Saving Gasping Puppies


“T”, born more than 10 hours after his litter mates went from a gasping puppy to a pink puppy in 60 seconds and wanted to feed within two minutes of oxygen being applied.

Gasping puppies need fast action.  They need oxygen now.  There is no time to phone a friend. You have just a few minutes to help them recover.  Immediate oxygen can change the survival rate of a gasping puppy from around 50 percent to more than 90 percent. You can see a gasping puppy recover and “pink up” in 45 to 90 seconds. It is something you won’t forget.

Though gasping can happen at any position in the birth order, the first puppy born is the most likely to be born gasping.  Gasping puppies are also often seen among the last puppies born, especially the surprise puppy that is born hours after you thought the last puppy was delivered.  In either case, the treatment is the same.

Larger puppies born gasping generally had a difficult time in the birth canal.  Often they are the largest puppy and benefited from better nutrition in the womb.  The head is often larger, the shoulders larger and they are the first puppy to pass through the birth canal. Their journey is more difficult and more stressful than the other puppies in the litter.  Singletons are often born gasping for the very same reason.

While puppies born late in the birth cycle are often smaller, they may have a longer, more stressful passing through the birth canal due to the bitch being exhausted from birthing the litter mates.

Whether a large first born puppy or a smaller later in the birth order puppy, gasping puppies tend to present themselves in the same way. When a puppy is gasping, it is the result of a reflex in response to being oxygen deprived.  The trick to saving gasping puppies is to make this reflex more effective sooner.  

Puppies that are born oxygen deprived and do not have immediate recovery often have their “gut close” to colostrum sooner.  This can lead to a weaker immune system. Immediate oxygen is imperative to saving a gasping puppy.

To save a gasping puppy, first clear out its lungs as you normally would–bulb syringes and Delee Mucus Traps work well.  Second deliver oxygen directly to the snout of the puppy.  The Puppywarmer oxygen comes with an oxygen line that has a small cup on one end.  Place this cup at the snout of the puppy.


We suggest that oxygen deprived puppies stay in the incubator for about two to three feedings before being returned to their litter mates. The purpose of this is to ensure that oxygen is restored to all organs.  It is largely a precautionary measure without risk to the puppy.

If the puppy is gasping once outside of the incubator, it may have underdeveloped lungs.  This is a condition that is best discussed with your veterinarian.  There may be treatments available to work in conjunction with a warm oxygen rich environment.

Whether the oxygen comes from an oxygen tank or an oxygen concentrator, the benefits to the puppy are the same.  The key advantage of a Puppywarmer Oxygen Concentrator is that it will only deliver puppy friendly flow rates and you will not run out of oxygen.  Over the life of the Puppywarmer Oxygen Concentrator there is a cost saving versus using oxygen tanks in addition to the convenience of always being ready. Puppywarmer Oxygen Concentrators also have a nebulizer function and built in humidity enhancement.

We love to hear the stories of puppies saved by Puppywarmer Oxygen Concentrators. Eight bloodhounds born blue during an emergency C-section saved by a customer that brought her Puppywarmer incubator and Oxygen Concentrator to the procedure.  The Veterinarian called associates in to watch the puppies “pink up.” A Great Dane puppy called fashionably late, found outside, 16 hours after the previously last puppy of the litter was born.  “T”, the Dalmatian with a heart shaped marking around its nose that was born more than 10 hours after its litter mates. The standard poodle, the last born of 10 born within an hour and thought to be stillborn, that was put in the incubator while the breeder worked on two other gasping puppies.  When the breeder returned the two gasping puppies to the incubator, the puppy thought to be stillborn was indistinguishable from its litter mates. We are so thankful that these breeders were planners and had the right tools on hand to save these oxygen deprived puppies.


Oxygen helps the gasping reflex in oxygen deprived puppies fulfill its purpose. Puppywarmer Oxygen Concentrators help you simply save gasping puppies.




Comments (02)

  1. I first got your incubator, oxygen concentrator, and whelping box warming equipment for some added piece of mind since I do not have extensive repro vet care nearby. Turns out it was key in ensuring my pick boy, a gasper, recovered without signs of anoxia and began feeding in minutes. Temperature regulation for the litter and mom was a breeze. No more overheated mom or dehydrated puppies! Thrilled with the equipment!!! Help prevent so many potentially costly problems by simply supporting temperature and humidity levels.

    1. A very memorable day indeed to be on the phone with you when “T” pinked up. Thank you for the very kind words!

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