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LABOR IN DOGS
 
Pregnancy normally lasts from 56 to 64 days from the first day of breeding. Live pups can be seen by day 14-21 with ultrasound. A visit to the regular vet is recommended at day 45 to have x-rays done to estimate how many puppies are there, for a deworming, and general physical exam. It is a good idea to buy a book on whelping so you know what to expect and what you need to do. Pregnant dogs should not be supplemented with calcium during the pregnancy. Talk to your vet before giving your dog any supplements during pregnancy. A whelping box should be provided 1 to 2 weeks before the due date. The body temperature drops below 100 degrees F 10 to 24 hours before the pups are born.

There are three stages of labor:
  • Stage 1 Labor: Lasts 6 to 24 hours. The bitch may appear restless and nervous, may pant, refuse food, vomit, pace, hide, and tear up bedding. The cervix is dilating at this time.

  • Stage 2 Labor: Lasts 3 to 36 hours. Contractions are visible, and the bitch usually squats or lies on her side. It can take from 3 to 36 hours for the entire litter to be born. Usually the first puppy is born within 10 to 30 minutes of initiation of straining and pushing. If the bitch strains for more than 30 minutes to 1 hour without a puppy being born, or more than 4 hours passes between puppies, if she is painful or weak she should be evaluated by a veterinarian or Animal Urgent Care. Pups should nurse within about 1-2 hours of being born. If the bitch does not clear the membranes off the nose of the pups as they are being born you need to do this and stimulate the pups.

  • Stage 3 Labor: The placentas are passed after the birth of each pup. It is normal for the bitch to eat the placentas but it is not necessary and can sometimes make them sick.
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