How Much Time Lapses Between Puppies When a Dog Is Giving Birth?

Dogs with narrow heads, such as shelties, often deliver pups less than 30 minutes apart.
Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

Just like humans, every canine birth is unique and the time between puppies will vary based on various things. While one dog may sail through delivering five puppies, another may take over 24 hours to deliver the same size litter. Despite these differences, there are some general guidelines and signs to look for that can indicate a delivery complication.

Typical Deliveries

When your dog approaches her due date, her rectal temperature will drop below 100 degrees. When this occurs, expect labor to begin within 24 hours. Once active labor begins and the first puppy is delivered, you can expect a delivery every 45 to 60 minutes. If your dog is having a large litter, it is common for her to take breaks in between puppies. These breaks can last as long as two to four hours.

Signs of Complications

If your dog goes for longer than four hours between deliveries and you know there are still more pups to come, contact your veterinarian for immediate assistance. This could be a sign of a retained puppy or delivery complication. If your dog is in active labor with strong contractions for 30 to 60 minutes without delivering a puppy, she requires immediate medical attention.