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Canine Pregnancy; What Are The Signs Of Complications?

Updated on March 5, 2012

Whilst complications and problems during a dog’s pregnancy are quite rare, it is still important for owners to keep a keen eye on their dog to ensure that everything goes well and both the puppies and the mother stay healthy. There are a few warning signs that can indicate something is wrong and this hub is going to outline what these signs are.

First let’s take a look at the signs that can occur before and during labour. If the mother loses her appetite completely for more than a few days or becomes unwell in any other way then the vet should be contacted. Another cause for concern is if seventy days or more have passed since the dog has mated and she still hasn’t given birth. In terms of the actual passing of the puppies there are quite a few signs that something has gone wrong; such signs include strong contractions that last for over thirty minutes and fail to produce a puppy, if the dog has been in second stage labour (when puppies are actually being passed) for over 12 hours, if the dog has rested for over 2 hours and is only having light contractions even though there is still a puppy inside her, if a puppy has not been born within 4 hours after the brown/green discharge has been produced and if the mother fails to go into labour within 24 hours of her temperature dropping.

Some signs are more obvious than others and if the dog is clearly unwell, distressed or in extensive pain during giving birth then this can mean there is a complication. Of course, any abnormal vaginal discharge, such as bleeding or unpleasant smelling fluids can mean that something is not quite right; the same can be said if the head or back of a puppy is visible at the vulvar entrance but the mother cannot expel them.

It is important to note that there can be complications that arise after labour has passed and therefore vigilance should upheld over the first few days following the birth. Whilst a bitch may be exhausted after giving birth she should still show an interest in her litter, if she doesn’t then it can mean that there may be problems with her uterus; listlessness, a drastic loss in appetite and fever can also be indications of this problem. Other physical signs that something is wrong with the female dog include red and inflamed mammary glands, twitching, a stiff and painful gait, seizures and continued straining after all of the puppies have passed.

A dog giving birth to a litter of puppies is a wonderful thing and in most cases no problems arise. Thankfully, there are a lots of signs to alert the owner should something go wrong before, during or after a pregnancy which mean that an owner can seek the help of their vet sooner rather than later. Whilst I write on HupPages I also write a blog for Animal Friends Insurance.


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      Teri n duci 19 months ago

      My dog is panting for 3 days now as if she's over heated she's w/ red eyes I am worried

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      Stephanie 22 months ago

      What if u lack funds meaning struggling just to eat but dogs in labor n having complications and all the vets are turnin u down cause of it

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      whatinterestsyoU 3 years ago

      what are symptoms of abdominal ascites in pregnant dogs and after delivery? What causes this?

      My 11 month old small mixed breed dog had 7 puppies 4 days ago, a week prior to delivery I noticed her abdomen was protruding on the sides with a deep indention (line) up the middle of her abdomen. The indention was hard, tight, and taunt. After delivery, her and was saggy and flabby (abdominal ascites maybe) and she lost triple the amount of blood as one other dog gave birth that I've witnessed. Since she has been not really wanting to eat but will eat some not as much as usual, she very weak, sleeps a lot, is not drinking very well and is having foul smelling dark colored vaginal discharge. She pants at times for example at 3am when it is not warm in here at all. Her pupils appear dilated, she's seemed anxious, confused at times, and sleeps a lot. She does not seem to be producing milk like her mother did (only puppies I've ever seen born and was with her all the time so I observed and am comparing) her breasts are not enlarged at all.