how to tell if dog had puppies?

Signs of Whelping in Dogs

When your dog is pregnant, it's an exciting and nerve-wracking time, especially if you're unsure about how to tell if she has given birth to puppies. Whether you're a breeder or a concerned pet owner, knowing the signs of whelping in dogs is essential to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her newborn pups.

Newborn Puppies Indication

Before we dive into the signs of recent birthing, let's take a moment to understand the natural progression of a dog's pregnancy. A pregnant dog, also known as a dam, typically carries her puppies for around 63 days. During this time, her body goes through various changes to prepare for the arrival of her litter.

Once the whelping process begins-which is the term used to describe a dog giving birth-the following signs may indicate that your dog has had puppies:

Signs of Recent Birthing

  • Presence of blood or discharge: After giving birth, dogs may have a bloody discharge, which is normal. However, excessive bleeding or foul-smelling discharge may indicate complications or infection, and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
  • Visible contractions: If you observe your dog exhibiting contractions-like movements, she may be in the process of giving birth or have recently given birth to her puppies. These contractions are a natural part of the birthing process and are typically followed by the delivery of each puppy.
  • Changes in behavior: A mother dog's behavior may change significantly after giving birth. Some dogs become more protective and exhibit maternal instincts by staying close to their puppies and nursing them.
  • Nesting behavior: Prior to giving birth, dogs often exhibit nesting behavior, such as searching for a comfortable and secluded spot to deliver their puppies. They may also gather blankets, towels, or other soft materials to create a cozy bed for their newborns.
  • Suckling sounds: When the puppies are nursing, you may hear soft suckling sounds. This is an indication that the mother dog has given birth and her puppies are feeding.
  • Swollen mammary glands: After giving birth, a dog's mammary glands will become swollen as they fill with milk. This is a natural response to the demands of nursing puppies.
  • Changes in appetite: Some dogs may experience a decreased appetite immediately after giving birth. This is normal, and their appetite usually returns to normal within a short period.

Identifying a Dog's Puppies

how to tell if dog had puppies

If you're still uncertain about whether your dog has had puppies, there are a few actions you can take to confirm:

How to Check for Puppies

1. Observe the mother dog's behavior: Watch for signs of maternal care, such as cleaning, nursing, and staying close to a specific area.

2. Look for physical changes: Gently feel the dog's abdomen for any remaining puppies. If you feel small lumps or movement, it's likely that she still has more puppies to deliver.

3. Seek veterinary assistance: If you have concerns about your dog's delivery or if she is showing signs of distress, it's always best to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination to determine if your dog has given birth and provide any necessary care.

Recognizing Litter in Dogs

Remember that the signs of birthing in dogs and the presence of a litter can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs may exhibit all the signs mentioned above, while others may show only a few. Additionally, certain breeds may display distinct behaviors or characteristics during and after the whelping process.

It's important to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your dog during this time. Ensure she has access to clean water, a balanced diet, and a quiet space to care for her puppies. Regular veterinary check-ups are recommended to ensure the health and well-being of both the mother and her pups.

See also: how to take care of cats? The Ultimate Guide to Cat Care


Knowing the signs of whelping in dogs is crucial for any dog owner or breeder. By recognizing the indications of recent birthing, you can provide the necessary support and care to your dog and her puppies. Remember to observe your dog's behavior, look for physical changes, and seek veterinary assistance if needed.

As you embark on this journey of helping your dog through pregnancy and childbirth, it's essential to approach it with empathy, knowledge, and a calm demeanor. By understanding the signs of recent birthing, you can be better prepared for the miracle of new life that your dog is experiencing.

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