My dog ​​is in labor: how can I help?


Female dogs act very differently from people when they are in labor, so don't expect something loud to warn you that the puppies are coming.

As we understand that you have doubts about how to know if a dog is going to give birth, here are some indicative signs that the birth is about to happen:

  • Dig on the ground. Although not all bitches act in the same way, this will be a practically common behavior in almost all bitches, since digging into the ground will allow them to have a warm and cozy place in which to place all their puppies without fear of escape .
  • The dog expels milk through the breasts. When a female dog is about to give birth, it is very common for her to expel milk through her breasts, letting her see so she is ready to give birth.
  • Loss of appetite At the point near to give birth, the puppies will be moving a lot inside the mother and causing her nausea, making it possible for your dog to lose her appetite.
  • Vomiting. These can also be generated by the movements of the puppies. There is nothing to worry about, just let her rest and give her pampering so she doesn't feel lonely.
  • It will be relaxed. When the dog is about to give birth she will lie down, she will be very calm and it is possible that she exhales not very deep gasps. Having water nearby is important, as hydration is a key point at this important time.

How can you help your dog to give birth

When the time comes when you are able to identify all the signs that show that your dog is going to have its puppies, it is time to lend a hand. How can you do it?

  • Prepare a quiet place for her. A few weeks before preparing an intimate place where you can be quiet with a pleasant atmosphere and which, if you have other pets at home, they can not access. Show her the place and when you see any of the aforementioned signs, help her get there.
  • During the deliveryYou should not intervene unless necessary. The mother will expel the puppies, you should not worry if they leave the tail or head, both postures are normal. The mother will clean the placenta and chew the umbilical cord.

When your help is necessary

  • If for whatever reason the mother has not been able to break the bag in which each puppy is wrapped, you must intervene to do so. Break it gently and place the puppy back next to his mother.
  • Another time you can help is when the mother prepares to lick her pups to clean them of placenta You can collaborate if there are many animals cleaning them with a very soft and slightly damp cloth.
  • Dogs are born every 30 minutes approximately, but if you see that after that time none comes out and yet you are sure that there are more puppies inside, call the vet. If, on the contrary, after expelling all the animals the dog continues to have contractions, the presence of the veterinarian will also be necessary.
  • Watch the puppies. A puppy dies a few minutes or a few hours after birth is common. Mom can't do much to help him, but there you could help. If you notice that one of the babies is not breathing, clean his mouth and rub his body gently to see if you can make him live again. If it is not possible, remove it from the litter so that the mother does not eat it or that the other puppies come to smell it.

When everything is over, watch that the dog does not reject any of the puppies and feed them all equally. Keep giving the new mom good nutrients so she stays strong and can take care of her babies.

The puppies have arrived

When the pups are born, the mother cleans the remains of placenta. Owners can help with this task, with a clean towel. Yes the umbilical cord It does not come off spontaneously, it can be removed, carefully.

There are certain races, which are prone to have problems in childbirth, and females must have a cesarean section

Once the puppies are clean, you have to make sure that they suck to eat "colostrum" of breast milk, rich in nutrients, which provide puppies with useful defenses to fight disease. The bitch must have a comfortable cubicle where to give birth and raise their puppies. A quiet place, where the temperature is warm, and mother and puppies have privacy.

There are certain races, which are prone to have problems in childbirth, and females have to practice the Caesarean section. Especially in these cases, it is essential to consult with the veterinarian the possibility that the delivery takes place at home.

The main causes of labor problems they are the "dystocia" and the "uterine inertia".

The dog must have a comfortable cubicle where to give birth and raise her puppies

In the first case it is the impossibility of expelling one or more puppies for causes such as: the excessive size of the pups in proportion to the mother, the inadequate placement of the puppies at birth, fetal malformations, or fractures in the pelvis that The dog could have suffered. In any case, if the dog has difficulties in removing a puppy, it can be helped by carefully pulling the puppy.

Think and weigh the consequences of the dog having a litter and ask ourselves: Can we place the puppies with people who take good care of them?

Once the decision is made that the dog is pregnant, consult the veterinarian. In this way, pregnancy can be monitored, to check that mother and puppies are in good condition.

The veterinarian will have to determine if the delivery can occur at home or there may be complications and you have to go to the clinic.

During pregnancy and after delivery, the veterinarian will advise if the dog needs a diet based on specific feed.

How to help a dog give birth

Is your dog already in the last days of her pregnancy? You have to be prepared! Watch your dog for these symptoms to know when the birth is imminent:

  • In the last days of childbirth, The breasts of the dog are more pink and swollen, preparing milk for their puppies. Watch out! If blood comes out, they are too swollen or have a bruised color, your dog will probably have mastitis, consult your veterinarian.
  • The vulva will be more dilated.
  • Body temperature drops when labor is approaching. Take your bitch's temperature a couple of times a day to control it!
  • When childbirth is imminent, The dog feels nervous, restless, gasps and barks.
  • In addition, contractions will begin. When you see that your belly has contractions, bring it to the nest that you have prepared for childbirth and stay with it, but not too close. Bitches usually prefer privacy.
  • Usually, if all goes well, your dog will not need your intervention, she will be able to break the sack that protects the puppies and take care of herself. But if after a few minutes you don't get it, you'll have to help: Break the bag with clean hands, clean the liquid that remains in your snout and rub it so you start breathing.
  • Always remember to offer your dog and her puppies a Warm and comfortable environment, as well as very clean.

It is very normal that in litters, especially in the first ones, dead dogs are born or they die as soon as they are born. You must be prepared, it is likely that one of the puppies will happen.

Possible complications of canine delivery

Even if you know how to help a dog give birth, There are times when childbirth can be complicated. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should notify your veterinarian immediately:

  • Your dog has been in labor for more than thirty minutes but no puppy is born yet. They may be dead or poorly placed, so veterinary intervention is necessary.
  • A puppy has already been born but an hour has passed without the next being born. It is a relatively frequent problem called uterine inertia.
  • The dog expels blood or pus.
  • The bitch has muscle spasms or weakness, pale gums, hypothermia or signs of shock.

The most common is that the deliveries go without any problem, but you must bear in mind that in certain occasions this type of thing happens. Count on the help of a veterinarian, don't just face the birth of your pet!

Letting your pets get pregnant is a big responsibility. If you are not going to be willing to bear the expenses and responsibilities that it requires, it is better to sterilize your pet!

How does the birth of a female dog begin?

If we want to know how to help a dog to give birth, the first thing is to acquire the basic knowledge about childbirth in this species. The bitches have some gestations of about 62 days. Although it is not an exact science, we can expect that childbirth will be triggered around those days. A considerable delay should make us consult with the veterinarian. The follow-up that this professional makes of pregnancy and adequate care are factors that add up to achieve successful births.

It is very common that the deliveries of the bitches are triggered at night. This fact and the subtlety of the signs of its beginning make us often meet directly with the puppies already born. If we are interested how to know if a bitch is in labor We must watch the dog carefully, always without overwhelming her. Shortly before giving birth, stop eating, you are restless, you can scratch the ground and look for your nest. These signs will be the same in the birth of a first time dog as in that of an experienced one. Although externally we do not notice much more, the dog's body will begin to experience contractions that will become more intense until culminating in births.

How to know if my dog ​​has contractions?

During the delivery, the dog will feel contractions of two types. In a first phase, which may be unnoticed, the contractions will be dilating the exit of the uterus so that the puppies can reach the outside. Some bitches may manifest discomfort.

In the second phase the contractions intensify and at that time it is possible that we detect that the dog breathes with agitationHe gasps, licks his vulva, visibly pushes and even vomits, unequivocal signs that he is having contractions.

How to help a dog give birth if she can't?

The contractions culminate in the birth of the first puppy, which will be followed by his brothers. He time between dog and dog usually about 15 minutes, although it is not an exact science either and there may be a delay of up to two or more hours without implying pathology. In these cases, in which the delivery takes place in a normal way, as we have pointed out at the beginning of the article, our intervention will not be necessary, so we can just observe to ensure that the dog is well and no complications arise.

My dog ​​don't stop, what do I do?

If we observe that this time elapses and the dog does not stop, it may be because there is some difficulty that prevents a new birth, such as a bad position or a very large size of a puppy. Any of these factors will not allow her birth even if the dog pushes. In no case is it a problem that we should try to solve, much less can we leave it without attention. It is aurgency and if the veterinarian fails to reposition the puppy, he will have to perform a C-section.

Check the following article to know all the possible complications and to know how to act: "Problems in the birth of the dog".

My bitch is in labor and doesn't push

Another situation is that the dog is in labor and does not push. This can happen because the uterus is not able to generate effective contractions or because he is already tired after having made efforts for a prolonged period of time. This situation is also an urgency. The veterinarian can administer drugs to stimulate the work of the uterus but, if it does not work, the delivery will have to conclude with a C-section.

As we see, how to help a dog to give birth happens by calling the veterinarian in situations in which the dog is not able to do it on her own.

Other tips to help a dog give birth

To help a dog to give birth, in addition to watching to go quickly in case of any of the above problems, all we can do is provide a relaxed atmosphere and avoid any stressful stimulus for the dog.

On the other hand, in general, at birth, the pups continue inside the placenta and it is the mother who is responsible for breaking it so they can breathe. To do this, he usually eats it, so we should not be alarmed if we see this happening. Now, if the dog does not break the bag or has difficulty doing so, in these cases we can intervene. In fact, we must do so to prevent the puppy from dying, because if the bag does not break, he will not be able to breathe. So that, we will break the bag With the fingers, we will remove the puppy and cut the umbilical cord if the dog does not. If the puppy is born out of the bag, it is usual for the dog to eject almost immediately after the placenta. If it does not, we will have to visit the specialist.

Once the puppy is born, if the dog does not approach it so it can feed, we can bring it to one of its breasts to do so, as long as she allows us to. Although female dogs rarely let their human family approach or assist them in childbirth, it can sometimes happen, so it is essential to respect it at all times.

Can you give birth to a dog?

The deliveries are triggered, in normal conditions, when the puppies are about to leave and be able to survive outside. There is nothing that can force this maturation. Therefore, no home remedy will cause the dog to go into labor nor is it advisable to try. If we really want to know how to help a dog to give birth what will contribute most to it, it will be the creation of a relaxed environment where the hormones that must be activated during labor can function without being inhibited by stress.

A different situation is what we discussed in the previous section. When the dog is already in labor and the veterinarian administers a drug to reactivate it if it seems that the uterus is not doing its job. It is a veterinary procedure that only this professional can do.

How to know if my dog ​​has finished giving birth?

Finally, to know how to help a dog to give birth it is important that we know the signs that indicate that the birth has concluded. After the birth of all puppies we will see that the bitch stays calm. The little ones will also be relaxed and sucking. Approximately a couple of hours will have elapsed since the last puppy left and no birth effort can be seen in the dog.

An aid to confirm that all puppies were born is to have carried out the veterinary follow-up during pregnancy. That way, using diagnostic imaging, we may have a fairly accurate approximation of the number of fetuses the dog is brewing. Thus, we will only have to count to see if the pups born match our estimate.

It is also important that, if we get count the number of placentas, these correspond to the born puppies. A placenta that stays inside the uterus can cause problems in the puerperium. Of course, that the dog continues with efforts without the birth of any child, is restless or shows any other indication that something is wrong is a reason for veterinary consultation.

For more information, do not miss this article: "How long is the birth of a dog?".

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to help a dog to give birth?We recommend that you enter our section on Pregnancy Problems.

The dog in gestation

The first thing we should know if we live with a dog that is waiting for puppies is that the gestational period in this species lasts an average of 63 days. This will help us prepare the time of delivery.

To be a success and finish well for both the mother and the puppies it is very important that during pregnancy the dog receive adequate food for your new nutritional requirements. A menu for puppies is appropriate.

The dog should be properly dewormed externally and internally and vaccinated. If this has not been possible, we must go to the veterinarian to decide what actions can be performed. It is also important for this professional to follow us up to ensure that pregnancy is going well.

Preparing the birth

When the end of pregnancy is approaching we can perceive in the dog search behaviors. It is due to the nesting instinct, that is, to the need to find a quiet place sheltered from predators, called nest, to bring the puppies to the world.

We can help you by providing a bed in a place outside home transit. A box with blankets or towels covered by soaps can be> avoid the risk of drowning puppies.

In any case, we should know that it is possible for our dog to reject the option we propose and decide even for places that seem inappropriate to us, such as inside a closet. In these cases we can try to change your mind, always without forcing it, or transfer it once it has given birth.

The importance of stress

In order for the birth to begin and pass normally, the dog's organism must secrete a series of hormones that are what start the contractions. These hormones, which include oxytocin, need the dog be calm to flow and are inhibited in stressful situations.

Therefore it is essential not to overwhelm the dog. Although childbirth and puppies arouse the attention of adults and children, the welfare of the family must prevail. Thus, we will avoid manipulating the dog and the litter, at least until the puppies begin to interact with the environment, towards 3-4 weeks of life.

And, just as tranquility is essential during childbirth, for breastfeeding it is also essential that the dog secrete oxytocin. This hormone promotes the exit of milk. A stressed dog, even if she has milk, will have difficulty breastfeeding.

The phases of childbirth

Shortly before delivery, it is common for us to notice our restless dog. Stop eating and scratch the floor as if looking for something. They are signs that childbirth is coming. It is time to make sure that the nest is prepared, that nothing disturbs the dog and that we have the veterinary emergency telephone number at hand, just in case.

Childbirth, which is usually nocturnal, It begins with a phase of contractions that usually goes unnoticed. It is used to prepare the birth canal for the puppies to leave. When the contractions intensify we are already in the second phase. The dog will gasp, we will notice that it is strong and some may vomit.

From that moment the dog will go into expulsion and the puppies will begin to be born one by one. The third phase consists in the expulsion of the placenta. The duration of labor is variable. They can last about 12 hours. Puppies are born at intervals of 15 minutes to 2 hours. The dog cleans them, eats the placentas and cuts the umbilical cords.

Warning signs

The best help we can give a dog when giving birth is to provide peace and comfort. But this does not imply that we ignore it. You have to control that everything runs normally.

If we see signs such as the following, it is essential to immediately contact the veterinarian:

    The dog makes efforts ev> Purulent, greenish or vaginal bleeding secretions appear. We see that a puppy has got stuck in the vulva. We suspect that some child is still to be born. More than 63 days have passed and labor has not begun. Fever. General weakness

Caesarean section

Some of the warning signs we have described are going to end in caesarean section. In addition, in bitches of brachycephalic or very small breeds such as Chihuahuas, we should know that births are usually due to this surgery.

The anatomical modifications that these specimens have undergone have made the head of the puppies larger than the birth canal, making natural births impossible. Veterinary follow-up in these cases is mandatory.

Does a dog have to have puppies?

Finally, although this idea still circulates, bitches do not have to have any litter to be happy, neither physically nor psychologically. Taking into account the high number of abandoned and abused animals, the sterilization of our dogs is part of responsible ownership.

Carlson and Giffin (2002): Practical manual of canine veterinary medicine. Madrid: Editorial el Drac.