Preparing for labor is an exciting and important process, both for the owner of the dog or for his pet, and knowing the signs of labor in dogs helps you create the appropriate conditions for the moment of birth and the arrival of the puppies safely.
labor in dogs is in most cases easy and does not require human intervention. Your role in the birth process is to help only if necessary
In this article, the most important symptoms of the day of birth in dogs in addition to many details that must be known to care for dogs during pregnancy
The main symptoms of labor in dogs:
- The female gradually prepares for labor and due to the increase in intra-abdominal pressure, she suffers from slight discomfort and pain, which leads to disturbance of her behavior.
- The nearer the time of labor in dogs, the more obvious the signs are:
- 1-1.5 weeks before birth:
- Puppies approach the birth canal and at the same time, the abdomen descends, and depressions appear on the sides below the ribs. If you look at the back of your pet from above, it appears thinner – the rounded sides are no longer visible.
- In females who have already given birth, fluid may be secreted from the nipples, which is an important indicator of the onset of the signs of labor in dogs.
- 2-3 days before delivery:
- Relax the ligaments of the sacroiliac joint and the pelvis.
- The female licking the vulva and nipples most of the time.
- The day before the birth:
- One of the main signs of labor in dogs is a decrease in the rectal temperature (usually 38.5 degrees Celsius).
- In dogs of large and giant breeds, it drops to 37 degrees Celsius, and in small breeds, it drops to 36 degrees Celsius. Body temperature often returns to normal soon after birth.
What are the prenatal preparations for dogs?
- Prepare the birth box:
- About a week before labor starts for your dog, prepare the birth box in a quiet, private place where your dog can give birth.
- Help your dog to feel comfortable by setting up a warm box in an area away from other pets.
- A great place is a sturdy cardboard box or a children’s pool furnished with old clean towels or blankets.
- It should be located far from windows and doors
- Choose a place away from children or family gatherings, as all of this can increase your dog’s tension and turmoil.
- Prepare the following components:
- Clean and dry pieces of cloth
- A heating pad or plastic bottles with warm water
- Alcohol, strong strands
- Syringe or small syringe
- Sharp scissors
- Phone number of the nearest veterinarian or veterinary hospital
Stages of labor in dogs:
- The first stage:
- It is 12-30 hours before the start of labor in dogs, and the rectal temperature of the mother dog drops to 36.7 ° – 37.8 ° Celsius, and this decrease lasts for a few hours only, so you should take the dog’s temperature three times a day before 10 to 14 Approximately one day before the expected due date.
- During this stage; A pregnant bitch will start nesting, and you will notice white, gelatinous vaginal secretions for up to 48 hours before birth, and pay attention; If the vaginal secretions mix with some blood, this is one of the signs of labor in dogs.
- The pregnant dog at this stage shows signs such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain and cramps, and signs of discomfort and anxiety.
- The first stage lasts about 6-12 hours, and you must take care of the pregnant dog during this time
- The second stage:
- It is the real birth and labor stage of labor in dogs, and the most important signs of it are abdominal cramps for about 10-30 minutes. You usually see the amniotic sac coming out, then about three contractions and the puppy comes out.
- Watch out; If the amniotic sac ruptures and fluid leaks out before the puppy comes out, and you notice vaginal dryness, the mother may need help.
- The mother bitch removes the amniotic sac around the puppies by licking it. If it does not, you must intervene and help.
- The third stage:
- directly traces the second stage of labor in dogs; This is the stage in which the placenta comes out, and then the uterus takes a short break that ranges from 10 minutes to an hour
- On average, the mother bitch gives birth to another puppy every 30 minutes or so, and the average total birth time is around 6-12 hours.
Dystocia in dogs
- Dystocia is a common term for humans and animals and has different causes associated with the mother or fetus and can occur at any stage of birth
- And one of the biggest factors causing this is the wrong position of the fetus in the mother’s uterus or the weakness of the mother, which affects the contractions in the mother’s uterus and is called the weakness of the uterine muscles
- Some problems or complications may occur, and it is important for dog owners to know the warning signs of labor complications, which include:
- If the dog suffers from very severe pain during childbirth, you should consult a veterinarian.
- If more than two hours have passed between the birth of each puppy, or if the pregnant dog suffers from strong contractions that last more than 45 minutes without giving birth, contact your veterinarian.
- Shivering is a warning sign of a dangerous complication that could endanger both dogs and puppies.
- It is normal for dogs to secrete a dark green or bloody fluid after the first puppy, but if this occurs before the first puppy, contact your doctor.
- Some dogs are very late in giving birth, but if the pregnant bitch shows no signs of giving birth after 64 days of the last mating, you should contact your doctor to find out if there is a problem.
Causes of dystocia in dogs
The causes are divided into causes related to the mother and causes related to the fetus
- Fetal related causes:
- Large fetus
- The wrong position of the fetus
- Fetal death
- Causes related to the mother:
- Cessation of uterine contractions
- Weak uterine contractions
- Narrowing of the cervix
- Previous injuries to the pelvic bone, which led to the change in the shape of the cervix
- Abnormalities in the vaginal opening
- Lack of laxative synovial fluid for the birth process
- Torsion of the uterus
- Bursting of the uterus
- Uterine tumors and infections in the cervix that made the cervix narrow
- Reasons to increase the likelihood of dystocia
- the age of the animal
- Types of dogs (small dogs are accompanied by respiratory symptoms that prevent normal birth) – brachiocephalic dogs
- Excessive weight gain
- The lack of a suitable and quiet environment for the children, or the change of the environment in which the dog or cat lived
- Symptoms of previous dystocia
Diagnosis of dystocia in dogs
- You must visit your veterinarian directly when any of the aforementioned symptoms appear, and your doctor will conduct a comprehensive examination of your animal and discuss the general health condition of your animal to find out any factors that led to the birth defect and try to avoid them
- Your doctor will do some necessary tests, such as blood picture, kidney function, protein in the blood, sugar, calcium and progesterone (the birth hormone)
- Make diagnostic rays and sonar to know the general condition of the fetuses and place them to assess the position and measure the heart rate
How to protect from dystocia in dogs
- Continuous follow-up of the condition of the fetus and pain throughout the period of labor in dogs
- Take into account the types of dog, as some types are more prone to dystocia
- Taking care of proper nutrition for the dog during pregnancy, which must be discussed with your doctor
- Direct communication with your veterinarian when the first symptoms of labor appear
In the end, after knowing the signs of labor in dogs and the stages of labor in dogs in detail, remember that appropriate veterinary care is the prerogative of the veterinarian, so do not neglect his advice regarding your pets.