Dog Birthing 101

Dogs have a 64 day gestation cycle. We recommend regular pregnancy checks with your veterinarian. Some of the stages of the birthing process are:

Stage 1 – 12-36 hours before the birth, your dog’s temperature will drop about 2 degrees F (97-98 degrees F) then return to normal – make sure you take the dog’s temperature 3-4 times a day starting 3 days before the due date

Stage 2 – The dog will begin to nest, tremble and possibly vomit – this stage can last 6 to 12 hours (up to 36 hours if it’s the first litter)

Stage 3 – The sac will rupture – the first puppy should come out in less than 2 hours (40% of the time a puppy will be posterior or breach)

Stage 4 – Puppies usually arrive with about 3-15 minutes in between

Stage 5 – The delivery of the placenta (greenish-black blood pocket) – the number of placentas should EQUAL the number of puppies, and this can last up to 4 hours!

Advice during the process:

Encourage the new puppies to nurse while the other puppies are still being delivered. This causes mom to release more oxytocin which encourages uterine contractions

Do NOT encourage mom to eat the placenta which causes severe diarrhea

Do NOT move a stressed mom unless absolutely necessary!

Only assist if:

  • There is no puppy within 4 hours of the sac rupture
  • There is more than 2 hours between puppies
  • The mother does not immediately rupture the puppy’s sac – this is how the puppy will take its first breath

Consult for tips and 24 hour consult services

If you need assistance, call your local 24 hour emergency hospital before intervening. Visit our Belle Mead Animal Hospital Emergency website page for some suggestions.