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What To Do When Your Female Dog Is About To Give Birth.

Updated on July 31, 2013


These suggestions are solely based on my own experience and should not be misconstrued for actual medical or veterinary advice. If you need medical or veterinary advice or you have questions that are not answered here please contact your local veterinary hospital or clinic. If you have a pet emergency please contact your local veterinary 24 hour emergency clinic or hospital.


How Long From Conception To Birth?

Unlike the human nine month gestation period, a dogs gestation period lasts only about 60 to 72 days depending on the size of the dog. Larger breeds tend to be closer to 70 or 72 days, whereas, smaller breeds typically have a gestation period of 60 to 64 days.


When a female dog is in heat it triggers the mating mechanism in a male dogs brain. He will begin to get cranky and will constantly follow the female around until he is able to mount the female and proceed with the mating duties without the female fighting him off.

Conception will normally happen either the first or second time that the male and female get stuck together. When the male and female get stuck together that means that the male has finished and that they have to wait, in that position, until the males penis swelling has gone down and he can detach himself from the female. This process can take about five to seven minutes.

If the male and female get stuck that typically means that your female will most likely become pregnant and you will have cute little puppies in about 60 to 72 days.

If you are able to keep track of when the conception was please mark it on a calendar and keep track. Also, make regular vet visits during the pregnancy to make sure that all is well.


What To Do Closer To Delivery

Two weeks before her due date you should taker her temperature, rectally, morning and night. Once her temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit she will be delivering those pups within hours.

About a week before delivery the puppies will begin moving around inside of your female dog, this means that within a week your female dog will be giving birth. At this point she will have already started nesting or is in the process of nesting now. If you are unsure if she has already started nesting, look around your house in the dark areas like behind couches, closets, under beds etc.

She will typically start bringing soft items and clothing and such to a dark, warm, and quiet place preparing for her delivery. If she has not already started you can do this for her. All you have to do is find a dark, quiet, and warm spot in your house, (closets or bathrooms will work) place clean sheets or towels around, if you need a barrier to put up to surround the area, make sure that it is big enough so that the puppies cannot get out right away but the mother can. Make sure she has food and water near by so that when she gets hungry and thirsty she does not have to wonder far from her puppies.


Prepare Yourself For The Delivery

While the female is preparing for the bringing of her young into the world, you, too, must prepare yourself. If you have a weak stomach you might either want someone else to keep an eye on her or you might want to keep a bucket near by. The process of birthing, for a dog, is one part magical and one part disgusting.

****CAUTION**** This part is about to get graphic!

There are three stages to a female dog's labor, stage one, stage two, and stage three.

Stage one - During this stage the uterus will begin to dilate and contractions will begin. You will most likely know when she begins to contract because her stomach will feel like a rock under your hands and she may quit panting and stretch her lags out depending on the forcefulness of the contraction.This stage could last between six and eight hours, so be patient. During this time she will seem very restless and may whimper a lot. Pet her lightly and speak softly to her and this will help calm her down. Make sure she is in her nesting spot so she can feel even more relaxed.

Stage two - During this stage the contractions will come faster and stronger. Her water will break at this point as well. Be aware that she will lick up the fluids from her water breaking (this is normal so do not fret it). Her uterus will be fully dilated by this point and she will begin pushing. From the time that she starts pushing to the time that the first puppy makes a full appearance should not last longer than an hour. If she is pushing for an hour call your vet immediately. After the first puppy is born she will take the ten to thirty minutes before the next one to eat the protective sac off of the puppy, lick it clean, and chew the umbilical chord off. She will eat the umbilical chord, please allow her to do this because it provide nutrients for her and gives her the energy needed to continue. Chewing off the umbilical chord also provides a bonding experience for the mother and puppy and she will get to know the puppy as hers by doing this. The female dog will then continue on with the process doing the same for each puppy.

Stage three - At this stage she will start pushing and contracting fully at the end to get the afterbirth out (she will also eat this).

Warning Signs

These warning signs mean that you must contact your local veterinary hospital:

  • Shivering uncontrollably
  • Pushes longer than an hour
  • More than 4 hours pass between puppies
  • Does not release afterbirth
  • She fails to deliver longer than 24 hours after temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fever is over 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit
  • If she is not producing enough milk. (You should see milk come out just by touching one of the nipples gently)

If any of these signs occur consider it an emergency and contact your vet.

YouTube Video of Dog Giving Birth


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