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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18801
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My dog is pregnant and 3 days ago her temperature dropped ...

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My dog is pregnant and 3 days ago her temperature dropped from 101 to 98.6. The next day it was at 97.4. Yesterday it was 97.9 and today it is back up to 100; but still np puppies. Should I be concerned?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.

The first thing I would do is be sure the thermometer is calibrated correctly. I use a new thermometer for each pregnancy. I would be sure the thermometer is inserted into the rectum the proper depth which is approximately an inch. Puppies are able to survive after 59 days but pups born earlier have a hard time surviving. If her temperature is below 99F with a new thermometer or the old one has been verified, I would call your vet and see about having an exam done and discuss what options you have at this point. It is best to get as close to the due date as possible.

I am going to give you more information on labor as well. 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 ernest. 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 expell fluids and/or placentas from the uterus.

You can read more about this here:

A dog’s gestational period (pregnancy) is approximately 63 days from breeding. You can read about how temperature can be used to tell when labor will start:

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.

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.

I hope you find this information helpful.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I just bought this thermometer last week so I am fairly certain that it is correct.
My female is a Rottweiler, and this is her second litter. I calculeted her first one exact so I am a little concerned.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.

Has she had any other signs of impending labor?
Have you felt puppies moving around inside her?
How many days since she was mated?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
She looks like she is uncomfortable at times, but she is still eating and wants to play ball. She seems to be licking herself a little more than usual. Her last litter she never nested or quit eating. She just had them right on the hardwood floor.
Yes I can feel the puppies moving around. We estimated her due date to be this weekend as did the vet. We had her x-rayed last Wed. to see how many puppies and she had no more room in there.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.

The temperature drop does indicate that the dog should be in first stage labor and that second stage labor (when the puppies should be born) should start within 24 hours. Since the temperature did drop but she does not have any other symptoms of labor, I'd keep an eye on her tonight and have her seen by your vet in the morning to be sure that she doesn't have a puppy stuck or uterine inertia (contractions not strong enough basically). Of course, if additional symptoms develop such as contractions starting without a puppy being born shortly thereafter, then have her seen immediately.

I wondered about the thermometer as you stated her temp was 101 which is just barely normal. My dog's temperature is all over the place from 102 down to 99 and back up the week before delivery. I always have a new thermometer and have been known to go buy another one if I even think the first one might be faulty.
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