Signs of Dogs Giving Birth

Understanding key signs of dogs giving birth ensures the safety of your pet. Some dogs struggle during labor because the puppies are too large for their pelvis. Immediate veterinary intervention is needed. By knowing labor signs, you'll be able to carefully monitor your dog and keep both her and her puppies safe during delivery.

Dog's gestation periods generally average 63 days. Every dog is different and some might give birth a week earlier than the average while others may go a week beyond. Statistically, toy breeds tend to deliver early. For the health of the puppies, you should quarantine the mother dog at approximately 45 days of pregnancy to prevent her contracting the herpes virus from another dog. This makes it easier to monitor her for signs of labor.

Veterinary Checkups Share some Signs of Dogs Giving Birth

Your dog should go for a prenatal check-up right before she goes into quarantine. By the 45th day of pregnancy, the puppies will be visible on x-ray. This test reveals how many puppies she's expecting and their stage of development.

If your veterinarian has ultrasound equipment, the puppies are visible after 25 days and the veterinarian can check that their hearts have developed. Many vets have a hard time confirming the number of puppies using ultrasound though.

Monitor Your Dog's Temperature

Chart your dog's rectal temperature 14 days before her predicted due date. A healthy dog's temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees. When a dog is going into labor, her temperature drops to below 100 degrees.

Production of Milk

The majority of dogs giving birth start producing milk a day or two before giving birth. Check your dog's bedding or look for swollen teats for signs of milk production. It's not a guaranteed sign, however, because some dogs begin producing milk a week in advance.

Nesting Urge in Dogs Giving Birth

For the last two weeks of pregnancy, bitches start to nest. You'll notice behavioral changes that include shredding paper, blankets and bedding to form comfortable bedding for herself and her puppies. Some dogs become temperamental and will snap or nip at people who get too close. She may prefer to be left alone and start having accidents inside.

For labor, you should provide your dog with a quiet location away from foot traffic and loud noise. This can help reduce stress in your dog making for an easier labor. Build a whelping box that the mother dog can easily get in and out of but the puppies will remain contained to the specific area.

Stages of Labor in Dogs Giving Birth

During the first stage of labor, your dog will be extremely restless and stressed. At this point, if you can get your dog to go for a walk it can help reduce stress. If 24 hours pass and your dog hasn't started active labor, contact your vet.

In the second stage, the contractions increase and you'll start seeing the puppies. The mother will open the birth sac, clean her puppy and chew through the umbilical cord. If she doesn't take care of these steps, you may need to intervene. After each birth, the mother dog may have a brief resting period where contractions decrease.