Top 8 Signs of Dog Labor: How to know When Your Dog Will Give Birth (Whelping)

Having a dog is wonderful and when your dog is about to give birth, it can be a great time as well. Even though you don’t play pretty important role in delivering those puppies, you should still care and understand when it’s time for your dog to go into labor so that you can help your dog to prepare everything. It’s an exciting time but it can also give you lots of worries, especially when you don’t know when the labor process will happen. In this article, we’d like to provide you with essential information, signs when your dog will give birth or into labor, some basic information, and what you need to prepare.

Some basic information that you need to know is how long your dog’s been pregnant, take her to vet on regular basis to monitor the pregnancy. You should know that dogs are pregnant at around 58 to 68 days, but 63 days are usually the average of delivery date. Unfortunately, most people don’t exactly know when their dog mated, because the process can be accidental, but usually as dog owner, you can make some predictions. When this happens, you should look for signs of labor.

Top Signs of Dog Labor: How to know When Your Dog Will Give Birth (Whelping)

There are certain things that you need to prepare, so that when the labor process is happening, you have all items you need at one place:

1. Comfortable Blanket
2. Towels (yes, more than 1)
3. Thermometer
4. Washcloth
5. Cardboard box

There are few signs that you need to pay attention to recognize that your dog is about to give birth:

1. Nesting
Usually few days before whelping, you’ll notice that your dog starts nesting. She would find the perfect spot that makes her feel safe and comfortable, usually the corner of the house or under your bed, she would then place all her favorite items such as blanket, toys in the nest. You can help this process, finding the perfect spot and then place cozy blanket, pillow, and other necessities. She would probably prefer some alone time in her nest. It’s an indication that the labor is near.

Top Signs of Dog Labor: How to know When Your Dog Will Give Birth (Whelping)

2. Refusing to eat
When your dog is about to go into labor, her appetite diminishes. You will find your dog refuse to eat, even her favorite treats or snacks. It’s not normal right? Well, this is a sign for you.

3. Temperature drops
Check your dog temperature, it may drop from 101.5 F to around 97 F and 100 F, this is normal. You need to do this like a routine, like 3 times a day, at the same time each day. However, please remember when your dog doesn’t go into labor in 24 hours, contact your local vet ASAP.

4. Check your dog’s belly
Some dogs usually have swollen nipples, but this symptom is not always present. You can also feel that the belly becomes even more distended, it would be harder to detect any movements. You can also checkout your dog’s genital area, it usually produces more mucous, it’s a sign before first contractions start. When the contractions have begun, the first pup could arrive at any moment, be ready!

Top Signs of Dog Labor: How to know When Your Dog Will Give Birth (Whelping)

5. Sickness
Pay attention when your dog is whining, panting, and licking her genitals. Sometimes, dog can also begin to shiver and vomit. Don’t be alarmed, this is normal, just make sure fresh water is always available near your dog.

6. Wanting to be near you
Your dog might become more clingy, always want to be near you or stare at you, this is a comfort thing for your dog. Please make sure that you are available to keep her company.

7. Check your dog’s vulva
You might notice swell on your dog’s vulva, it leads up to whelping. Check the mucus plug, it clears vaginal discharge for the pup to escape.

8. Laboring process
When your dog lies on her side or try to squat as if trying to defecate, it’s time for you to be ready, because those puppies might soon be born. This process might take from one hour to 6 hours to complete, usually there is 15 to 30 minutes gap between puppies being born. If your dog strains for more than one hour, call your local vet immediately, you need to also do this when the labor process takes more than 4 hours without any puppies being born.

Top Signs of Dog Labor: How to know When Your Dog Will Give Birth (Whelping)

Suggestion for dog owner

So, when you notice all those signs above, it’s safe to say that whelping is about to happen. When things don’t go well, you should immediately contact your vet because sometimes, caesareans or any other medical interventions are needed to safe your dog and her puppies. When the pup is born, the mother always licks each pup to make sure they can breathe. You can also help the process of removing the membrane and dry the pup using towels, it’ll stimulate the pup to breathe.

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