Signs of Delivery for a Pregnant Dog

mother dog with puppy image by Phaedra Wilkinson from

Canine pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days, though it take less time for small dogs and longer for large dogs. A dog might start to show signs of delivery as early as 58 days into the pregnancy. The signs of impending labour are easy to spot, and the owner should monitor the dog closely.

If there are any concerns during the delivery process, contact a vet immediately.

Drop in Temperature

Approximately 24 hours before a dog goes into labour, her temperature will drop slightly. A normal temperature in a dog is between 38.3 and39.2 degrees Celsius. A sdog's temperature before labour drops to 36.6 or 37.2 degrees Celsius. Monitor your dog's temperature daily toward the end of her pregnancy.


Nesting occurs when the dog prepares an area for giving birth. Dogs usually choose a quiet, dark area in which to nest. Owners often prepare whelping boxes for their pregnant dog to give birth in, rather than allowing the dog to choose her own nesting location, because giving birth can be messy.


Before a dog delivers her puppies, she will become very restless and anxious because of uterine contractions. She might pace around the room, pant more than usual, dig, shiver, refuse food, whine or even vomit to clear her stomach for labour. Because vomiting can cause dehydration, Mar Vista Animal Medical Center recommends making sure the dog has access to plenty of water. This stage can last six to 18 hours.

Visible Contractions

Just before a dog begins to give birth to her puppies, she will begin to have visible contractions. Her abdomen will tense and the dog will strain, in a manner similar to an attempt to defecate. Delivery begins within two hours of the visible contractions.

Vet Help

Contact a veterinarian if your dog does not go into labour 24 hours after her drop in temperature, or if she does not begin to give birth within two hours of the start of her visible contractions.