Pregnant dog in labor

Our question this week was:

My dog is pregnant and yesterday was day 64. She is panting really heavily. She has a whelping box in my room but she keeps walking into the kitchen and sitting by me. I think she is in labor. What should I do?


Shandelle McKay


Hi – thanks for your email. It certainly sounds like your dog could be in labor. As you know, The average canine pregnancy lasts approximately 64 to 66 days. We have an article on labor and I'll share some information from that article that might be helpful:

Labor consists of three different stages.

Stage I begins with the first contractions of the uterus and ends when the cervix is completely open and ready for puppies to pass out through the birth canal. Owners cannot usually see the contractions, but your dog may exhibit panting, restlessness, vomiting, anorexia (loss of appetite) and nesting behavior. Stage I may last from 6 to 24 hours. It's best to keep the environment quiet for your dog so as not to further excite her. Little else can be done for these completely natural events of whelping.

Stages II and III alternate with one another: Stage II ends with the delivery of a pup, whereas Stage III ends with the expulsion of the pup's placenta. It may take between 15 minutes and 4 hours between the deliveries of one pup and his placenta and the next. You shouldn't be concerned unless pups have not passed for longer than 4 hours or if your dog has been actively straining to deliver a pup longer than 30 minutes with no success. Contact your veterinarian or your local emergency hospital immediately should this occur.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is "Normal Labor and Delivery in Dogs" and " Pregnancy, Birthing and Newborn Puppy Care".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

P.S. If you like, I'd love to read about your experience though the entire labor and delivery process and share it with our readers!

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