How Do I Know When My Dog is Ready to Give Birth?
The bad news? The event of your dog giving birth can freak you out a bit, and of course, you'd rather not sacrifice your favorite rug in the process. So how do you know when your dog is ready to give birth? Be alert for the following:
–Check your calendar. The gestation period for dogs lasts 63 days, give or take a couple days on either side. The smaller the breed, the more likely it is to deliver sooner. Larger breeds deliver later.
–Take your dog's temperature rectally. When it reads at or very close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog's going to give birth within the following 24 hours. (Normally, a dog's temp is between 101 and 102.5 degrees.)
–Contractions are not only uncomfortable to a dog, they're unfamiliar and therefore confounding. Any signs of discomfort or restlessness -- including vomiting, not eating, pacing, whining, panting and shaking -- are signs that the contractions are underway. This stage can last up to 18 hours. If possible, provide the dog with a dark, quiet room of its own at this time, or a towel-lined box.
–Look for an oat-colored discharge. This is your dog's water breaking. Next stop: Puppyville!
SEE ADORABLE "NEWBORN PUPPIES" BY TRAER SCOTT: