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Is My Pregnant Dog Approaching Labor? Signs & What to Expect


Dear VetBabble: Is My Pregnant Dog Going into Labor Soon?

My dog is on her 56th day of pregnancy and her temperature is at 98.3°F. Is she going into labor anytime soon? I want to make sure I’m prepared for the arrival of her puppies.

Understanding Pregnancy in Dogs

Firstly, congratulations on your dog’s pregnancy! Before diving into answering your question, let’s go through a brief overview of pregnancy in dogs. A dog’s gestation period varies between 58 to 72 days, with the average being around 63 days. During this time, your dog will undergo physical and behavioral changes. It’s essential to monitor her health and ensure she is comfortable throughout the process.

Recognizing Signs of Labor in Dogs

Now, to address your main concern about whether your dog is going into labor soon, let’s discuss the signs of labor in dogs. Here are some of the common indicators:

  • Drop in rectal temperature: As you mentioned, your dog’s temperature has dropped to 98.3°F. In general, a dog’s temperature falls below 100°F within 24 hours before labor begins. However, make sure this is a rectal temperature reading, as other methods may result in inaccurate readings. To confirm, you can check her temperature again after she goes #2 to ensure it wasn’t falsely low due to feces in the lower colon.
  • Nesting behavior: Your dog may start preparing a comfortable and safe space for her puppies, which is a sign that labor is near.
  • Loss of appetite: Some dogs may lose interest in food as they get closer to labor.
  • Behavior changes: Your dog might become more clingy, restless, or anxious as labor approaches.

Keep in mind that your dog is only on her 56th day of pregnancy, so it’s a tad early for her to go into labor. However, each pregnancy is unique and her labor may begin sooner than the average gestation period.

Caring for Your Pregnant Dog and Preparing for Puppies

As an expectant pet parent, it’s important to properly care for your pregnant dog and be prepared for her labor. Aside from monitoring her health, ensure she has a comfortable and safe environment to give birth. Providing a suitable whelping box with clean bedding is essential.

Additionally, it’s crucial to educate yourself on potential complications and signs of distress during labor. If your dog shows any signs of prolonged labor, excessive bleeding, or severe pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Once your dog’s puppies arrive, you’ll need to plan for their growth and upkeep. You may find our puppy growth calculator helpful in estimating their adult size.

Remember, the wellbeing of your pets is a priority. Continue monitoring your dog’s condition and don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions. Best of luck with the arrival of her puppies, and we hope this information has been helpful!

If you have any cat-related questions, feel free to check our resources on pregnancy in cats or any other relevant topics. Take care!

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