How to know if my dog ​​is in labor


The delivery of the dog can last between two and twelve hours, but if it takes more than 24 hours to start giving birth you should consult the veterinarian

  • Last update: May 18, 2016

The moment of the birth of the dog is a moment of nervousness for the owners of the animal, who have many doubts and fears about such a special moment. In most cases the presence of the veterinarian is not necessary, but it is advisable to know how to identify the situations that pose a risk to the life of the mother and the puppies. But, How long is the delivery of the dog? What are the symptoms of alarm during canine delivery? And what are the advantages of sterilization? This article answers these questions.

Most dogs stop by themselves without problem, if they arrive healthy and in good condition at the time of delivery.

The main causes that can cause problems at the time of delivery are dystocia and uterine inertia

However, veterinarian Manuel Lázaro recommends monitor and supervise to the female in anticipation of the possible appearance of problems, to be able to act quickly, and adds: "It is important to have patience and tranquility when assessing the evolution of labor." And it is that the duration and development of labor varies considerably from one female to another, so it cannot be generalized. However, there are certain indications that warn that labor is complicated.

Duration of delivery of the dog

The duration of labor varies from one bitch to another. Influence factors such as race or if the female is first time. Therefore, it can be prolonged between two and twelve hours. It usually happens that the birth of the first puppy is longer than the rest, but it is normal. Nor should we be afraid of the greenish color of the vaginal fluid that the dog expels during childbirth, because it is quite common.

Keep in mind that the dog, in addition to the puppies, also have to eject every placenta correspondent. And it must be taken into account in this regard that the last placenta will be cast, at most, 12 hours after the last birth.

Birthing of the dog: alarm symptoms

Some of the signs that should alert when the dog is pregnant or in labor are:

  • The dog has been pregnant for more than 65 days.
  • If it takes more than 24 hours to start giving birth, when the process of birth of the puppies has already begun.
  • When it takes more than 60 minutes with contractions and no puppy is born.
  • If more than four hours pass between the birth of one dog and another and there are more puppies left to be born.
  • If during delivery, the dog has no symptoms of pain and is apathetic.
  • If a few days or weeks after delivery, there are symptoms of illness such as: fever, loss of appetite, decay, breasts are inflamed, seizures or rejection towards puppies. These signs may indicate that the dog suffers an inflammation of the mammary glands, lacks calcium or has an infection in the uterus.

It is considered normal that the birth interval between a puppy and another is one hour

It is considered normal that the birth interval between a puppy and another is one hour, but there may be moments of rest prolonged between the arrival of one baby and another. In fact, these intervals can last several hours, which is normal, as long as there are no contractions. If the dog has difficulty extracting the puppies, she can be helped by pulling them carefully.

Causes of difficulties

The main causes that can cause problems at the time of delivery are the dystocia and the uterine inertia. The first case consists in the impossibility of expelling one or more puppies for different causes, such as the excessive size of the pups with respect to the mother or the incorrect placement of the pups.

Unwanted litters

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that it is not necessary for a dog to have a litter. Above all, when several puppies cannot be cared for, they give a lot of work, and they cannot be "placed" with families that can take care of them responsibly.

We must not forget the data pointed out by the Affinity Foundation in this sense that 14% of the animals in the shelters are puppies from unwanted litters. The abandonment of animals is a serious problem in Spain, as it is one of the European countries where more animals are abandoned each year: 150,000 dogs and cats.

Advantages of sterilization

In the event that the dog is not going to have offspring, it is best to sterilize it, because, in addition, it entails benefits for her health in the future:

Avoid the discomfort caused by menstruation, such as the uncomfortable persecution of dogs.

Prevent psychological pregnancies, which cause character changes.

Reduce the risk of uterine infections, breast tumors and ovarian cysts.

Avoid postpartum complications.

There is no risk of unwanted pregnancies, with the consequent unwanted litters that, in many cases, cannot be treated.

Prepare the nest

The pregnancy of a female dog lasts approximately 63 days, but one or two weeks before delivery she will have changes in her behavior. One of the most significant is that start looking for a place to prepare the nest. This will be in the place of the house where she feels comfortable and safe. We may not like it, but unless it poses a danger to her or the puppies, we don't have to change it under any circumstances.

You will experience physical changes

When you are about to give birth, their breasts develop and start producing milk. In addition, approximately one day before giving birth, expulsion of the mucous plug, which is whitish or yellowish, will occur due to its vulva.

Finally, at 12-24 hours before, your rectal body temperature will drop to 37 ° C (Normally, it is between 37.5ºC and 39ºC), it will go to its nest and lie on its side, at which time the contractions will have already begun or will be about to do so.

Before, during and after the birth of the puppies It is very important that we take good care of the mother. You have to receive high quality food, without cereals or by-products, and much more affection than we normally give you. We have to think that during pregnancy our dear friend will be much more sensitive, so it is necessary to pamper her a lot and avoid leaving her alone.

Bitch preparation for birth

The mother will want a corner of the private house where she can relax and give birth to her puppies without being disturbed, so you must make a "nest" in the last two weeks of her canine pregnancy.

The ideal nest for the birth of puppies is a large cardboard box lined with chichoneras for puppies (in case of accident), and padded with clean blankets, sheets or towels. The box must be large enough for the mother and her litter to fit comfortably, and for the mother to have her own space if she wishes.

Also make sure the box is high enough to prevent adventurous puppies from escaping! .

- Frequently, bitches choose the kitchen to give birth, as they consider it a safe place and a source of food.

Place the nest in a quiet place at room temperature, where you can be comfortable and nobody bothers you. Placing your bed or toys in the nest (as long as they are clean) can encourage you to use it and feel comfortable before delivery.

Have help at hand

The delivery of your dog should proceed without complications, but it does not hurt to have help on hand to keep calm, or in case of complications.

Get the emergency phone number of your veterinarian before the birth of the puppies, since the delivery occurs frequently during the night. Tell your veterinarian the expected date for delivery (if you don't know it already), so that it is pending. If the mother has trouble giving birth to her puppies, you may have to take her to the vet, so make sure you have a means of transportation available.

During childbirth, have manicure scissors and several clean, dry towels on hand, in case the mother needs you to lend a hand. If your litter is large, you may need an additional basket to have enough space for newborn puppies.

If you have to separate the dogs from the mother at some point, you will have to keep them warm. We recommend that you use a thermal bag suitable for microwaves instead of a hot water bottle, since they could prick it with your teeth or with your fingernails.

Have help at hand

One of the first signs of the imminence of childbirth is a decrease in the mother's body temperature from 38.5 ° C to 37 ° C, approximately 12 to 24 hours before delivery.

To know when this happens, take your dog's temperature twice a day with a rectal thermometer during the last week of pregnancy. If you don't know how to do it, consult your veterinarian. If you notice that taking your dog's uncomfortable temperature, stop doing it. You will have to help her stay as calm as possible at this time.

During the last week of canine pregnancy, future moms may be somewhat restless and retire to a quiet place. During the 12-24 hours before delivery, they usually lose their appetite and "dig" their bed frequently.

In rare cases, the dog could move the nest you made to another place in the house. If this happens, try to respect your preferred place if possible.

The phases of canine delivery

In general, the birth of puppies is simple and there are usually no complications. Although you should interfere as little as possible, it is important that you are present during the birth of the puppies to be able to intervene and help the mother if a problem arises. The delivery usually lasts between 3 and 12 hours, and occurs in three phases.

  • The cervix and uterus are prepared for childbirth with small contractions that can go unnoticed for you.
  • Your dog's vulva will begin to swell preparing for childbirth.
  • During this phase of labor, bitches can be very restless and agitated, panting and shaking, but don't worry: it's completely normal.

The second phase is the birth of the puppies that usually lasts between 3 and 12 hours, although it can be extended up to 24 hours.

  • Mom's rectal temperature will return to normal when she is ready to give birth to her puppies.
  • You will notice strong contractions followed by a clear flow in your dog's vulva, which indicates that the puppy will be born in the next 20-30 minutes.
  • Puppies are usually born with 20-minute intervals with each other, although it is common for mom to take a break during childbirth, and may not even strain at all for up to 2 hours between puppies. Stay tuned for the birth of the dog and contact your veterinarian if you see that he rests for more than two hours.

  • It is normal for any of the pups to be born from buttocks, but don't be scared if that happens. You can gently stimulate the mother in the delivery of puppies that come from buttocks, but be very careful not to throw.
  • The mother will bite the placenta and umbilical cords of the puppies and then begin cleaning them. If you see that the mother tries to bite the cord too close to the puppy, stop her and do it yourself. We offer you more information in our section "Help with childbirth".
  • If the birth lasts a long time, the mother may have to make her needs between the birth of a puppy and that of another. Watch her in case she starts giving birth to the next puppy at the same time.
  • A greenish / brown discharge may indicate that a placenta has separated. If you see this, the puppy should be born in the next 2-4 hours. If this does not happen, call your veterinarian because there may be some complications in the delivery of puppies.
  • The placentas must leave after the birth of each puppy.
  • Check how many placentas have come out (watch if you eat any), to see if any are inside the mother. If you think it may be so, contact your veterinarian because your intervention may be necessary.
  • Sometimes, during childbirth, bitches eat the placentas for energy and then vomit them. This is normal, but contact your veterinarian if vomiting continues.

Luckily, you probably won't have to intervene during the birth of your dog, although sometimes the new mother will need some help. There are some cases in which your intervention may be necessary.

  • A puppy may need help while his mother is giving birth to another. In that case, remove the membrane that surrounds the puppy and dry it quickly against the counter with a clean cloth. This friction movement will also help the puppy start breathing.
  • If the mother has not cleaned a puppy, it may have fluids in its airways. Run your clean pinky through the inside of your mouth to remove any blockages and clean your nose. Rub it with a towel to help you cry, as that will clean the fluids you may have swallowed.
  • If the mother is busy lighting another puppy, you can help her by cutting the umbilical cord of the newborn puppy. To do this, tie a knot with a strong thread approximately one inch (2.54 cm) from the point where the cord joins the puppy's body. Make another knot a little further from the first and use clean scissors to cut the cord between the two knots. If you cut the cord too close to the puppy you can put your health at risk, and if you leave it too long it could be chewed or swallowed by your mother.

On our page, issues that require special attention during the pregnancy of your dog you will find more information about the phases of childbirth and its possible complications.

After birth

When you are sure that the delivery is over and that everyone is healthy and happy, give the mother something to eat and drink. Give the normal food of puppies that you have been eating throughout pregnancy, as you will need something you are used to take care of your stomach.

Try to help her out so she can get fresh air and meet her needs: it can be difficult to get it immediately. Remove and change everything that has been stained during childbirth and allow the new family a valuable time of calm together.

If the dogs have not suckled during their first hour of life, you should guide them to one of the breasts, as they will probably be hungry. If there are more puppies than breasts, you will have to exchange them until they learn to share.

If the dog continues to make efforts without giving birth to more puppies after the end of the birth, or if she does not seem very interested in taking care of her litter, get in touch with your veterinarian.

Sometimes it may be necessary to feed the puppies with a bottle after the pups are born, but it is not usual. If you have questions or questions about raising the litter, ask your veterinarian for advice. Now, all that remains to be done is to celebrate this special moment and the arrival of the dogs. Congratulations!


Liliana Sequeira says

Thank you. It has helped me to be calmer. I'm waiting for the puppies of the Yorkshire breed to be born, but we don't know who is the male who covered her, that makes me nervous about the size. On ultrasound only two hearts were seen.

my dog ​​is a pug and today April 1 turned 61 days she is already separated in cu camita alone but from the morning I see her tears come out and she trembles at times she changes her position every moment - I already have everything I will occupy to help her I already saw many videos of how to help them

Jesús Román Salgado says

My dog ​​is a Chihuahua has just urinated and a whitish liquid came out as a babilla is a sign that it is already giving birth

When is the time of delivery approaching?

The pregnancy of the dog lasts approximately 9 weeks and during the ninth and last week the birth can occur at any time, although before the birth the dog will clearly state that she is preparing to give birth to her puppies.

Yes well the bitch knows instinctively Since your body has all the necessary resources to have a non-intervened birth, it is important that during this week your human family remain by your side to be able to attend to it during delivery if necessary.

2. Loss of appetite and change in body temperature

When the labor has already begun, although it is not yet excessively evident, you may notice that your dog has not eaten for hours and also shows no interest in eating food.

While the loss of appetite does not take place in all the dogs that will give birth, it is a sign that is shown in most of them.

Another important change that takes place in your body is a slight decrease in body temperature, which in normal conditions is around 38 ° C but approximately 12 hours before delivery drops to a temperature that ranges between 36 and 37 ° C.

3. Genital and uterine symptoms

These are the symptoms of a female dog that is going to give birth more evident since they are the ones that manifest through the reproductive system.

Before giving birth your dog will expel through the vulva a flow of mucous texture and yellowish-whitish color, it is the expulsion of the plug that protected the entrance to the uterus. Once this expulsion has occurred the first puppy can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours, everything will depend on each particular birth.

When the dog approaches the birth will constantly lick your genital areaIt will do so to keep this area clean, to allow a better exit of the puppies and as a mechanism to calm the inflammation and pain that you can begin to feel.

Finally, another decisive sign that announces the moment of delivery is the uterine contractions that will allow the puppies to leave. They are easy to observe because if you keep the attention in your dog's belly you will see that it moves rhythmically, they can also express signs of pain, which in this context are completely normal.

Stay tuned for any problem

There are numerous problems that can occur during the birth of the dog and that require urgent veterinary attention, such as puppies that are clogged in the birth canal, difficulty on the part of the mother to cut the umbilical cord or significant damage to the structure of the uterus For that reason it is extremely important have a veterinary emergency phone handy. If you observe any symptoms that may indicate that the delivery is not occurring under normal conditions, do not hesitate to contact the veterinarian as urgently as possible.

If you want to read more articles similar to Symptoms of a dog that will give birth, we recommend that you enter our Gestation section.