All You Need To Know About Birth Difficulties In Dogs


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When our four-legged friend is about to give birth to puppies, we tend to worry more than the dogs. Itโ€™s natural to be concerned as we want the whole birthing process to go smoothly. The majority of the time, she will be able to handle things by herself, but itโ€™s a good thing to keep an eye on her in case something was to go wrong. How will you know when your dog is facing difficulty in giving birth? Donโ€™t worry because here is everything you need to know about birth difficulties in dogs.

Stages of Labor

There are three stages of labor in dogs. In the first stage, the uterine begins to contract, the cervix relaxes and the water breaks. The female dog might become nervous, restless and will keep herself occupied in nesting.During the second stage, the puppies get pushed out by the contractions. The average time between the onset of stage two and delivery of the first puppy is less than four hours. The time between deliveries is usually 20 โ€“ 60 minutes and may take as long as 2 โ€“ 3 hours.In the third stage, the fetal membranes are delivered. The dog may alternate between the second stage and third stage when there are multiple deliveries to be made.


The medical term that is used for difficult birth is called dystocia. Veterinarians and breeders made the following generalizations about dystocia.

  • Fat females, older females, and those dogs that deliver a large number of puppies have the greater chance of dystocia.
  • Breeds with large heads and short-legged breeds tend to face more problems while giving birth.
  • Breeds with long legs and larger breeds have lesser problems when they are delivering puppies.SymptomsHere are a few common signs which suggest that the birthing process isnโ€™t proceeding normally.
  • Labor hasnโ€™t started within 68 days after breeding which is too late.
  • Labor started before 57 days after breeding which is too early.
  • Labor doesnโ€™t start within 24 hours after the rectal temperature drops below 99ยฐF (37.2ยฐC).
  • There is more than a 3-hour gap between each puppy.
  • Greenish black pigment that gets discharged from the vagina before the first puppy comes out by more than two hours.
  • Bloody discharge before the birth of the first offspring or in between births.
  • Extremely low number or no contractions which indicate uterine inertia.
  • The dog cries, trembles, hyperventilates or shows any sign of pain and constantly licks the vulva area while contractions are taking place.
  • Extreme lethargy or weakness.

Dogs that are facing dystocia or any of the above symptoms should be taken to the vet immediately. The vet will take care of the dog till all the puppies have been delivered and the dog is stable.If you are aware that your dog faces dystocia due to family history or medical conditions, ask your veterinarian about scheduling a cesarean section before your furry friend goes into labor. Donโ€™t worry too much if your dog is having difficulties in giving birth, your vet can take care of it.

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