growl, and snap when presented with new things or situations.

High anxiety when separated from the other pup. Puppies may whine, bark, pace, pant, or exhibit destructive behavior when they’re separated from their littermate.

Unwillingness to eat alone. Dogs experiencing littermate syndrome may only want to eat if their sibling is present.

Unwillingness to engage with people or toys when alone. As previously mentioned, littermate syndrome sometimes causes puppies to focus on the other puppy rather than the humans in the home. Puppies who are only willing to play in pairs may be exhibiting signs.

Difficulty with basic training. Training two puppies from the same litter may take longer than expected because puppies are so distracted by one another.

If you’re considering adopting two puppies at the same time, it’s important to consider the challenges that may come along with this decision, so that you can devote the time and energy to positive-reinforcement training.



How to Prevent Littermate Syndrome in Dogs

The easiest way to prevent littermate syndrome in puppies is to not adopt two pups at the same time, says Graddy.

However, preventing littermate syndrome can also be as simple as treating siblings as individuals from the moment they enter your home, says Collier. Make sure that your pups are getting plenty of exercise and interaction with you, your family, and others—not just alone time with each other, she says.

Another solution if you must have two puppies? Consider adopting unrelated puppies a few weeks or months apart.

Funny note : littermate syndrome doesn’t seem to afflict kittens. In fact, many veterinarians recommend adopting kittens in pairs. They can be much easier to raise with a playmate and two is not much more work than one.

Challenges of Littermate Syndrome in Dogs

Littermate syndrome can be difficult for pet parents to deal with, due to the numerous behavioral issues that are involved. Pet parents may notice these problems early on, though they may not arise until pups reach adolescence, notes Graddy.

Most commonly, puppies develop separation anxiety due to hyper-attachment. Because puppies with littermate syndrome dominate each other’s attention, they may fail to learn how to communicate, play, and socialize with other dogs. Over time, this can result in fear and aggression when they’re exposed to other dogs.

Because dogs with littermate syndrome are so focused on each other, they may also bond less with their pet parents. In turn, they could fail to learn and develop appropriate social interactions with humans, too.

Littermate syndrome makes training two puppies from the same litter especially difficult. Because littermates are so focused on each other, it’s difficult for pet parents to get their attention. As a result, teaching puppies even basic skills becomes a greater challenge than it would be if you were training them one at a time.

In the worst-case scenario, littermates may attack each other. Aggression between housemates is more common between littermates adopted together than unrelated dogs adopted at different times.

For these reasons, adopting two puppies at a time may mean more work, not less, for most pet parents.

Simple Ways to Help Your Finnish Spitz Lose Some Weight

Obesity can be a real problem for Finnish Spitzes. An overweight dog has an elevated risk of injury, illness and disease, including Patellar Luxation and Hip Dysplasia. So, it’s important to monitor your dog weight and if needed, to take action to help him become healthier by losing those extra pounds.

The good news is, the process of helping your dog is not really complicated or difficult.

Part of the solution is to learn to Body Condition Score your dog

Here is a chart based on Dr. Sophia Yin’s work and the Nestle Purina’s Body Condition Score system developed in 1997. Thanks to it, you will be able to Body Condition Score (BCS) your Finnish Spitz and learn if he has some weight to lose.

Dogs who are a body condition score of 1 are way too thin—generally truly starving due to illness or poverty. They look like walking skeletons because their poor nutrition has lead to muscle wasting in addition to the loss of fat.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the body condition score of 5. This is the dog that looks like a giant, overstuffed sausage. He has huge fat deposits over the chest, spine and base of the tail such that his back resembles a table top rather than a living animal. He also has obvious abdominal distension due to fat in the abdomen.

The ideal dog is 3. Dogs with a body condition score of 3 have ribs and vertebrae that you can easily feel. You can see a waist right behind the ribs when viewing from the top, and from the side you can see the abdomen tucks up.

It’s pretty straightforward if your Finkie is out of coat and you go based on the chart included above. But if in doubt, your veterinarian should be able to help you.

Is Your Finnish Spitz Overweight? Here are simple ways to help your dog lose some weight
  1. Feed a high-quality dog food :
    We are not going to get into the debate about whether kibble, canned, home-cooked or raw-food diets are best, but you should avoid cheap dog food brands that are high in corn or other grains and choose brands that have a high meat content (with no by-products). The Dog Food Advisor website is a good resource for checking and comparing different brands of dog food or you can also refer to your veterinarian for suggestions.
  2. Understand feeding recommendations :
    Don’t assume the feeding instructions on the packaging of your dog’s food apply to every dog. Finnish Spitzes are called ”easy keepers” since they can maintain a high energy level with a small amount of food. Usually, an adult Finnish Spitz will be satisfied with as little as 1 cup of kibbles per day. So, if your Finnish Spitz is gaining weight and you’re not overfeeding with treats or other food, gradually cut back on the amount of food you are giving him each day.
  3. Measure your dog’s food :
    Use a measuring cup to carefully measure each feeding. It’s an easy way to know exactly how much food your dog is eating at each meal and to make gradual adjustments if needed.
  4. Weigh your dog regularly :
    According to his standard, an adult Finnish Spitz weight should range between 31 to 35lbs for a male and 22 to 29 lbs for a female. So keep those weights in mind and if you need to adjust his food ratio, monitor your Finnish Spitz weight loss at least once a week. The goal when losing weight should be for your dog to lose about 1% of his body weight per week until he reaches his ideal body weight.
  5. Manage your dog’s hunger :
    Your Finnish Spitz might be a little hungry while he’s losing weight. If you normally feed once a day, try breaking the meal into two or three feedings throughout the day. You can also set aside a little of your dog’s daily food portion to use in a treat dispensing toy for later in the evening. You can also add some canned pumpkin or green beans, which are low-calorie fillers, to help your dog feel full during his new diet.
  6. Increase his daly exercise :
    Small increases in exercise can make a big difference. Make your daily walk just a bit longer or incorporate more play time into each day. Just like with your dog’s diet, you’ll want to make gradual changes so you don’t overwork your dog, especially if he’s very overweight or out of shape.
  7. Reduce, or eliminate, unhealthy treats :
    Have you ever given your Finnish Spitz  a large treat or piece of food that he swallowed instantly? Dogs don’t really notice how big a treat is, they’re just happy to get one.
    Small, low-calorie training treats are perfect for rewards or simply break bigger treats into small pieces. Your dog will be just as satisfied and you’ll be feeding him fewer calories each time.

    Try some healthier treats. Many dog treats found in pet stores are high in calories and carbohydrates. You can almost eliminate your dog’s treat calories by replacing them with much healthier snacks. Skip the hot dogs, cheese and peanut butter and see if your dog likes fresh fruits or vegetables. Celery, baby carrots, green beans, broccoli, cucumber slices and apple slices (take out any seeds first)  are all great options. You can also put some of your dog’s daily kibble allowance in a container and use this as a treat throughout the day.
    Just make sure you’re familiar with foods you shouldn’t feed your dog before feeding any human foods and remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s total daily diet.

    Use different rewards. Using food to motivate or reward a dog works pretty well but we tend to forget that many dogs would be just as happy with a good belly rub or a play session for a reward. Try mixing it up to see if your dog will respond to other things rather than always relying on a food-based reward.

  8. Have your dog work for food :
    Food dispensing balls and puzzles are a good way for your dog to burn off excess energy and calories by working for his food or treats. Most dogs learn quickly how the puzzles or balls work and they enjoy the challenge.
  9. Watch for exta food :
    Make sure all family members are cooperating with your goal to make your pup healthier. If some members of the family are sneaking bites of food to the dog (like leftovers during diner time, or some extra treats), all those little bites can add up to a lot of calories. Also, make sure your dog’s not sabotaging his own diet by sneaking food from other sources, like the cat’s food bowl.

If your Finnish Spitz looking a little chubby these days, I hope you will find those tips helpful. Please note that there are some medical reasons your dog could be gaining weight, so it’s important to talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or nutritional needs.

The Whelping Pause, a naturally occuring event

Dog breeders and vets alike have gotten into the habit of identifying an event that is completely normal and natural during the whelping process for many bitches as “uterine inertia”.  The bitch has delivered one or more puppies and then she has stopped contracting.  She is no longer in labor.  She is in a “Whelping Pause”, a completely naturally occurring event.

This has been viewed as an emergency that requires the use of oxytocin and when that doesn’t work (and it doesn’t) it is followed by a c-section.  This has been happening for so many years that it is a near insurmountable task to re-educate the dog breeder and change this practice. During my seminars in the last year or so I’ve been asking for a show of hands of how many breeders have experienced this event; a cessation of contractions in an otherwise free whelp and I’ve been keeping statistics.

I see hundreds of dog breeders a year and here is what I have found:  60-75% of all dog breeders have experienced the whelping pause.  Most of them have gone in for c-sections and some of them have lost their bitches.  Many of them have lost puppies.  The rest of them simply didn’t know that their bitch was carrying another puppy or two and so they happily went to bed after the free whelp and the next morning they woke up to an extra puppy or so in with mom. The first thing I would like to teach you is that anything that happens 60-75% of the time is not a medical emergency; it is a normal event.

What happens when a bitch experiences a temporary cessation of contractions is not uterine inertia and it is not a medical emergency.  I call it the “whelping pause” and it is nothing more complex than Mother Nature stepping in to give mom time to either replenish her supplies of oxytocin or parathyroid hormone, or time to bond with or feed the puppies that she has already whelped.  Perhaps the puppies left behind need a lot more time to work their way down the uterine horns and out the birth canal.   Perhaps they need a few more hours to develop surfactant in their lungs. Perhaps they were some of the last eggs that were ovulated. This cessation of contractions can last up to 24 hours without harm to the bitch for a certainty and probably even as long as 48. This “pause” in the whelping of a litter is a normal occurrence; it is a natural event.  It can last easily as long as 24 hours and I’ve talked with breeders who have had healthy happy puppies born as much as 48 hours after the rest of the litter.

Litters are not delivered in the same way that a single human baby is delivered and the human terminology that we are accustomed to using is not appropriate when viewed from the prospective of the canine. Dogs have two uterine horns and several young and human moms have a single uterus and usually a single fetus.  Weirdly enough, those differences are also why fetal monitoring is so inappropriate for the canine. Oddly enough, however, there was often a lengthy period of time between twins when a mom was allowed to deliver her twins vaginally.  It was common for 2-4 hours to elapse between delivery of the first twin and deliver of the second twin.  Now multiples are so routinely sectioned that everyone seems to have forgotten that a pause between twins was once viewed as normal when it occurred and it occurred a good portion of the time with no harm to mom or babies.

There are signs and symptoms that will let you know the difference between a completely normal and natural “whelping pause” and “uterine inertia” which is actually quite rare. You may have to rethink your priorities and begin to embrace new terms, new opinions and release some of your fears and panic before you can accept that what we have been viewing as a medical emergency is actually a normal part of the canine whelping condition. Here is an outline of what is happening in the canine reproduction world now.  

This is what is happening now with great regularity:

  • The bitch has whelped one or more puppies but has other puppies still in utero.
  • She has stopped contracting completely and totally.
  • She is comfortable, sleeping, and nursing her babies and caring for them just as if the whelping is completed.
  • She will happily eat a snack and usually an entire meal.
  • She will pee, poop, and drink large amounts of fluid.
  • She does not show signs of distress, pain, discomfort or anxiety.
  • Repeated calls to the vet result in instructions that if a puppy is not delivered every 2-3 hours it is an emergency situation requiring a c-section.
  • Often breeders, vets, or God forbid, both of them inject oxytocin (in shockingly large quantities) in an effort to re-start the contractions but the oxytocin will not create contractions during a whelping pause.  Mom’s body has dictated the terms of the pause and nothing you do will restart them until mom’s body says: “Go”!
  • An “emergency” C-section is performed and sometimes the bitch or her puppies die. Breeders are often told that they waited too long to call for help.

Here is the problem that I have with this whole scenario:  Only in the veterinary world is a patient who is eating, sleeping, caring for her young and completely comfortable considered to be a medical emergency.  That would not happen in human medicine.  
Period. If any of this sounds familiar to you, this information may be of interest.
My opinions will not agree with those of your vet and I am sincerely sorry for that, but over time I have become convinced that my real job here is to be an advocate for dogs and this information, probably more than any I have ever taught, is a direct result of my strong desire to be the dog’s advocate in every possible way.  
I’m not disagreeing with vets for any reason other than to recognize that we often put them in a very bad position.  We are pleading for them to fix a non-existent and the only solution they have is a c-section.  They have been getting phone calls from the breeder all night and they know that the next day, they have to get up and have office hours and care for their families.  What other choice do they have?
The choice is actually yours.  Learn.  Have faith in the fact that is your bitch is not acting like an animal who requires emergency care (which often takes three hours to even get started), chances are really good that she doesn’t require it.  She is fine.  You are afraid and fearful and worried but she is trying to show you by eating, napping, caring for her puppies that she is just fine.

Bitches and other mammals that deliver in litters have always taken “pauses” in the process.  It happened often to my parents (who bred cockers and Chihuahuas).  In my parent’s case, they ignored it, accepted it and woke up to new puppies the next morning.  In my case when I began breeding my cavaliers, I panicked and practically begged for c-sections because I had simply forgotten how things worked during my childhood as the child of dog breeders.  I ran on a full tank of pure, unadulterated fear.  I lost my mind in so many ways and on so many levels.  I forgot my childhood.  I forgot my decades working as a labor-delivery nurse.  I forgot that the most important assessment tool we have is our patient.  I forgot that I had never lost a bitch in a free whelp.  I forgot that the human moms who died in OB were c-sections.  I forgot that it would be my life’s instinct to put mom’s life and safety above that of her young in all cases.  I forgot that my real treasure was my bitch that trusted me to make good decisions based on her health and well-being instead of that of her puppies.  I forgot my priorities.
The best way to know if there is a problem with your bitch is to WATCH YOUR BITCH AND THROW AWAY THE CLOCK! If a bitch is sleeping and nursing her puppies, comfortable and willing to eat something, she is perfectly fine.  This is clearly not a bitch that is experiencing a medical emergency.  Leave her along to do the work that she has to do.  Uterine inertia almost never occurs in women who are in the process of delivering their baby.  It never happened at all with any of the hundreds of women who were my patients when I worked labor/delivery.  So, it is extremely uncommon in humans but happens to 60-75% of all dogs breeders?  It has been identified as an emergency event even though it is extremely common. What do you think is wrong with this picture? Somewhere, somehow, a perfectly normal situation in a whelp that involves a litter has been mislabeled as an emergency requiring major surgery and we breeders have hopped all over it and are having c-sections right and left with sometimes sad and disastrous consequences.  

The end result 100 years from now is that we will have created a species that is incapable of free whelping.  Honestly, is that what you want?  Is that how you want to see this species end up?  Crippled by the inability to delivery their young? How can any of us call ourselves advocates of the dog if we end up allowing our fear and panic to rob our dogs of their ability to reproduce, whelp and care for their puppies if need be without help from humans?

Here is a little primer on how a bitch actually whelps. Reviewing this and comparing it to what you have seen and experienced may help to give you courage to begin a more hands off kind of whelp and give you the strength to begin to do important things.

  • Put the welfare of your bitch ahead of the welfare of your puppies.
  • Put the welfare of the species as a whole ahead of your fear and panic.
  • The bitch may take as long as two full days before she actually kicks into labor.  She may be alternating digging, sleeping, pacing, just generally acting uncomfortable for as long as 48 hours before she is actually in labor. These “wind up” behaviors are usually due to “Braxton Hicks” contractions, a normal part of gestation and occurring more and more frequently as whelping day approaches.  The key things for you to observe are:

A)  Does she sleep after she’s done some digging and  panting?

B) Does she eat something offered to her?

C) Does she consume fluids?

D) Are there periods of time when she is not doing anything but normal activities?

If the answer to these questions is yes…she is not in labor.  Once she starts into active labor, she will usually (not always but usually) refuse food, often refuse to drink and until her “whelping pause” she will be awake, clingy and panting. Active visually apparent labor may last easily as long as 12 hours before she pushes out a puppy.  This is normal.  A human who is delivering her first baby can easily be in labor for 18-24 hours.  Why have dog breeders started to consider any labor over an hour or two to be an emergency?  It takes time for her cervix to thin (efface) and open (dilate)…..12 hours is not at all unusual.

The bitch may have to urinate and even defecate frequently due to pressure on her bladder and bowel.  She will often present with an amniotic sac visible at the vulva, and sometimes what appear to be 2 or more sacs will be visible at her vulva.  The fluid in the amniotic sack may be clear or green tinged.   (Remember each puppy is in its own amniotic sac) She may not be having frequent or intense contractions at that point in time but once you can see a bag of fluid, you will know she is at least starting the process to one degree or another.  Try to remember that the first sign of a human delivery is frequently the bag of water breaking and yet mom has an easy 12-24 hours of labor ahead of her before she has even one contraction. The bag of water at the vulva is pretty much the same thing.  The bag of water at the vulva, no matter what color it is does not constitute an emergency. It is an indication that she is beginning labor.  Her cervix has opened enough to allow the slippery little sac of amniotic fluid to slip through and begin to “hour glass” into the birth canal.  No big deal.  Green color?  Nothing.

You can feel contractions by putting your hands on her abdomen, along the left and right sides until you feel the tightening of the uterine horns.  You time them from the beginning of one contraction until the beginning of the next one.  The sacs may come in and out and may remain at her vulva for a number of hours… her to get an idea as to what is happening.

If she is biting at her rear end, squatting frequently like she has to urinate, pacing, crying, whining or pushing for an hour or two without results that is the time you need to consult your vet.  Without the pushing behaviors, leave her be to do what she is designed to do.

Do not administer oxytocin.  It will separate the placentas from the wall of the uterus and you will put your puppies at risk.  that is all it has ever been okayed by the FDA to do. If, as is most frequently the case, she is just having regular contractions, panting but acting normal between contractions, this is just a normal whelping.  The fluid in the visible sac/sacs may be clear or it may be green tinged. It may even be dark green.  This too is normal, not a sign of anything but a whelping.  It is not meconium, it is but a bilirubin based green fluid from the placenta where puppy’s dead red blood cells were cleared out of his body as he matured. It is the normal greenish/blackish color of the interior portion of the placenta as the puppies begin to loosen from their placentas and get into position for delivery. (Canine meconium is mustard yellow and puppies that are born alive with that mustard yellow color surrounding them should be watched carefully for the first few days of their lives in case they have aspirated the meconium.)  So please remember:  Green means nothing.  Mustard yellow may well indicate a puppy with a problem.

After she has delivered one or more puppies, she may stop contracting altogether, nap, nurse her baby/babies, eat and want to go outside to void.  (Take her out on a leash, with a flashlight and wash clothes in your pocket.  Once the bladder has emptied, she may suddenly be able to pass the puppy that she has been working to whelp.  This is common.  Be prepared.)   A full bladder acts like a big water balloon that has been blocking the exit for the puppy. These outdoor deliveries are not about the walking part.  They are due to the good effects of an empty bladder freeing up the space inside the birth canal.

A whelping pause may last….hang onto your hat…. easily as long as 12-24 hours.  Her behavior is going to tell you everything you need to know. Watch her.  Here is what you will observe in a whelping pause:

  • All contractions have  stopped.  Nothing makes them start up again. Burning sage, doing a rain dance, calcium, oxytocin, frantic phone calls to the vet…nothing will start a whelping pause.  She needs it and she is taking it.
  • Mom is comfortable, happy,napping, nursing and caring for her puppies
  • Mom will eat if offered food often a lot of food,  and will drink fluids.
  • There may be vaginal discharge of any color from green to black, to pink to possibly small amounts of red,  resulting from the birth of the puppies who have been whelped.
  • As these puppies are nursing, short, mild contractions are occurring which are so mild as to render them  impossible to monitor. She is silently “laboring down” as those puppies who were high in the horns gently work their way downward.  She is fine.
  • Once the whelping pause is over  and mom has “labored down” (the puppies remaining in the uterus have moved into position for whelping) mom will resume whelping with none of the  signs that were apparent prior to the whelping pause.
  • No panting, no clinging, no pacing no drama.  Mom will grunt once and push out each of the remaining  puppies with no fanfare and no displays.
  • That is the nature of the  whelping pause and, as long as you don’t give oxytocin, there is no reason  not to believe that the remaining puppies will be healthy.

Give her small amounts of vanilla ice cream during the whelping process to replace fluids lost while panting, glucose to jump start the babies and as a bonus, it gives the mom calcium which is used to strengthen contractions.  If one of the puppies has died in utero, it will often take a good long while for that dead puppy to be delivered.  It can be a full day.  No worries.  Puppy’s dead body will go into rigor for 12 hours and take another 12 hours to pass out of rigor.  Why subject her to a major surgery to retrieve a dead puppy?  And sometimes they are born as long as 48 hours after the last puppy, kicking and and screaming. As long as your bitch is not showing the signs of distress that I listed above she is fine.  Bitches very, very rarely die in free whelps but they die with some regularity in c-sections. C-sections ARE NOT SAFER than a free whelp for mom or babies. Only in the canine world is a patient who is asleep, comfortable, caring for her infant/infants and snacking considered to be a patient who requires a major surgery.
Change requires courage.  Oddly enough a lot of breeders have found this courage after the loss of a beloved bitch to the complications of surgery.  A lot of us have found this courage after a bitch has surprised us with an extra puppy or two the morning after her whelping because we had no idea how many puppies were present to begin with.   However it has to happen, please begin the process of allowing it to happen.  


Text by Myra Savant Harris:

Kaori's first litter

The Elizabethan collar

An Elizabethan collar, E collar for short or pet cone (sometimes humorously called a pet lamp-shade, pet radar dish, or cone of shame) is a protective medical device placed around the head to prevent an animal from licking or biting at a surgery site, wound, or bandage.

It is a very useful tool after surgery, such as spaying or neutering. It is natural for a dog to lick his wounds, but this can seriously delay healing and result in infection or injury. So it is important that a protective collar is used, especially when the dog is unattended and could inadvertently injure himself.

Rocket and is gorgeous E collar / Picture courtesy of G. Gareau <3

To help your best friend get used to the E collar, we found you a great article from Sandra Robbins, Teaching your dog to love the cone, that I personally illustrated with pictures of my own finkies to make it more interesting and humorous for us Finkie Fanciers!

I did photograph the experience with Kaori who never had to wear an Elizabethan collar before. Most Finnish Spitzes are food motivated like mine. It makes things far easier for us and for them!

Teaching your dog to love the cone

Elizabethan collars (sometimes referred to as “cones
of shame”) are necessary tools to keep pets from
licking a surgical site, wound, or hot spot; chewing off
bandages or splints; or scratching their ears or face.
By desensitizing your dog to wearing a cone, it will
be less stressful for your pet if and when they need
to use one. Several types of cones are available, some
of which are more comfortable for the animal.
The method detailed below is illustrated with a clear
plastic cone and a dog but it works for all types of
cones and applies to both dogs and cats.
Getting your pet used to the cone:
Desensitization is only effective if your pet remains
calm. If your pet becomes distressed, you will need to
find a way to make the training easier.

• Leave the cone assembled in a corner of a familiar
• Place it wide part down so that it is least likely to
• Put treats around the outer rim of the collar
• Once a day, check on the cone and put out new
treats, if your dog ate the previous treats
• If your pet is comfortable approaching the cone for
treats, proceed to the next step

• Lay the cone on its side
• Put treats in and around the cone
• Encourage your dog to approach and get treats from
the cone
• Your dog should see this as a game and want to
move the cone for the treats
• Repeat as necessary to increase your dog’s comfort
with the cone

• Encourage your dog to approach you while you hold
the cone
• Choose to feed with either the hand holding the
cone or the free hand based on your dog’s comfort
• Gradually work on getting your dog to approach the
narrow opening and eat treats held in a hand in the
• Start with a hand in the cone, eventually moving the
hand away from the narrow opening so your dog has
to place its head through the narrow opening of the
cone to eat the treats
• For dogs who are afraid of the cone while it is in
your hand, back up to step two or try leaving it on the
floor and steadying it with your hand so they can
approach it and eat the treats. You could also try
using a higher value treat.
• Repeat this step, only if your dog is eagerly

• Hold the cone as in step 3
• Have your treat hand inside the cone far enough
away from the narrow opening that your dog has to
put its head all the way through the narrow opening
to get the treats
• Hold the cone so your dog can back out comfortably
without the collar getting stuck on its head
• Repeat this step encouraging your dog to slip its
head in and out of the cone with ease

• Repeat the process from step 4, but this time allow
the cone to rest on your dog’s neck and feed treats
– If your dog is comfortable, feed treats
– If not, help them out of the cone and then back up
to an easier step
• If they can keep the cone on, encourage your dog to
walk to get a treat
• Repeat this process so that your dog can feel
comfortable wearing the cone and walking around the

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