My dog’s water just broke – Now What?

Bringing a new life into the world is an amazing thing, and it’s just as memorable when your pregnant dog gives birth to puppies. In the movies, it’s often time to panic when a woman’s water breaks, but what should you do when your dog’s water breaks?

A dog’s water breaks during the second phase of labor. Your dog is already having contractions if her water has broken. Usually, the puppies appear within a few minutes of the water breaking. If your dog does not tear open the sack to deliver the puppies, you may need to do this quickly to prevent puppies from suffocating.

When your dog is going to give birth, what else do you need to know? There are several important points to keep in mind.

How to Deliver Puppies

How Long Is a Dog Pregnancy?

Unlike a human pregnancy, which lasts for approximately nine months, a dog is only pregnant for about two months. During this time, new puppies are rapidly developing inside an area called the amniotic sac. These new puppies will receive nourishment from their mother through the placenta. The fluid located inside the sac will protect the puppies against the movements of the outside world. As your dog moves from place to place, this amniotic sac will be responsible for cushioning the babies as they develop.

Approximately one month into gestation, your pregnant dog will need a diet that is higher in calories. Remember that your dog is now eating for multiple dogs, including her babies. This diet that is higher in calories will have to continue until after all the puppies are weaned off their mother’s milk. It may be a good idea for you to reach out to your veterinarian for recommendations on food during this time. That way, you can make sure that your dog and her puppies have access to all the nutrients they require.

What Is the Whelping Box?

If your dog is pregnant, you also need to invest in something called a whelping box. Also called a nesting box, the whelping box protects the puppies during the birthing process and their first few weeks of life, keeping them confined in a safe space away from trouble.

If you are trying to find the best box for this purpose, a simple cardboard box of the appropriate size will do nicely. If you’re looking for a more elegant solution, there are specific whelping boxes you may want to check out for particular breeds, or you may also want to learn how to build a whelping box.

After you have the whelping box, you should place this in a quiet area. You should also put the box in an area that does not receive a lot of traffic. The box should be relatively easy for the mother dog to get in and out of but difficult for puppies to escape. Remember that puppies are not going to be house-trained. Therefore, you want to fill the area with plenty of newspaper for easy cleaning.

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Finally, you want to give your dog time to get used to the whelping box before she gives birth. That way, she doesn’t end up giving birth elsewhere. You want your dog to give birth to the puppies in the whelping box. That way, the puppies will get used to the whelping box too.

How Do I Know if My Dog Is in Labor?

When you know you are getting close to the delivery date, you want to keep a closer eye on your mother dog. Dogs will usually get restless as they are about to enter labor. For example, you may notice that your dog does not want to eat as much as you used to. Or you may notice that she starts to go in and out of her whelping box more frequently. If you keep an eye on her pubic area, you may also see some white discharge from that region, not a sign that her water has broken; however, it is a sign that the delivery is not far off.

As you get closer to the expected delivery date, take her temperature more frequently. Usually, the average temperature of a dog is between 101- and 102-degrees Fahrenheit. If you noticed that your pregnant dog’s temperature has dropped under 100 degrees, this is a sign that labor is going to start soon. Usually, labor begins within 24 hours of that temperature drop taking place. Therefore, you want to keep an eye on the temperature. When the labor process begins, it can take up to 12 hours for the puppies to be delivered.

DOG IN LABOR What To Do (Video)

What Happens During the Birthing Process?

Your dog’s water breaks during the second phase of labor, which is when the puppies start to emerge. You will notice that your dog begins to strain with multiple contractions, pushing, trying to birth the puppies. As soon as the water breaks, you should see a rush of amniotic fluid. Usually, the puppies follow within a few minutes of this process. In some situations, the dog may break the amniotic sac herself to prevent the puppies from suffocating. After the water breaks, it usually takes a few more pushes to get the puppies out.

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If you can see the amniotic sac, but the mother dog is not tearing it open, you need to do so for the puppies to breathe. Once the puppies come out, you should clean the newborn’s face and nostrils quickly. That way, the puppies can breathe easily. Also, you may want to blow gently on the face of the puppies for stimulation.

The puppies will not arrive all at once. You may not know exactly how many puppies are in there; however, they usually show up about 1 hour apart from each other.

Are There Any Potential Emergencies?

If you notice green or black discharge after the water breaks, this is an emergency. It is a sign that the placenta may have separated prematurely. As a result, the lives of the puppies are in danger. You need to take your dog to a veterinary hospital as quickly as possible.

If you notice it is taking a long time for the puppies to deliver after the water has broken, this is another potential emergency that requires the attention of a trained veterinarian. In this situation, emergency surgery could be needed to deliver the puppies.


How long does a dog’s labor last?

The labor of a dog will usually last between 3 and 12 hours. If a dog has had puppies before, the process is usually faster.

How do I know if my dog is about to go into labor?

You may notice some white discharge coming from the pubic area. You may also see your dog going into the whelping box more frequently.

What is the normal temperature of a dog?

A dog’s average temperature is between 101 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher than this, it is a sign of a fever.

How long does it take for puppies to arrive after the water breaks?

The first puppy usually shows up within a few minutes of the water breaking. However, it may take longer if this is the first pregnancy for that specific dog.

How long does it take for all the puppies to be delivered?

The more puppies there are, the longer the process will take. After the first puppy, future puppies usually show up 1 hour apart from each other.

Should I be present during the labor process?

You should be somewhere nearby, so you can respond if an emergency takes place. It depends on the dog. Some dogs prefer to be alone. Do not intrude if not necessary.

How do I take care of the puppies after birth?

You should try to clean their face and nostrils relatively quickly. That will make it easier for them to breathe. Make sure they see a vet soon after birth as well.

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Kevin Myers

Kevin Myers is a passionate animal lover, pet enthusiast, and dedicated writer. With over a decade of experience as a professional pet blogger, Kevin has gained a wealth of knowledge and insights into the world of pet care. He firmly believes that every animal deserves a loving and nurturing home, which has driven him to adopt and foster numerous pets throughout the years.

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