Dogs Temperature When in Labor

Dogs Temperature When in Labor: Understanding the Significance

When a dog is about to give birth, it is essential for pet owners and breeders to closely monitor their temperature. A dog’s temperature can provide valuable insights into the progress of labor and potential complications. Understanding the significance of a dog’s temperature during labor can help ensure the well-being of both the mother and her puppies.

A dog’s normal body temperature typically ranges between 100.5°F and 102.5°F (38°C-39.2°C). However, during the early stages of labor, a dog’s temperature may drop below 99°F (37.2°C), indicating that birth is imminent. This drop is caused by a decrease in progesterone levels and an increase in oxytocin, which stimulates contractions and prepares the body for delivery.

Monitoring a dog’s temperature during labor is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, a drop in temperature helps predict when the first puppy will be born. Secondly, if the temperature remains below 99°F (37.2°C) for more than 24 hours without any signs of labor, it may indicate a problem and veterinary assistance should be sought immediately. Lastly, a sudden increase in temperature during labor could be a sign of infection, such as pyometra, and requires prompt medical attention.


1. How often should I check my dog’s temperature during labor?
It is recommended to check your dog’s temperature every 2-4 hours during labor. However, avoid excessive handling or stress as it can interfere with the birthing process.

2. Can I use a regular digital thermometer to measure my dog’s temperature?
Yes, a regular digital thermometer can be used. Lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant before gently inserting it into the dog’s rectum.

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3. What should I do if my dog’s temperature drops below 99°F (37.2°C)?
Prepare a comfortable birthing area and keep an eye on your dog. The first puppy should be born within 24 hours. If no puppies are delivered or if there are signs of distress, consult a veterinarian immediately.

4. Is it normal for a dog’s temperature to fluctuate during labor?
Yes, slight fluctuations in temperature can occur during labor. However, if the temperature rises above 102.5°F (39.2°C) or remains low for an extended period, it could indicate a problem.

5. How can I prevent my dog from becoming stressed during temperature checks?
Make sure your dog is calm and comfortable before taking her temperature. Speak softly, use treats, and be gentle to minimize stress.

6. Can I use a dog ear thermometer instead?
While dog ear thermometers are available, rectal thermometers are considered more accurate for measuring body temperature.

7. Is it necessary to continue monitoring the dog’s temperature after all the puppies are born?
No, once all the puppies are born, you can stop monitoring the dog’s temperature. However, keep an eye on her for any signs of infection or complications during the postpartum period.

By understanding the significance of a dog’s temperature during labor and monitoring it closely, pet owners and breeders can ensure the safe delivery of puppies and promptly address any potential complications. If in doubt, always consult a veterinarian for professional advice and assistance.