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Experience:  breeder/ vet assistant.
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Temperature of my pregnant dog has dropped to 37.5. Help!

Customer Question

My pregnant dog's temperature has dropped from its usual 38.5 to 37.5. Would this be the drop before labour? She isn't eating much and just sleeping. Pups are very active. She is not showing any signs of nesting or of any discharge. Should I be worried?

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

There are three stages to labor. During the first stage the cervix dilates and contractions begin. Your female will be uncomfortable, restless, pace and pant. This lasts 6-18 hours. During the second part of labor, your female's contractions begin in earnest. Her water breaks and puppies are delivered usually after 10-30 minutes of pushing. All puppies are born during this stage.

The third stage of labor is after all pups have been delivered and is when a dog still has small contractions to expel fluids and/or placentas from the uterus. You can read more about this here:

http://www.2ndchance.info/caninelaborstages.htm

A dog’s gestational period (pregnancy) is approximately 63 days from breeding. Having pups before day 59 usually results in most pups not surviving. One way of knowing when your dog with have her puppies is to take her temperature twice daily at the same time each day as her due date gets close. Keep a record of this. A dog’s normal temperature is between 101-102.5F degrees. Her temperature may rise and fall during this time, but once her temperature falls below 99 degrees, she should go into labor in the next 24 hours. By my calculations, she needs to drop below 37.2C before it would signal labor to start in 24 hours. The temperature drop is due to a reduction in serum progesterone levels and signals that the dog will start labor within 24 hours. You can read about this at:

http://www.labbies.com/reproduction1.htm

You may also notice her breasts swelling during this last week of pregnancy and some milk leakage. Dogs will usually become restless and increase their digging and nesting behavior during the last week. You will notice an increase in her panting as well as a mucous discharge. You may also notice some abdominal contractions or rippling as her time grows closer. Do not be surprised if your dog is very restless and vomits as few times during this last week. Once your dog's temperature has dropped, please do not leave her alone in case of complications. As she enters actual labor you should be able to see her contractions and most dogs will begin looking at their hindquarters. An increase of licking of the genitals is normal before and during labor. Be sure and have an emergency Vet’s phone number readily available just in case of an emergency during the birthing of the puppies. Here is an excellent site about whelping.

http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medical/whelping.html

Some other signs that my dogs always seem to exhibit are lack of appetite, frequent urination and frequent small, runny bowel movements in the day before labor starts. Frequently my dogs will start looking at their rears when the first real contractions start.

If you have more questions or need clarification, just respond. I hope you find this information helpful.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

Thank you for your answer. I am measuring in Celsius as I can't work out the Fahrenheit. So from normal temp being 38.5 what would be enough of a drop? As for eating, she really isn't eating much. How long shall I let this continue before I start to worry? I know you can't tell me 100 percent when she will go into labour. Its just that I had planned to send my children to stay with a friend when she whelps. Just so she has a quieter environment and I am free to get her to the vet immediately if needed during whelping.

Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 5 years ago.

As I mentioned, when her temperature drops below 37.2C, then she should whelp within 24 hours. In Celsius my dogs typically drop to 36.8, but all it needs to do is drop below 37.2C. Now you do need to be sure you are using a good thermometer. Larger dogs tend to have less issues during whelping, but it is good you are planning on having the children taken care of in case you need to get her to a vet.

Since her temperature is still high and she isn't scratching the bedding, showing signs of nesting or discharge, then it doesn't sound like she has started labor. Most dogs will stop eating and start having frequent small bowel movements, possibly eating grass and vomiting some bile the day before they deliver as well.

Now most vets will want to see your dog if she reaches 70 days from her first mating without whelping. I'm going to include sites on problem deliveries so you know what should trigger a vet visit.

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/dystocia-difficult-birth-in-dogs/page1.aspx

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1628&articleid=899

I hope you find this information helpful.

jadedangel57 and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

Nikita's temp has been down for 4 days at about 37.4. Today its gone back 37.9 She is restless but yet today has wanted to eat and eat for the first time in 10 days. She is seeking a lot of attention and licking everyone. She spent this morning sleeping and pups have been very very active. But this afternoon has been restless. She came to me and I touched her stomach and she yelped. She really wants to sit outside in the yard. I can see the yard and it is well lit. Should I let her sit outside? She is panting slightly. So I have turned heating off. She keeps licking her rear end. Is she in labour or is she simply hot and bothered and seeking attention?

Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 5 years ago.

Is she still exhibiting the same symptoms? How many days since she mated?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It has been 64 days. She definitely seems to be in labour since four this afternoon. She is really digging and panting in her whelping box sleeping for ten minutes and then doing it again her eyes are blood shot and she feel really warm. She is young and this is her first litter. Have a vet on stand by, but how long shall I wait before taking her in. How long can this stage last ??? Also her heart is pounding and she won't go outside but has urinated in the house. Something she never does. Please answer ASAP

Expert:  jadedangel57 replied 5 years ago.

This stage can last for hours. However, if she is actively pushing for over an hour, or has a black or greenish discharge for over an hour without a pup being born, then she should be seen. The digging and panting can go on for up to a whole day. It doesn't sound like she has that long to go though since she can't sleep. Here is the site on difficult deliveries that spells out what signs should signal a difficult delivery and a visit to the vet.
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/dystocia-difficult-birth-in-dogs/page1.aspx

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1628&articleid=899

I hope you find this information helpful.