Signs That a Dog Is Ready to Go Into Labor

By Sarah DeWitt Ince

Dogs exhibit symptoms similar to those of humans when they are ready to go into labor. Watch your dog carefully in the days and weeks before she is due to give birth. Most dogs show behavior changes, and their energy levels drop as their abdomens grow. To make sure your dog has a healthy pregnancy, take her to the veterinarian regularly.

Loss of Appetite

Your dog may refuse to eat its food prior to going into labor. She might stop eating altogether or simply eat less food as delivery day approaches. Continue to provide food and water for her if she does get hungry. Not all dogs experience this symptom. Some dogs continue to eat normally right up until labor begins. This is just one sign to look for.

Nesting

Many dogs also nest before labor begins. This happens because of an instinctive reaction. Your dog may seek out a quiet corner or closet to give birth. She may spend time in this location off and on throughout the day until it's time to deliver. You can create a private retreat for her in the closet and she may choose this location when the time comes. Place a few old blankets or a dog bed in the closet for her. Most dogs prefer dark, isolated spots.

Fatigue

Your dog may experience a great deal of fatigue in the weeks and days before labor begins. This happens because your dog's body is working hard to nourish puppies and its abdomen is getting larger. Dogs begin to sleep more frequently and play less as they get closer to delivery.

Behavior Changes

Many dogs also exhibit behavior changes before they go into labor. Your dog may pace the floor or become very quiet, or act unlike herself in other ways. She might still seek comfort from her owner or certain other people, though.

Vomiting

Some dogs also become very sick and begin vomiting before labor begins. This may be caused by fluctuations in hormone levels. Give your dog fresh water to ensure that she stays hydrated. If your dog refuses to eat, you may need to feed water through a syringe.

Drop in Body Temperature

Your dog may also experience a drop in body temperature prior to the onset of labor. You can check its temperature periodically by using a rectal thermometer. Your dog may not like this. Do this only if you notice other signs that labor is impending.