Understanding details around how dogs give birth is incredibly important if you have a pregnant pup or plan on becoming a responsible breeder. Blood can be one of the most confusing aspects of the birthing process since we need to be able to tell the difference between what normal bleeding is and what unhealthy bleeding is.
When a dog gives birth, there will be a bit of fluid as well as some bloody discharge throughout the whelping process. In order to understand the details around this experience and define what is an abnormal amount of discharge, read on to learn more!
Do Dogs Bleed Before Giving Birth?
A pregnant dog will sometimes release a few drops of blood alongside a large amount of additional clear fluids as her cervix opens up and she begins the birthing process. This is a completely natural part of giving birth, so it’s important not to be concerned if your pup experiences this type of discharge before labor even start.
However, signs that you should be quickly aware of include more blood (such as a steady stream of blood) or a lack of fluid discharge and only blood. If you notice a serious amount of blood coming from your dog, call the vet immediately as this may mean that she’s experiencing uterine hemorrhage.
Uterine Hemorrhage in Dogs During Labor and Delivery
A uterine hemorrhage is when a dog’s uterus begins to bleed internally during the birthing process, and this can happen for a few different reasons. Although it is rare in dogs (occurring only 0.14% of the time), uterine hemorrhage may be caused by the cervix not opening properly, the placenta detaching from the uterine wall too early, or a uterine rupture.
The only way to be able to identify the cause of a dog’s uterine hemorrhage is by having an X-ray done on her uterus after the birthing process.
While it is possible for pregnant dogs to experience uterine hemorrhaging before labor even starts, there is a much higher risk of it occurring during the actual birthing process. If your dog is bleeding excessively from her vagina right before giving birth, chances are she’s experiencing uterine hemorrhage.
When dogs experience uterine hemorrhages, it’s important to always seek help from a veterinarian and to quickly get medical attention in order to avoid the possibility of death.
Prevention and Treatment of Uterine Hemorrhage During Labor & Delivery
If you know your dog is pregnant and will be giving birth soon, make sure she’s getting all of the required nutrients to ensure a healthy pup. This will help to ensure that the dog is hormonally and physically prepared for the birthing process ahead.
She will also need plenty of rest and to be in a low-stress environment during her pregnancy.
In order to prevent uterine hemorrhaging from occurring during labor and delivery, watch out for signs that this might happen such as excessive blood loss prior to whelping or having no fluid discharge at all.
In order to treat uterine hemorrhaging, it’s important to prevent your dog from straining during labor and delivery as this can lead to the problem getting worse. A veterinarian will usually monitor a pregnant pup closely in order to provide IV fluids while also administering medications that have been proven effective at stopping bleeding. If you believe that your dog is experiencing uterine hemorrhaging, you should bring them to a veterinarian immediately.
What Are the First Signs of a Dog Giving Labor?
She may show signs of nesting up to two days before. Nesting is a natural behavior pregnant dogs exhibit where they look for a safe, warm, and comfortable area to give birth in.
A pregnant dog will generally begin experiencing labor contractions between 18 and 24 hours before the actual birth. The first contractions will be hard for a human to notice, but they will begin to become more noticeable as the birthing process gets closer.
A pregnant dog may experience contractions for up to three hours before whelping begins, after which, she is considered active in labor. A pup’s head should appear within 30 minutes of her being active in labor.
Responsible dog parents and breeders will provide a whelping box for their pregnant dog to nest in. This will allow the pup’s birth area to remain clean. Make sure to introduce your dog to this area well before the birth so they know where to go when the time comes.
A female dog that is going into labor may become restless, agitated, or aggressive towards other dogs within the household. Some dogs may even begin to show signs of excessive panting and drooling prior to giving birth.
One way to track your dog’s labor progress is to keep an eye on their temperature. The best way to do this is by using a rectal thermometer. When your dog’s temperature drops beneath 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the labor process will likely begin in 24 hours.
How Can I Help My Dog When She’s In Labor?
One of the best ways to help a dog give birth is by providing them with lots of positive reinforcement. This can be done through petting or scratching your pup, talking in soothing tones, and even offering low-sodium foods that are easy for pregnant dogs to digest, such as bread soaked in chicken broth.
If you’re going to assist your dog during the birthing process, make sure that you have everything prepared beforehand. This includes having fresh towels and a soft blanket for your pup to lie on.
The mother should be allowed to eat small meals throughout labor as well as drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. When it comes time for delivery, avoid touching or moving the mother and pup at all costs in order to prevent the dog from panicking.
The mother will typically take between 10 to 30 minutes to push out her first puppy once the labor process has begun. The next puppies will be born about 40 to 60 minutes apart. Keep an eye on the timing between puppies so you can monitor the mother’s progress.
It’s extremely important to keep an eye on how many placentas are delivered with each birth in order to make sure there aren’t any complications such as retained placentas. A retained placenta is when the mother doesn’t deliver all of her afterbirths. This can lead to a medical emergency, so it is very important that you keep track of this for each pup.
Each pup that is born will be covered in a thin membrane that can be peeled off by the mother with her mouth. Most mothers will lick and remove this membrane instinctively, clearing out the passageways of the puppy’s nose and mouth. However, if the mother doesn’t remove the membrane herself after 5 minutes, gently use a clean towel to do so.
Can Puppies Be Born Days Apart?
Dogs do not give birth to their puppies 24 hours apart. Most puppies will be born within 30 minutes to an hour. However, it isn’t unusual for the mother to need to rest for a few hours between births.
A dog can safely rest for up to 4 hours before resuming the labor process. If you notice that your dog is taking longer than expected to give birth, contact a veterinarian immediately for assistance.
Do Dogs Leak Before Giving Birth?
It is very common for a pregnant dog to experience some pre-labor spotting during the final weeks of its pregnancy. This can be from blood or dark discharge from your dog’s vagina and it may persist up until birth occurs. It may also be a mucous plug that can precede birth.
Within 48 hours of labor, the dog will start to produce a white milky discharge. When a couple of drops of blood begin to appear in the discharge, this means that the mother is very close to giving birth.
The dog’s water may break, which is when the mother is ready to give birth. This can happen anywhere from a few hours before labor begins or many days prior, depending on the individual dog.
If your dog experiences high temperatures, excessive panting, drooling, lack of appetite for more than 24 hours, or any bleeding that lasts longer than an hour – contact a veterinarian immediately so
You may also see a clear or milky discharge from the dog as well. This is normal in most dogs, but it’s best to check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Do Dogs Bleed After Giving Birth?
It’s natural for your dog to experience some bleeding after giving birth, but it should be minimal.
After the mother has given birth to each pup and delivered all of her placentas, she will typically rest for a few hours before getting back up to tend to her newborns. The mother’s uterus is still contracting as part of this process, so there may be more blood loss for another hour or two during this phase.
After the initial bleeding, your dog should have a light brown discharge with some blood in it for up to three weeks after giving birth. This is known as lochia and most dogs will experience this type of bleeding for around six weeks before their body fully adjusts back to its non-pregnant state.
If you notice that your dog is still experiencing significant amounts of discharge or bleeding after giving birth, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice on what to do next.
What Is the Green Discharge My Dog Has During Birth?
It is very normal for dogs to experience some form of discharge during the labor process. If you notice that your dog has a greenish-colored fluid following birth, this is typically caused by the production of meconium in utero.
Meconium can be produced as early as 13 days post fertilization and it consists of intestinal secretions, mucus, bile pigments, and cellular debris.
Meconium doesn’t pose any risks to the mother or her puppies, but it may be indicative of some fetal distress if you are aware that your dog is pregnant with multiple pups. If this happens, contact a veterinarian immediately for further instructions on what to do next.
Does a Dog Have a Mucous Plug?
A mucous plug is a protective barrier inside the cervix that blocks bacteria from passing through. When your dog’s body starts to produce estrogen and progesterone, this will cause the mucus glands in her vagina to swell up with fluids.
The presence of these swollen glands can create what appears like a yellowish or greenish mass at the opening of the cervix. This is normal and it’s known as a “mucous plug” – even though this term is used by most people to refer to any type of vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
Mucous plug release can happen anywhere between one week and two days before labor begins, depending on the individual dog. This will typically be accompanied by a thin watery discharge from the vagina.