Although canine gestation lasts an average of 63 days, just over two months, it can seem like forever while you're waiting for your dog to give birth. Although a variety of methods exist for determining when she'll go into labor, monitoring temperature change is among the most reliable.
A dog's normal temperature ranges between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Twenty-four hours before delivery, her temperature should drop below 100 degrees. At that point, start taking her temperature every four hours. Twelve hours before giving birth, it will drop below 99 degrees -- but not always. According to the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, this temperature change occurs in 85 percent of dogs.
Taking Her Temperature
About a week before your dog's due date, approximately day 56 of her pregnancy, start taking her temperature rectally morning and night. Try to take the temperature at about the same time every day.
Call the Vet
You should already have your dog's birthing spot laid out and your vet's contact information handy because of the impending birth. If your dog's temperature drops and stays below 100 degrees for more than 24 hours with no sign of labor, call your vet.
Other signs that puppies are due to arrive include milk leaking from the pregnant dog's nipples. That generally occurs one to three days before delivery. When early labor starts, the dog refuses to eat. She becomes restless and might display nesting behavior.
By Jane Meggitt
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.