Signs of Birthing Problems in Dogs

Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

When your sweet pregnant dog goes into labor, it's extremely important for you to be available to help her, should she need you to notify a veterinarian for any reason. Although many canine deliveries go smoothly and successfully, some complications can occasionally arise. The easier you can recognize a tough whelping experience, or "dystocia," the better.



Video of the Day

Your pregnant dog might be experiencing birthing difficulties if you notice any conspicuous genital discharge prior to any of the youngsters emerging. If her body is giving off a substance that is black, green or brown, contact a veterinarian immediately. Extended vaginal bleeding during birthing also points to a problem, so do the same in that situation, too.


Lack of Moving Forward

A lack of development and moving forward in labor also usually signifies a problem. If a mama-to-be has been trying hard to birth her puppies for around 40 minutes with no sign of any of them, there could be an issue. Excessively long amounts of time between puppies also often indicates a problem. If her previous newborn came out between two and three hours ago and she's still making a serious effort to get the rest out, immediately contact your veterinarian.


Relaxation Time

If your dog decides to take a break between birthing her puppies, pay close attention to the amount of time she spends taking it easy. If you observe that she's been relaxing for more than four hours, it's time to get a helping hand and let your veterinarian know what's going on. If it's clear to you that your dog is suffering with discomfort in any way, don't ignore it.


Unusual Signs

Any unusual physical signs also can denote whelping issues. If the pregnant doggie is breathing with her mouth hanging open, there could be a problem. Shivering is another key sign of a problem. Be alert to any and all indications of malaise.



Any female dog can undergo complications during pregnancy, whether younger or older, small breed or large breed. However, canines of certain breeds are often more susceptible to dystocia and its associated dilemmas. These breeds include shih tzus, Boston terriers and French bulldogs. Brachycephalic pooches such as these are particularly vulnerable. Brachycephalic dogs are those with somewhat wide and "flattened"-looking visages.


By Naomi Millburn

Hilltop Animal Hospital: Instructions for Whelping
The Vet Centre: The Pregnant Bitch & Whelping
VCA Animal Hospitals: Breeding for Dog Owners - Problems at Birth
Vetwest Animal Hospitals: Breeding - Whelping or Birth
Clermont Animal Hospital: Parturition
Quarry Hill Park Animal Hospital: Pregnant Dog Care
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Dystocia


About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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.


Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...