When our dogs are pregnant and we have never been in a similar situation, we tend to feel a bit lost when it comes to giving birth. Today we are going to tell you some very specific basic things you need to know if your dog becomes pregnant.

The first thing you should know is that when the time approaches, there is a change in their behaviour:

  • They start to create a nest
  • They pant
  • Sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Their body temperature decreases 12 hours before the birth. In small breeds it reaches 35ºC, in medium breeds 36ºC and in large breeds 37ºC.

What should we do?
At this time we recommend that owners measure rectal temperature 3 times a day in the week before the estimated due date. 
And once you notice that she is going into labour, you should leave food and water freely available.

Now let’s learn a little more about the stages of labour. What are they?

First phase: Preparation, dilation.  

It lasts from 6-12 hours, up to 36 hours in first-time mothers. During this phase there is gasping, trembling and occasionally vomiting. However, sometimes the symptoms are not so obvious.

Second phase: Expulsive. 

Lasts about 30 minutes of active pushing per puppy. It begins when the first pup passes through the birth canal. 
In this phase the mother’s temperature begins to stabilise.
Each puppy has an amniotic sac and the mother should break it quickly and clean the puppy.
It is important to know that 60-70% of puppies are born in an anterior position, 30-40% in a posterior position. Do not panic.
Other things to keep in mind: 
The maximum time between puppies is 3 hours.
The total time between the first and last puppy should never be more than 24 hours.

Third phase: Placental expulsion.

We must check the elimination of placenta per puppy. In addition, we will not allow the mother to eat all the placentas as this may cause her discomfort and she may end up vomiting or having diarrhoea.

 

Finally, we would like to let you know that sometimes dystocia occurs, that is to say, labour that does not proceed normally. How do we know if a caesarean section is necessary?

  • When the vaginal discharge is greenish/blackish at term without expulsion of puppies.
  • When it is more than 61 days after copulation and the body temperature is less than 37ºC.
  • When more than 24 hours elapse in the first phase, but without expulsion.
  • When more than 3 hours pass between pups and/or when the majority of the litter is still in the uterus.

In any case, when in doubt, it is always advisable to consult your vet.