Can a Dog Whelp Late?

by Deborah Lundin
    Litters with only one puppy often go past the normal due date.

    Litters with only one puppy often go past the normal due date.

    Jupiterimages/ Images

    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.

    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.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images

    About the Author

    Deborah Lundin has worked as a professional writer since 2005, though writing has always been a passion. She brings a background in health and fitness, veterinary care, professional cooking and parenting. She studied medical laboratory science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Sites published on include Yahoo, Physorg and MedicalXPress.

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