Labor & Delivery
There are three stages of labor: cervix relaxation and uterine contraction, followed by delivery of the puppies, and then delivery of the fetal membranes. According to Dr. Shulman, “Each puppy is typically delivered every 30 to 60 minutes until finished. The labor process is usually completed within about six hours. However, some larger litters can extend up to 24 hours without complications.” This is the stage where it is useful to have confirmed the amount of fetuses expected, so that you can monitor the mother’s progress. And ideally, the mother should complete delivery without any help or interference. And Dr. Shulman adds, “It’s fine to monitor her progress, but try not to hover or be too involved, as this can cause more harm than good.”
Of course, there are times when emergency intervention may be required. While keeping check on your pregnant pup, Dr. Shulman says to watch for any of the following, and contact your vet if you observe:
– Strong contractions 30 to 60 minutes with no puppy delivered.
– More than four hours pass between fetal deliveries, and you know there are puppies left to be delivered.
– Labor does not begin within 24 hours of the mother’s temperature dropping below 100 degrees F.
– There is obvious pain.
– Gestation lasts longer than 70 days without labor.
If any of these are observed, you’ll likely need to take your pet to your veterinarian for intervention, which could include emergency surgery.