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Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor

Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor

Summary: So your dog is nearing the end of her pregnancy. You’re anxiously wondering what the signs of dog labor are. Now is a great time to understand the Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor which we cover in this article. (Disclaimer: This article contains information that is strictly the expert opinion of personnel or other professional breeders based on their experience. It should not be substituted for a veterinarian’s expert advice.)

What are a Dog’s Labor Signs? (Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor)

  1. Within a day or so before whelping puppies, the pregnant dog will generally stop eating.
  2. The nesting process generally will begin with her scratching incessantly at the bottom of the whelping box.
  3. Your dog may try to hide in dark places like under a bed or below your deck in your backyard. They like quiet and safe places for whelping. If this happens, try to move them back to their whelping box so you can monitor the puppy delivery and final stages of labor.
  4. Contractions are usually painful and confusing for a dog. Sometimes you may here a yelp or a whine when she is experiencing a contraction.
  5. 2 weeks before the dog’s due date, check her temperature each day and when it drops below 100 degrees you should be having puppies within 24 hours.
  6. The dog will be restless and usually scratching trying to find a suitable place to have her puppies.
  7. She’ll frequently need to take care of business. This will help her not to have to leave her puppies to potty during whelping.
  8. Diarrhea
  9. Vomiting
  10. The breaking of the water bag. Many people never notice this with their dog in labor though.

In Summary

Occasionally, there are no symptoms at all to dog labor. That is why it is so important to know when your pregnant dog was bred. You can use our Dog Pregnancy Calculator to determine the approximate puppy whelping date. We hope being aware of the Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor will help you have a successful birthing experience with your dog and puppies.

If you are reading this article well in advance of the due date for your dog, we have several product suggestions from Amazon we would recommend for helping the whelping process go smoothly. A great whelping box alternative would be the Iris Plastic 4-Panel Dog Pen (for smaller breed dogs of course). You can easily place an EZwhelp Washable Whelping Pad in the bottom of the area due to its size. If you get a larger pen, then make sure to size the whelping pad appropriately. The pad fits the IRIS 4-panel pen closely. It also will keep the puppies contained in a smaller area. A Stethoscope is also a very nice addition to a breeders collection, along with an Electronic Baby Scale for monitoring puppy development (the Salter scale from Amazon is the one we’d recommend for its price and ability to accurately read even with movement. Also, the contoured edges will keep your puppies contained as they develop), Forceps, and a Pet-Temp Instant Ear Thermometer. This thermometer can take a dog’s temperature within one second! A dog breeder necessity!

If you have further comments or questions about ‘Top 10 Signs of Dog Labor’, feel free to visit our Forums, Use our ‘Ask a Breeder a Question Link’ or make a Comment on this article below.


  • my dog is pregnant and 3 days ago she acted like she was going to have the pups and now she doesnt look like shes pregnant and hasnt had any and her breath smells horrible

  • Last night around 11pm my dogs temp dropped to 98.5. I have been taking her temp every 2 hours. Her temp now is 99.0? Is she still in labor?

  • I was raised in a family with dog breeders so it has always been a interest of mine. Well my 1st litter born was last year and My female temp didnt move, she didnt nest, she didnt stop eating, but she did whine thats how I knew she was in labor she started whining and pacing she was in labor for 7 hours before her water broke and about 35 min after that the first pup was out and each pup came in good time, but the 2nd pup was about hour but she wasnt trying to push she did perfect. My point is every dog is different and the process of dog labor varies each time its best to know your dog, know her cycle, know her background it really helps.