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Puppy Prognostication Part 2: Pregnant Dog Complications

 by zack on 25 Jun 2013 |
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Welcome back for part 2 of our series on pregnant dogs. Today we’ll be discussing the possible complications you’re most likely to run into during pregnancy.  Many of these terms we’ll be discussing might sound familiar to parents, as the mammalian processes of pregnancy tend to trend in similar fashions. So let’s jump right in and discuss the signs, causes, and treatments of our first complication.


Just like most fetal complications, dystocia is a very serious condition. It can be caused by a number of factors. Either by the Mother’s pelvic dimensions or the puppy’s size or positioning within the womb. A condition called uterine inertia can keep a dog from having contractions, which keeps her from being able to push out the pups. This usually comes about because of a formally broken pelvic bone or it can be due to breed conformity causing an animal to have a smaller than average pelvic girdle.

Alternatively, the puppy could be at the heart of the problem. If it isn’t positioned head or tail first, the narrow corridors of your dog’s cervix might impede the pups progress.  Or if the puppies are abnormally large the same results can occur. Dystocia is easily recognizable, it’s likely occurring if your dog:
  • has been pregnant for over 70 days
  • has been in labor for over twenty-four hours
  • if there is a rank odor coming from the vaginal discharge
  • is producing a lot of vomit during whelping
  • takes a long break (over 4 hours) between delivering pups
This is a bad situation to find yourself in. if you suspect your dog is suffering from dystocia, then contact your vet immediately.


This disorder is basically a calcium deficiency in the mother’s blood stream. It’s caused by the increased need for calcium which is required to produce milk for the new arrivals. So long as the milk itself looks normal, the puppies aren’t in any danger. Look for the following signs of Eclampsia’s onset:
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety/restlessness
  • Stiff or inflexible legs preventing movement
  • Fever above 105°F
  • Muscle spasms
  • Heavy or rapid breathing
  • Seizures

To treat the disorder: immediately notify your vet, and prevent the puppies from nursing to keep your dog from losing anymore calcium. It would also be wise to replenish the dog’s calcium with a milk replacer.

Other Complications

You should also seek veterinary assistance if you notice any of the following:
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Green liquid discharge
  • Prolonged nausea
  • Behavioral dejection
  • Feebleness
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen or firm nipples
  • Insubstantial milk output
  • Rotten smelling discharge

All of these are potential signs to problems that could have a negative effect on the mother, the puppies, or both. So keep a watchful eye when your dog is pregnant, and be ready to call on professional assistance if the need to do so presents itself.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do by yourself to help a dog during or after whelping. So it’s imperative that you keep your vet’s number nearby throughout the process. However, it should be noted that while these problems are common enough, it’s far more likely your dog’s pregnancy will go off without a hitch. So stay positive, but be prepared!


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