Can a Dog Whelp Late?

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In dogs, a typical pregnancy averages 63 days; delivery can occur anywhere between 58 and 72 days, though. If you have confirmed your dog's pregnancy with a veterinarian and she has gone past day 63, there is not necessarily any reason to be concerned. First-time mothers, older mothers or small litters may slow the whelping process. However, should the pregnancy go past 70 days, something may be wrong and you should consult your veterinarian.


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Checking the Due Date

Often, late whelping is the result of miscalculated due dates. Blood progesterone levels can help the veterinarian determine the stage of pregnancy.


Pregnancy Complications

Dystocia refers to abnormal or difficult births. With late whelping, dystocia causes can be maternal or fetal in nature. Small pelvic size, a small birth canal or uterine inertia can disrupt the start of the whelping process. Uterine inertia is the absence of uterine contractions. Improper fetal position or single puppy pregnancies are other possible reasons for delayed whelping.



If your pregnant dog has gone 70 days without showing signs of whelping, consult a veterinarian. Dystocia complications may require medical intervention, such as contraction stimulation with drugs such as oxytocin or calcium, manual fetal manipulation or a Caesarean section in order to reduce any risk to the mother or pups.


By Deborah Lundin

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Dystocia in the Bitch
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Dystocia
PetMD: Birth Difficulties in Dogs
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Normal Whelping in the Bitch Does Your Dog Need a C-Section?


About the Author
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

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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