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What to do when your dog is in labor

Updated on July 9, 2009

A dog that is about to give birth is both an exciting and stressful time. Breeding may have been planned and the owner is prepared for the coming of the puppies but it would be impossible to prepare for all the possible outcomes. The dog may have an easy birthing. It is also possible that labor difficulties would endanger the lives of the dam and the puppies. It is necessary to be armed with vital information that can help the pet if something goes wrong.

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Getting ready for the big day

In about nine weeks, the dog’s pregnancy will be terminated. The puppies will arrive. You have to be prepared for the big day. It is necessary to build a whelping box. A children’s wading pool or a stiff cardboard box can be made in to one as long as it would accommodate the dam and the pups comfortably. Place old towels and sheets at the bottom of the box.  You will also need towels, scissors, thread or dental floss that will be used to tie the umbilical cord, rubber bulb syringe that will be used to remove the fluids from the pup’s airway and rectal thermometer that will be used on the pregnant dog.

The dog is in labor

Once the rectal temperature reading drops below 100F the dog will give birth in 24 hours. Usually the dog will choose a secure and warm spot in the house to be its delivery room. The dog may drag its blanket and paw the ground as if trying to make the location more comfortable. This will be your cue to set up the whelping box. At the first stage of labor, the dog will appear to be extremely uncomfortable. The dog may persistently whine, vomit and urinate frequently.

Puppy out!

After the placental water breaks, uterine contractions will expel a puppy. In normal deliveries, the mother dog will break the sack, bite the umbilical cord and lick the puppy clean. Vigorous licking stimulates the pup to breath. Puppies are expected to be expelled every thirty minutes or so. A pup may appear feet first. Your assistance is needed if the dam is straining to expel the pup. Gently but firmly pull the feet of the pup with a towel in a downward motion until the puppy is out. The exhausted dog may not have the energy to clean the newborn. You need to tear the sac at once and use the rubber bulb syringe to clear the fluid from the pup’s mouth and nose. Vigorously rub the puppy with towel to stimulate respiration. Tie the umbilical cord with thread or dental floss and cut with the scissors.

Pregnant Dog Labor

Dog in labor

Puppy Born Feet First


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      chris 8 years ago

      I loved it helps a lot.I did not know what to do when it is time. For her to give birth to her puppies.