November 16, 2012
Puppy time

Normal delivery, or parturition, is generally divided into three distinct stages. The first stage actually occurs before any labour has begun. In this stage, dogs will start to look for and/or build their bed or nest in preparation for the delivery. Their behaviour may seem quite nervous or unusual and most will refuse food and water. The breasts will enlarge and should begin to have early milk production.{{more}} A thick white gelatinous mucoid material will be passed vaginally about 48 hours prior to delivery. This is usually the mucoid plug that prevents germs from passing up the cervix to infect the unborn puppies during the pregnancy.

Also, rectal temperature will drop below 100 degrees F, usually to about 97-99 degrees F, about 24 hours prior to the onset of labour.

The actual process of delivery or labour characterizes stage two. Contractions and straining begin and usually a membrane which appears generally as a fluid filled bubble appears at the opening to the vagina, often followed by passage of a green-black placental sac. Then, more forceful efforts to expel a puppy begin.

The third phase of labour consists of delivery of puppies, delivery of placental parts, a rest phase of 10 minutes to an hour and repeating the process until all puppies are born. The normal interval between births is 30-60 minutes, although in larger dogs with more puppies, several may be born, followed by a longer rest, then another group. Sometimes two pups are born followed by a longer rest. All would be considered normal and many patterns of delivery will be acceptable. Also, pups are normally born face or feet first, so no need to panic.

The question is always asked, “How do I know when the mother is done?” Suffice it to say that when labour stops, she is done. Irrespective of that, the best way is to have had good prenatal examinations of the mother, including an X-ray or ultrasound analysis at about 45-50 days of term, so that the number of puppies present can be clearly known. Also, females should be checked 24-48 hours post-partum by your veterinarian to look for any undelivered puppies, as well as to give an injection to assist expulsion of any other retained materials.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981