Should a Puppy Be Born Feet First or Head First?

by Norma Roche Google
    Some of these puppies may have been born feet first and some head first.

    Some of these puppies may have been born feet first and some head first.

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    The presenting position of a pup at the time of birth is important for an easy and safe delivery. There are two normal birthing positions for a dog. A puppy can be born head first -- around 60 percent of puppies are born this way -- or with his tail and hind feet first.

    Normal Presentations

    It's normal for a puppy to come down the birthing canal in the diving position, with his head first -- nose forward -- and forelegs extended. This is called the anterior presentation. It's equally normal for a puppy to be born with his tail and hind legs and feet emerging first. This is called the posterior presentation and rarely causes a problem, though the pup's elbows can get caught on his mother's pelvic rim.

    Abnormal Presentations

    There are several abnormal birthing positions that cause delivery problems for a dog. They include the breech presentation, where a pup's hind legs are extended forward and his tail and bottom are the first parts to enter the birth canal. Problems can also result from a pup coming head first but with his head turned to the side or bent forward, head first but with his front feet flexed backwards or back first.
    If a pup is suspected of being in a wrong position or if the mother is having difficulties giving birth, always contact a veterinarian immediately. Veterinarians can sometimes manually correct these abnormal positions; if they can't , a caesarean section is needed.


    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Norma Roche has worked as a complementary therapist with people and animals for more than 10 years. A teacher, she creates courses in therapies and related subjects for beginners to professional therapists. Roche received a B.A. in historical studies from Portsmouth University and holds various qualifications in therapies.

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!