An expecting dog mom close to the birth time will start her ritual about 48 hours before the labor starts. During the next 2 days, she will experience some changes that will help with giving birth.

Usually, a dog is in labor before pushing from 6 to 12 hours. After that, she will start pushing and about 10 to 30 minutes later the puppy will emerge. Between birth and birth, you could expect the same timing.

How Long Dog Labor Lasts

If your dog is pregnant, when it is time to give birth, she will start looking for a place to nest. The goal is to give birth in a place that is safe for her and the puppies. It is good for you to ask yourself how long is a dog in labor before pushing, so that you can monitor the situation. It is normal for her to start to behave differently than usual within 48 hrs.

In the 24 hours before the labor begins, the physical changes will show. At first, the temperature of the mother will drop below 38° C.

Then, when only 12 to 6 hours remain, she will begin pacing, digging, shaking, or even vomiting. These are considered normal behaviors for an expecting mom. All these changes will help during the birth, as they include the dilatation of the cervix.

Once she started the labor contractions will start too, and before it, the puppies will begin to be born. Normally between periods from 10 to 30 minutes, but it can take a bit longer.

If after giving birth to a puppy, contractions end, that means that the last puppy has been born. Although contractions can last a few more after the last birth, this can also be to push out the last placenta. How much time does the dog take, will depend on how many puppies are to be born.

How Much Time Can a Puppy Be in The Birth Canal

When a dog is in labor and starts pushing, you could expect delivery between 10 and 30 minutes. Although it usually takes 45 to 60 minutes between births for most dogs. On large litters, it’s common for moms to take breaks after a few deliver, between 1 and 4 hours.

Even so, if the dog has been pushing for 3 hours and nothing comes out, a puppy may be stuck in the birth canal.

Should a Dog in Labor Be Helped

Most dogs won’t need help during the process of giving birth, yet you should be quietly monitoring her progress. If help is needed, a quick response could save a puppy’s life, so better be close.

However, while some dogs are willing to be with their owners, others will try to search for a place to be alone while giving birth. This needs to be respected and left her space and just interfere if needed.

How to Help My Dog to Push Her Puppies Out

Instinctively, dogs will do everything that is needed to deliver their puppies correctly. However, sometimes, some moms will have trouble during birth and if action is needed you should know what to do.

The most basic help would be to provide enough food and water. As some deliveries will take up to 24 hours, your dog may become exhausted and puppies require their mom strong. To supply the energy and electrolytes lost during this process, plenty of food and water will be needed.

If she is struggling with pushing the puppies out, you’ll need a clean towel and latex gloves. Grasp the puppy with the clean towel and steadily but gently pull the puppy with a slight downward angle. Do this until the puppy is delivered.

A newborn puppy is covered by a membrane that needs to be removed in order for the puppy to breathe. Normally, a mother will lick that membrane after giving birth to the puppy. If this doesn’t happen after 2 minutes, you’ll need to assist by removing it gently with your fingers.

In addition, the umbilical cord should be removed by the mother by nibbling it. Yet if this doesn't happen, helped by floss you’ll need to cut it. Tie it with the floss about a half-inch from the puppy’s belly, then cut it with scissors about an inch from the floss.

How many puppies can your dog have?

Small breeds can have between 1 and 3 puppies per pregnancy. Larger dogs can have up to 15.

It is important that you know how many puppies your dog will have so that you can expect them properly. One new pet is not the same as 10.

When to Call a Vet During Labor

Something can get difficult during delivery, and you can solve it, but there are some complications that need professional help. If your dog is experiencing some of the following, call a veterinarian for help:

  • Excessive bleeding: if pure blood is coming out the birth canal.
  • Stuck puppy: you will know because your dog has been pushing for more than 2 hours without results. Excessive pain at the time of labor is also a warning sign.
  • Prolonged gestation: the gestation has reached 70 days and no labor signs are shown.
  • It’s taking too much: you know that there are more puppies, but the dog has stopped giving birth for more than 4 hours.
  • Dead puppies: either in the birth canal or inside mom.
  • Abnormal discharges: green, or foul-smelling pus discharges from the birth canal.