Childbirth of the bitch

About 2 months after breeding (between 54 and 72 days), the bitch’s gestation is coming to an end and giving birth is therefore imminent. Will it go well? Should I help her or let her do it all on her own? What are the risks for the bitch and her unborn puppies? All these questions dog owners are asking themselves as this great day approaches.

The birth of a bitch is always a moment full of joy and emotion for the whole family, especially for her master. These feelings are mixed with a small dose of apprehension , especially if this is her first birth.

You fear possible complications that could put the life of the mother and those of her young in danger. You wonder if you are going to have to intervene and how. To help allay those worries, here’s everything you need to know about puppy birth, from the start of labor to the little ones’ first feedings.

The birth is imminent

When labor begins, the bitch’s uterus prepares for the puppies to be expelled and the cervix opens more and more. The bitch is then particularly agitated . She is visibly preoccupied and begins to walk in circles. If you had used her for several days to lie down in the farrowing crate , she will settle there quite naturally to begin the birth.

The first uterine contractions are there, but we cannot yet perceive them from the outside. Only the bitch feels them and fidgets as a result. The onset of labor usually lasts between 4 and 36 hours.

Childbirth begins

Uterine contractions gain in intensity and abdominal contractions can be clearly seen. The pouches of the fetuses then rupture and we witness the release of the first waters. You also notice that the bitch licks her vulva quite frequently.

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She sits down and, at the start of the first expulsion, lies on her side and leans her head towards her genitals. The birth of the first puppy usually lasts longer than the others. Before each birth, the bitch alternates between rapid and slow breathing phases.


The normal exit position of a puppy is either by the head or by the pelvis . Any other exit posture is abnormal and may cause a blockage. You can then try to gently pull the little one to help it out. If you do not succeed, the intervention of the veterinarian is required.

Once the puppy is expelled , the bitch tears her amniotic sac to allow her to breathe. The mother may be late or not at all, especially if the calf’s exit position is incorrect. You must then remove its envelope using a terry towel, for example. If you find that he is not breathing, help him to do so by massaging him.

Cut the rope

After the cleaning of the amniotic sac comes the moment of the section of the umbilical cord : the bitch generally performs it instinctively about ten minutes after the puppy comes out, but, as with the previous steps, she sometimes omits this act for various reasons. You can intervene by using a disinfected pair of scissors . Apply Betadine if the bleeding continues.

To read also: The heat in the bitch

A very variable overall duration

The overall duration of the birth is extremely variable from one bitch to another. It can be limited to 2 hours , as it can reach 36 hours , especially in those who give birth for the first time. The time between 2 expulsions can range from 10 to 60 minutes .

In principle, the placentas are expelled after each birth, but some may remain in the uterus to be evacuated a little later. Almost immediately after birth, puppies instinctively begin to suckle. </p

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