Feeding - The first meal you give your bitch after whelping should be one that is easily digested. Some breeders give chicken soup with rice to bulk it out. This is easy to eat and digest and is not too rich. However, don't allow your bitch to fill up on carbohydrates unless she has had an adequate protein intake.
Your bitch will need a well balanced, adequate diet during the lactation period that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fats. If your bitch does not receive the protein she requires her body will dip into its own reserves and she can very quickly become malnourished. Do not reduce your bitch's food intake, she will require more sustenance during lactation than during the final weeks of pregnancy. Stick to little and often. Your vet can recommend a good brand.
Make sure your bitch has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Nursing is a thirsty business and she will drink a lot more than usual. Keep her water bowl close by, but serve it in a shallow dish, to prevent the drowning of any adventurous puppies.
Once the bitch has finished lactating, her food can be gradually reduced to as it was before she became pregnant. This can occur quite quickly if the correct diet has been stuck to throughout pregnancy and lactation.
Do not give your bitch any supplements, unless it has been recommended by your vet.
Exercise - Your bitch will probably be reluctant to leave her puppies at first, don't force her, just gently encourage her. Keep her on a lead and walk her for a short period, about 10 minutes, close to the whelping area. She will become confident about leaving the puppies for short periods and will soon get back into the habit of going outside to urinate and defecate when she needs to without you prompting her.
Complications - Medical complications include: Eclampsia, Mastitis, Metritis and Milk Fever. See Dog Health for more information.