How To Know When Dog Is In Labor

How To Know When Dog Is In Labor

Is your dog pregnant? If so, it’s very important for you to be able to recognize the signs of a dog in labor. When your dog goes into labor, you need to be prepared if something unexpected happens or if you have questions for your vet in Highland, Westville, or Mishawaka, IN.

What Materials Do You Need for When Your Dog Goes into Labor?

Below are some essential items you’ll need for when your dog goes into labor:

  • Whelping box
  • Blanket
  • Heat lamp
  • Bulb syringe
  • Baby scale in ounces
  • Canine milk replacement
  • Canine bottle feeder
  • Thermometer
  • Your veterinarian’s phone number

Being prepared with the supplies you may need as well as the number for your regular veterinarian and the nearest emergency vet in Highland, Westville, or Mishawaka, IN will help make the process go as smoothly as possible for both you and your dog.

What are the Signs of a Dog in Labor?

Now that you know some of the essential things you’ll need for the occasion, it’s also important to know the signs of a dog in labor so that you’ll know when the process begins.

Canine pregnancy typically lasts for fifty-six to sixty-nine days. It would be best if you began to look for signs of labor around day forty-nine.

Below are 10 common signs of a dog in labor:

  • Nesting
  • Her Body Temperature Drops Below 100 Degrees
  • She May Want You Around More
  • She May Want You Around Less
  • Vomiting
  • Hardened Abdomen
  • Incessant Licking of the Genital Area
  • Enlargement of Mammary Glands
  • Refusal to Eat
  • Shivering

When You Should Call an Emergency Vet During the Signs of a Dog in Labor

There may be something wrong with your dog’s birthing process, and you are not sure what to do. This situation is where your vet comes in. If anything out of the ordinary occurs when your pet is experiencing the signs of a dog in labor, do not be afraid to call the veterinarian or emergency vet, depending on the situation and the time of day.

General Practice & Preventative Medicine – Theriogenology

Giving birth can be a frightening, confusing and painful experience for both the dog and the owner. Knowing and understanding normal labor and delivery, as well as proper pregnancy care, can help make the process go more smoothly and help you know what is normal and when it is time to get the veterinarian involved.


From learning how to build a nest to knowing what equipment to keep on standby, we’ve listed how to prepare your dog for labour below. Your dog’s labour should go smoothly, but it’s useful to have help on hand to keep them calm and in case your dog runs into any complications.


In the bitch, a female dog, gestation lasts 63 days. Knowing the exact time of conception, however, is difficult since a bitch can be receptive to the male before and after ovulation. For this reason, the time from breeding to delivery is usually somewhere between 58 to 70 days. Your veterinarian can help narrow this time frame by examining the cells of the vaginal wall.


Once pregnancy is confirmed, proper care of the mother-to-be is very important. Before breeding, make sure she is up to date on all her vaccinations. It is not recommended to vaccinate your dog during pregnancy. Also, make sure she is dewormed and tests negative for a bacteria known as Brucella. This bacteria can cause abortion in dogs and is also contagious to people.


As the time of delivery approaches, you may want to make a whelping box to provide a safe and clean area for your dog to deliver. Whelping boxes are intended to be easily accessed by the mother but escape proof for the new arrivals. You can use wood, Formica or any building material that is easy to clean.


As the time of delivery approaches, twice daily monitoring of the bitch’s body temperature will help alert you to the impending birth. About 24 hours before the beginning of labor, there will be a temporary drop in the body temperature. Normal temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Twenty-four hours prior to labor, the temperature can drop to 98 to 99 F.

10 signs of dog labour to look out for

When your dog is in labour, you’ll likely notice a drop in their temperature, restlessness, panting, nesting behaviour, shivering and more. There are different stages to their labour but we have more details on this below to help you out.

You Saw the Puppies’ Skeletons on an X-ray

This might not seem like an obvious sign, but unlike humans, pups are more than one-third of the way through their gestation before you can confirm a pregnancy. Typically, dogs are considered full term at 63 days, and an ultrasound can detect the pregnancy at 25 days, according to Kelly Dunham, DVM, the Indevets area medical director for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

However, she explains not all veterinary hospitals may be equipped to perform ultrasounds, and a referral may be needed. “By day 45 of pregnancy, the puppies’ skeletons can be seen on radiographs,” she continues. “This is typically a more affordable, accessible, and reliable method to determine the puppy count.”


It’s an exciting time with your dog is pregnant. New puppies are on their way, and you will have the opportunity to watch your gal blossom into a mother. However, because our sweet dogs can’t communicate how they’re feeling with words, it can be difficult to pinpoint when the pups will arrive. Though it’s not always straightforward to detect, there are some signs a dog is going into labor soon, and as her parent, it’s essential to be on the lookout for them.


1. How long does a dog stay in labor?

A dog can stay in labor for 6 to 12 hours during stage I labor. If your dog has not started whelping within 24 hours after beginning stage I labor, veterinary assistance is recommended.

2. What should I do if my dog is in labor?

During labor, make sure your dog is comfortable and has a quiet, secluded area to give birth. Keep an eye on her body temperature, behavior, and signs of distress. If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian immediately.

3. When should I call an emergency vet during my dog’s labor?

You should call an emergency vet if there have been problems with your dog having puppies in the past, if it has been more than twenty-four hours since the beginning of labor and it is still occurring, or if your dog is in severe distress or pain.

4. What should I do if my dog is not eating during labor?

It is normal for dogs to refuse to eat before they go into labor. Just make sure she remains hydrated during this time. If you are concerned, contact your veterinarian for advice.

5. How can I help my dog during labor?

Provide a comfortable and quiet space for your dog to give birth. Keep her warm and offer support if she needs it. Monitor her closely and be prepared to contact your veterinarian if needed.

6. What should I do if my dog is shivering during labor?

Shivering can be a sign of pain or discomfort. Comfort your dog by gently touching her and reassuring her. If the shivering persists or if you notice any other concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian for guidance.

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