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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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my dog is in labor. she is panting constantly and

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
my chihuahua is in labor. Sheis panting constantly and pacing the floor. She will lay down and then get straight back up. Is this normal?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.

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.

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A dog’s gestational period (pregnancy) is approximately 63 days from breeding. 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. The temperature drop is due to a reduction in serum progesterone levels and signals that the dog will start labor within 24 hours.

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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.

If your dog is actively straining to deliver a puppy for more than 20-25 minutes, or there is longer than an hour or so between puppies being born and you feel there are more puppies, she needs to be seen by a vet.

Sometimes puppies are too large to be born and get stuck. They can also experience uterine intertia and you need a visit to determine if a shot to restart labor is needed.

It isn't unusual for there to be from 10 minutes to an hour between puppies being born. So keep an eye on the clock and record the time each puppy is born so you can accurately judge when a vet visit may be needed.

Sometimes a female will not push in the house due to house training. Taking her outside with a towel to wrap the puppy in if it should be born can be attempted if you feel this is the case.

It is possible for a mother to not deliver all her pups. Usually when a pup is retained, a dog does not act normal. They may appear restless, distressed, actively straining, lethargic, non-interested in their pups.

However, if your dog is eating, drinking, urinating, nursing her puppies, cleaning them and basically acting normal, she has most likely delivered all her puppies.

If you feel there is a puppy still inside your female, then you should take her to the Vet to be sure. It's a good idea to take her and the pups in anyway for a post whelping checkup to ensure all placentas were delivered as well

Here is a site on this information.

I gave you information on difficult labors because chihuahuas frequently have difficulties during whelping and need c-sections. If you feel this is happening with your chi, please have her seen by your vet immediately so her life is not put in danger. I hope you find this information helpful.

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