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How to know when your dog is ready to give birth

Few things are more exciting than your pooch expecting puppies. Things will kick off when your dog goes into labour, and as an anxious owner, it’s natural to feel nervous about the event. Here’s how to know when your dog is ready to give birth and what to expect from the process:

Before she gives birth


Whether your dog’s pregnancy is accidental or intentional, you should take her to the vet the moment you suspect she’s expecting. A vet visit will give you an indication of how many puppies are due and when. It can also give you a heads up whether your dog might require a caesarean. Narrow hipped breeds like pugs, terriers and bulldogs often cannot give birth without assistance and might require monitoring. For most dogs, a check-up and deworming is sufficient for a healthy pregnancy.

Signs birth is imminent

  • Most dogs prefer to give birth alone and without interference, so it’s your job to make sure that she has a clean and comfortable space in which to do so, away from other pets in a quiet, private area.
  • When your dog is ready to give birth, her rectal temperature will drop. Your vet will have shown you how to take this temperature and what to look out for at your previous visits.
  • As she starts to give birth, don’t intervene unless she is too busy birthing another pup to tend to the one in front of her. Check that the newborn is responsive and has a clear airway – you dog will do the rest.

When to seek assistance


The labour and delivery process of dogs is much quicker than of humans. If your dog appears in distress or fails to produce a puppy a few hours after labour has started, you might want to call your vet’s emergency contact number. This is especially critical if she has birthed fewer puppies than anticipated or if she has not passed the placenta, signalling the end of the birth process.

Hopefully, the birth will be a routine and uneventful one. Be sure to clean any soiled bedding afterwards and ensure the new mom has something to eat and drink. Now you can start thinking of names for your new puppies!

For more information about your dog’s pregnancy, feel free to contact us anytime.

Related Tag: Melbourne Vet Hospitals