It can be challenging to determine when a dog is going into labor. There are often few clear signs until the process is well underway. If you think your dog might be ready to give birth, it is important to monitor her closely and call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns. Educating yourself on what to look for is also a good idea. And this article is here to teach you all the signs your dog is going into labor soon!
The Process Of Labor In Dogs
Understanding the labor process in dogs is essential for pet owners to care for their four-legged friends properly. There are usually three stages of labor: prodromal, active stage, and delivery. The first stage is the prodromal phase, lasting anywhere from 1-2 days but rarely more than 3. A twitch around the tail area characterizes this stage to help soften the pelvic ligaments and allow for expansion.
Then comes the active stage lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, during which dogs pant regularly, pace about, show signs of distress and slowed breathing, vomit occasionally, and display bouts of shivering.
Eventually, pups will deliver through contractions that occur every 10–15 minutes. After birth, the mother and pups should receive care throughout feeding time as exhaustion may set in and calls for short naps between meals.
Signs Your Dog Is Going into Labor Soon
Depending on your dog, they may show few signs that they are going into labor until the process has already begun. However, there are some indications to look for that may be subtle signs they are getting ready to deliver some puppies! Here are a few to watch out for:
Loss Of Appetite
A loss of appetite is one of the biggest changes in your dog that may mean labor is on the horizon. A loss of appetite can happen anywhere from one day to a week before giving birth. The mother’s body tells her to reserve her energy for delivery, reducing her interest in food.
During this time, try feeding your pregnant dog smaller meals more frequently, but make sure she still gets enough nutritious ingredients like protein, fats, and carbohydrates that she needs for birthing. You can also provide her with supplements like puppy milk replacers to help meet her nutritional needs.
Another sign that your dog might be preparing for labor is an increase in urination. As the puppies grow, they push down on the bladder and cause urine to flow more frequently. You may also notice stronger-smelling urine than normal. This is an ordinary sign of your dog’s pregnancy, but if you see that she starts leaking urine or has accidents in the house when she never did before, it could indicate that labor may start soon.
Typically this will start to happen a few days before delivery and may be accompanied by other symptoms like restlessness and panting. Encourage your dog to drink plenty of water to make her more comfortable. You may also want to keep a towel or old sheets handy if she starts leaking urine before the delivery arrives so you can quickly clean up any messes.
A Drop In Temperature
A decrease in your dog’s body temperature is one of the earliest indicators that she’s getting ready to give birth. Temperature measurements are taken rectally with a thermometer to get accurate readings, so a vet or someone with experience in animal labor and delivery should do this. The average body temperature for dogs ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you notice your pup dropping below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it could mean labor is imminent.
Even though a decrease in body temperature may signal contractions are around the corner, other cues may follow before she gives birth. Therefore, it is vital to keep an eye on your pregnant pet just in case things start happening more quickly than expected!
Another common sign that your beloved pup may soon start delivering is an increase in restlessness. Dogs about to give birth will often become fussy and unable to settle down, pacing around their bed or sleeping area. This can happen anywhere from 12 hours to a full day before labor begins. Pay close attention to identify the onset of these exciting changes and ensure you prepare for your furry family member’s upcoming big day.
They might also show increased interest in nesting, which means looking for a safe spot to deliver their pups. This may involve hiding under beds or blankets or looking for cozy nooks around your home where they feel comfortable and secure.
Enlarged Mammary Glands
While the period up to labor can vary from dog to dog, enlarged mammary glands indicate that birthing is soon to begin. So paying attention to your dog’s changed nipples can give you a heads-up as to when she’s likely going into labor, and you should prepare in case things progress quickly.
If you notice that she has swollen nipples or if there is a milky substance leaking out of them, this could be a sign that contractions are just around the corner. Be sure to have a warm, comfortable spot available for your dog to deliver her puppies, along with plenty of clean towels and any medications or supplements you might need.
Just before labor begins, your dog may experience vaginal discharge that ranges in color from red to brown or clear. This is a typical sign of impending labor and should not be cause for alarm; however, if you notice any blood or fluid leaking out that appears greenish, foul-smelling, or starts to smell sweet, this could be a sign of infection or other complications. Therefore, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.
However, suppose the discharge is accompanied by strong contractions that last longer than a minute and occur every few minutes. In that case, this could indicate that labor has already begun. At this point, it’s essential to keep your dog calm and comfortable so she can focus on delivering her pups without interruption or stress.
Know The Signs That Your Dog Is Going Into Labor Soon!
If you notice any of the above signs, it may mean that your dog is going into labor soon. And while some are indicators that labor could begin in the next day or so, others may be signs that labor is already in progress. That is why it is a good idea to have the necessary supplies, such as clean towels and a warm, comfortable place for your dog to deliver her puppies, on hand and prepared. Then, with careful monitoring and plenty of love and support, you can help ensure that your dog has a safe and healthy delivery.