Whelping Puppies Stages of Puppy Birth

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Whelping Puppies Stages of Puppy Birth

by Charles Schulze

The average pregnancy timeline for dogs is 63 days. You should start taking your dog's temperature around day 56 from the first successful breeding attempt. Do this at least once in the morning and again at night. The normal temp is 100-102 degrees. Once this drops to about 98 degrees, your dog is within 24 hours of whelping her puppies. We suggest having your pregnant dog sleep in her whelping box or other preferred area for about a week before her due date. This will get her used to being there so she is not as uncomfortable when the time comes. This is also helpful in case she delivers in the middle of the night.

Labor Stage I

When she reaches this point your dog will probably stop eating within the final 24 hours before whelping her litter. She will want you close by and may follow you around. The experienced dam may stay in the whelping box, knowing her puppies are about to be born. A mucus discharge may be visible on her vulva area. She will move around and start to pant, trying to get comfortable as her contractions begin to start. This stage can last a few hours.

Labor Stage II

Your dog will be panting heavier now, may display a digging/nesting behavior looking for a place to whelp, will be licking her vulva frequently and rolling around or pacing back and forth. She will also start to shiver and will start having mild contractions. This stage is much quicker than the first unless complications arise.

Labor Stage III

Your dog will display extreme shivering now. Her contractions will be hard and more frequent. This will be very noticeable. As she gets closer to whelping you should be able to see a big discharge of fluid before the first puppy presents. It could be the water breaking from the first puppy OR from her cervical mucous plug passing. During contractions many dogs remain silent but it is not uncommon for them to make grunting noises as they happen. When your dog is ready to whelp she will sit up, squat or lay on her side. This is when the first puppy is moving into the birth canal and is ready to present. You will notice a clear sac that the puppy is encased in. It may be visible for up to an hour before coming all the way out, protruding further with each contraction (This varies by breed). This sac may rupture as it passes or the puppy & placenta may be pushed out together with the puppy still encased. Many times the puppy comes out and the placenta remains until further contractions. Either way it is vital remove the sac and clear the newborn's airway from any fluids to prevent trauma!

Okay, so the first puppy is born. What now?

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This Puppy Whelping article comes from our knowledge of breeding Miniature Australian Shepherds. You can see our puppies on our Galena Aussies website Mini Australian Shepherds

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