A dog will go into labor an average of 63 days after she gets pregnant. Take her temperature frequently as the big day approaches, watching for a drop from her normal temperature of between 101 and 102 degrees to below 100. Once you see this drop, labor should start within about 24 hours. Labor may take less than half a day or up to a full day.
During the first stage of labor, your dog will pant, possibly vomit and pace for six to 12 hours as her cervix dilates in preparation for giving birth. Next comes the second stage of labor, when the puppies begin to show up. This stage is characterized by obvious straining and pushing. The first puppy should arrive no more than two hours after hard labor begins. She may deliver several and then rest for as much as four hours before delivering more. The process will continue as long as she has pups waiting to be born. Once the second stage, starts labor normally lasts 12 to 24 hours.
The third stage of labor is when the placenta comes out, usually no more than 15 minutes after a puppy is born. When two or more pups are born close together, their placentas may arrive at the same time. The dog will go back into second-stage labor if she still has puppies inside. Call the vet if she strains for more than two hours without producing a puppy or if she hasn’t delivered one placenta for every puppy.
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Giving Birth to Puppies
- PetPlace.com: Normal Labor and Delivery in the Dog
- Canine Reproduction and Whelping: A Dog Breeder's Guide; Myra Savant-Harris
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