Signs of an English Bulldog in Labor

Written by carrie terry
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Signs of an English Bulldog in Labor
Learn what signs to look for to tell you that puppies are on the way. (cute puppy image by Craig Stevens from

English bulldogs are happy, clownish pets. They are very dedicated to their families, and can become important members of a household. Because they're so important, many owners decide to breed their bulldogs to get many smaller bundles of joy. When a female bulldog is pregnant, it's important that she gets the right care, and that her owners know what to watch for to tell them that labour is starting.

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Before Labor Starts

Several days before labour begins, an English bulldog will begin acting differently. She will probably throw up and refuse any kind of food. She will begin to make and unmake her bed, and be increasingly restless and anxious. She may also start pacing and panting; both are signs that her contractions are beginning. This is the time to put the bulldog into her birthing area so that she can prepare. She should be separated from other dogs, as she will not tolerate them near her during birth. Immediately before labour starts, her temperature will drop dramatically.

Signs of Labor

Once labour starts, a bulldog will start licking her vulva for long periods, interspersed with periods of pacing. When she's walking she will occasionally stop and look back towards her tail. As the contractions start, the dog's stomach will be obvious in its movement, and the mother may start to groan. After these contractions have started, her water will break. Before long the first puppy will start to appear underneath her tail.

During Labor

Once labour has started, it's important to give the English bulldog a place of her own, where she can go through the process in peace. She will not tolerate any other dog or animal around her, and might not appreciate human presence. The birthing area should have a whelping box and plenty of blankets, plus water. It's important that owners watch their dogs carefully at this stage, as the labour should progress quickly. Labor that stalls out will require a vet's assistance.

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