How to Tell If Your Dog Is in Labor- The Signs

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Do not offer assistance unless your dog seems to be in a crisis. Help to deliver a puppy only if the puppy is not coming out on its own.

Your dog will go into labor about 62 days after she was bred.

Your dog is about to give birth and you're as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking horses. Well, don't be, watch for the sure-fire signs your dog is in labor and then sit back and let nature take its course; in most cases, you won't have to assist. If your dog is a member of a breed of dog that requires a c-section (or a c-section is recommended), know the signs of labor so you can get her to the vet on time.


Step 1

Toy breeds deliver about a week sooner than large breeds.

Take your dog's temperature. Her temperature will drop to 98 degrees Farenheit 24 hours after labor has begun. When her due date begins to approach, take her temperature and record it twice a day. Once you see it drop to 98, you will see the first puppy within 24 hours.


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Take your dog's temperature with a rectal thermometer. Smear it with petroleum or KY jelly and leave it in her rectum for two to three minutes.

Step 2

Some dogs vomit during labor. This is a normal sign of labor so do not be alarmed.

Observe her for other clinical signs. Her pupils most likely will dilate, she will not want to eat, she will want you near her, she will hide under your bed or in a closet, she can't get comfortable and will appear anxious and you may see a mucus discharge. You may observe shivering or whining. She will exhibit nesting behavior, possibly dragging clothing to her whelping box or a closet.


Step 3

Keep your dog's environment calm and quiet. Do not allow children or other household animals near her. This is an anxiety-producing time for your dog. Help her to stay calm by darkening the room and keeping others away from her.

Step 4

Take your dog to the vet for emergency assistance if the first puppy is not delivered after two hours of straining (hard labor).

Time her stages of labor. After six to 18 hours, your dog may go into the second stage of labor. Contractions will begin and her water will break. Puppies appear about thirty minutes apart. The mother will lick the puppies clean and break the umbilical cord. It is important to allow her to take charge at this time.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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