How To Revive a Stillborn Puppy? (Step-By-Step)


When your dam or female dog starts giving birth, usually, you are very excited to see the new puppies.

You want to know (if you do not know it yet) how many puppies will be born.

Probably, you are expecting specific sex of the puppy.

And you will also be keen to see how many female pups you have and how many are males.

During the process, most like, you have already prepared all the equipment and materials you needed.

In order to make sure that the process of your dog giving birth happens as smooth as possible.

There are certain times that amidst you seeing healthy puppies being born, you may encounter seeing a stillborn puppy.

Now, my article will be discussing what do we mean when we say having a stillborn puppy, what causes a stillborn puppy and the most important, what to do to revive one.

I hope that this article helps you if in case you get to experience such as having a stillborn puppy.

And not having the capability and the knowledge to revive them can leave you heartbroken at times.

What is Stillborn Puppy?

This is one of the main questions we needed to know and understand.

What is a stillborn puppy?

A stillborn puppy is a puppy that is dead during the time that it is born.

There are several possible reasons why a stillborn puppy is born.

But to really understand the main cause, there are several steps that need to be taken.

When Bella had her first time of delivering puppies, we experienced this.

I was really shocked and at the same time sad.

When Bella was giving birth, I was there, literally all the way.

From helping her to push until the puppies are born to helping her clean them and put them near her for warmth.

I was there all throughout her delivery and a few hours and days even.

After giving birth to the first five puppies, within a 30-40 minute interval, I became worried when she has stopped “pushing” as well as seeing limited contractions in a span of an hour.

An hour and a half passed, then 2 hours and afterward another puppy was born but there is something wrong.

The puppy was not breathing nor making any movements.

I was wondering why the puppy was not moving at all.

At first, I thought that the puppy just needed some room to move.

But as I watched over it after a few more minutes, I just noticed it was not breathing at all.

When I saw this, I immediately attempted to do a CPR, pressing on the puppy’s chest.

And then slightly breathing into it just so that air will enter its system.

I have made several attempts, attempts that lasted for about 5-10 minutes.

But eventually, I stopped when my husband said to just let it go as the puppy is really dead.

And I cannot do anything else to bring it back.

I was devastated at that moment since it was our first litter from Bella.

But I followed my husband’s suggestion and just stopped.

So having stillborn puppy happens and it is not as uncommon as other people may think it is.

Sad as it may seem, when this happens, it is very little to none that you can actually do to revive the puppy.

But also take note that miracle happens and you never know, you might be able to save one stillborn puppy with the suggestions I have listed down.

How to revive a stillborn puppy?

Although I have mentioned that there is little to no chance that a stillborn puppy can be revived.

Of course, as a fur parent, you will do your best to do what you can to make this happen.

Now here are some of the tips that you can do, if in case you get to encounter stillborn puppies.

Note that there are available videos on the internet showing you examples of people who were successfully able to bring a stillborn puppy back to life.

So it really just means that nothing is impossible if you put your heart into it!

When your dog is delivering her puppies, it is normal that you will prepare for all the birthing kit like cloth, whelping box, rest of the whelping kit.

As well as keeping the veterinarian’s number for emergency purposes.

If you have a veterinarian with you or you are helping your dog give birth in a pet clinic then you will have the vets help in reviving stillborn puppies.

In the event that you are at home and professional help is not around, then it is better to know these tips as it can help you revive a stillborn puppy.

First, although your maternal instinct as a fur parent will come out.

You would like to put all your effort into saving and reviving the puppy.

You need to make the decision first if you really want to revive the puppy or not.

Why do I say this? It is because there are several reasons, as I have mentioned earlier, as to why a puppy can be stillborn.

One of which is dying because of sickness which means that if you try and revive the puppy and it is placed where the other puppies are.

Then you are risking the healthy ones should there be bacteria that can be transferred.

It may cause health issues or even death with your remaining pups.

If you will push through with reviving a stillborn puppy (which I know most of you will), then if possible, contain them in another area where they can remain warm.

But totally away from the other newborn puppies.

Once away from the rest then the most common method of reviving a stillborn puppy is to turn it upside down.

shaking the head gently and then massaging or rubbing the puppy’s body.  

If you want to see an example of how to do it, do check this video for your reference. 

This process doesn’t, same as the other attempts, cannot guarantee that the puppy will be revived.

But this is the best option you will have to keep their blood flowing again.

You can also clear their mouth, as normally, there will be some fluid that blocks the airways.

Especially if they have just come out of the mother’s womb.

This will help remove the blockage in their mouth and then let some air go through helping them breathe.

Another way to revive a puppy, which is following the steps in reviving human beings is to resuscitate.

Chest compressions and suctioning through the mouth for a good 30-40 minutes can sometimes bring them back.

Making it seem like the puppies just really needed a jump start.

Should you follow any of the steps I gave and you are able to fully revive your stillborn pup.

The next step is to keep them warm.

From our previous article, we have discussed that keeping puppies warm is very important because they cannot regulate their temperatures yet.

If the puppy has started to breathe, just make sure that they are kept warm.

So that the progress of keeping them alive will continue, especially during the critical period which is the first 48-72 hours.

Possible Causes of Stillborn Puppy

As I have initially mentioned, there are several reasons why a puppy is born dead or is stillborn.

And the best way to determine the cause is to consult a surgical veterinarian.

More of autopsy-like research to get to the bottom of why this happened.

Of course, you will not wait for something like this to happen if you have fur babies on the way to being delivered.

Normally, someone who loves their dogs and their upcoming ones would tend to be proactive.

And prevent this from happening instead of dealing with the actuality of stillborn puppies.

Now here are some of the possible reasons causing stillborn puppies for your reference.

  • Read through them and make sure that you, as a pet owner, do not contribute to such.

The goal here is to always have the healthiest puppies on every batch.

The first and most common reason, which is what we have experienced is when puppies die during the delivery.

If your dog experienced difficulty in giving birth, there is a possibility that the puppy will get stuck in the birth canal.

When this happens, they can drown in the fluid in the sac which can then cause them to die.

If you notice that your dog is passed the typical 30-40 minute interval of delivering her puppies then I suggest that it is best to closely monitor it.

If you have a vet on call, then have them stay with you to assist when needed.

When this happens, you are not just risking the life of the puppy that is about to be delivered but also the rest of the litter that is yet to be delivered.

Now, before breeding, you can also ask your vet if your dog is part of those breeds that will require more special attention.

Especially, when giving birth such as undergoing a C-section compared to a normal one.

Take note that breeds like the English Bulldog, typically sees the need to have a C-section when giving birth.

Because of the size of the puppy’s head that might hinder a smooth process of delivery.

Aside from the delivery, other common reasons resulting in stillbirth for puppies are the following:

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Much like for humans, a sexually transmitted infection can cause big problems with the litter although the effect on the adult is very limited.

One of which is causing stillborn puppies.

Unhealthy Dam

Same as human beings, to get healthy babies then the mommies need to be healthy too.

Aside from being healthy, the dam should be mature enough to be bred.

Just to ensure that her puppies will also come out as fully developed and without any issues.

Medications During Pregnancy

This is a given amongst all pregnant individuals.

Medications are a huge risk if taken while pregnant.

Giving your dam any other medications while pregnant might affect the litter so if possible avoid it if it is not needed.

If giving medications cannot be avoided then make sure this is cleared by the veterinarian.


So there are several possible reasons that can cause for a puppy to be stillborn.

These reasons, I have indicated this article so that everyone can better understand what we are up against and also do everything possible to prevent this from happening.

Much like what we always say, prevention is always better than cure.

Now, if we have done all our best in taking care of our dogs during their pregnancy and yet stillborn puppies have been delivered.

Then I hope the process and procedures indicated in this article can help people revive their puppies.

Although the probability is not as high as we would want it to be.

It will always keep us sane, as pet owners, to try and do our best to keep the whole litter alive.

Now that we understand what needs to be done, and the consequences of our action if we expose the stillborn puppy with the rest of the litter.

We now know when to push and get the results that we wanted.

In this case, the end result is to bring the stillborn puppy back to life.

Now that we have the reason and the drive to keep stillborn puppies alive.

Next is to just be reminded of the tips and procedures we can choose from.

And pick the best that can bring us closer to a complete, live litter.