5 Common Pregnancy Complications in Dogs

common pregnancy complications

Bringing home a new puppy is incredibly rewarding. And if you’re interested in breeding dogs, there’s nothing better than watching your pets have puppies of their own. However, just like human pregnancies, dog pregnancies aren’t always problem-free.

In some cases, complications during pregnancy can be deadly for mom and pups alike. So it’s important to understand how to recognize—and hopefully prevent—these problems so you can keep both your pregnant dog and her unborn pups healthy and happy.

In the past, pregnancy complications in dogs were not regularly treated, and the complications usually resulted in the loss of the litter.

For a long time, pregnancy complications in dogs were not regularly treated and the complications usually resulted in the loss of the litter. In fact, some veterinarians still advise that if your dog develops signs of a complication you should euthanize her so that she does not lose her pups. However, it is now known that most pregnancy complications can be treated successfully if diagnosed early enough.

Pregnancy complications are more common than expected and occur in about 20% to 30% of all pregnancies.

three brown coated puppies

Puppy Development

If the puppies are not developing in utero, it can cause the death of some or all of them. In this case, you will need to perform a cesarean section and remove your dog’s puppies from her uterus. After removing the puppies from their mother, they will need to be incubated for several days before they can be introduced back into her care.

Some dogs may have difficulty delivering their pups naturally if there are too many to deliver at once because she does not have enough room inside her body or because there is something blocking them from coming out naturally.

Monitor Your Dog

The last few weeks of pregnancy are critical and you should be monitoring your dog very closely. You should also have a veterinarian on standby in case of an emergency.

Monitoring the health of your dog during this time includes:

  • Checking the temperature to make sure it is normal for her (temperatures below 99 degrees Fahrenheit or above 102 degrees Fahrenheit indicate heatstroke or hypothermia).
  • Observing the gums and tongue for any color changes, dryness, lumps or sores that could indicate infection.
  • Observation of breast size and consistency to see if they are leaking milk – this can be done by placing a piece of paper towel inside a shirt sleeve or glove before touching them; they should not feel like jelly but instead have some firmness. If they do leak milk then you may want to give them iron supplements since this indicates low iron levels which could be threatening their health at such an early stage in development; however, if no milk is present then there’s nothing else we need to worry about right now since lactation isn’t going according to plan just yet anyways!

False Pregnancy

False pregnancy is when a dog’s body goes into labor because it believes there are puppies, even though she is not pregnant. This can be dangerous for the mother and puppies if they are born prematurely. False pregnancy can be treated with medication, but it’s important to make sure your dog gets treatment as soon as possible so that you can avoid any complications later on.

Taking Temperature

You should take her temperature during these days to let you know if she has gone into labor or if there are other complications. To do this, use a rectal thermometer and insert it about 2-3 inches inside of your dog’s anus.

You will have to hold her still while doing this, but try not to squeeze her too hard—she can’t give birth if not performed carefully!

The normal temperature for dogs during pregnancy is 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, although it may vary slightly depending on the breed of dog and its size. If your dog’s temperature is below normal at any point during early pregnancy, consult your veterinarian immediately; this could indicate problems with the health of both mother and fetus.

Risk Factors

Before you set out on this adventure to have a litter of puppies, it’s important to know that all dogs can experience these common pregnancy complications if they’re not watched closely.

Pregnancies in dogs can last anywhere from 63 days (the gestation period of the Maltese) to 68 days (the gestation period of the Dogo Argentino). Some breeds have more risk factors than others, but all dogs can experience these common pregnancy complications if they’re not watched closely.

If you suspect your dog is pregnant or notice any symptoms of a complication, contact your vet immediately so that he or she can do an exam and help determine whether or not your dog is pregnant. Your vet will be able to explain what you should keep an eye out for and how often you need to see him or her during the pregnancy process until the delivery day comes around!


There you have it! While some complications during a dog’s pregnancy are more common than others, the best way to avoid them is to keep an eye on your pup and take her to the vet at the first sign of trouble. If all goes well, you can look forward to a litter of cute little puppies in no time!


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