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Signs of a pregnant pug that is ready for labor

Updated February 21, 2017

Pugs and other breeds of dogs show several signs of impending labour. The dog's owner monitors these signs to be prepared at the time of the onset of labour. Dog gestation is about 63 days or nine weeks. Small dogs, such as pugs, may deliver earlier. Monitoring of the pregnant pug commonly starts about two weeks before the anticipated delivery date.

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Physical Signs

Pugs and other small dogs commonly show a hardening and swelling of the abdomen late in the pregnancy. This occurs in the last weeks of the pregnancy and is not an immediate sign of labour. Swelling of the nipples and discharge of the milk often occurs in the last days of the pregnancy. Note the dog's body temperature. Normal body temperature for a dog is within a degree of 38.9 degrees Celsius. The temperature drops to less than 37.8 degrees C within the last 24 hours before whelping.


Pregnant pugs become restless as labour approaches and begins. This behaviour can include panting and pacing and a loss of appetite. Nesting behaviour, turning on and scratching on the floor, is common as the labour approaches. Confine the pug in a quiet, familiar place that will be used for whelping and raising the puppies. Allow her to occupy herself preparing for the delivery.

Beginning of Labor

The first stages of labour can last up to 18 hours before the first puppy is delivered. This step starts with the beginning of the dilation of the cervix. Contractions begin during this stage and are often visible. The dog is also likely to whine and show other signs of discomfort. During the process, the cervix continues to dilate until it reaches the point that the puppies can move down the birth canal.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.

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