Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Linda Richard
Dog pregnancies can be confusing at first. For example, pregnant dog discharge before labor – is it normal and what to do? Pregnancies are stressful in general, especially when the one being pregnant can’t properly communicate with us and tell us if something’s wrong. With people, you can just ask them how they feel and they’ll tell you.
With dogs, however, you’re often left trying to read into signs, guess what’s wrong, and you have to consult with your vet about every other thing. So, here’s what you need to know about pregnant dog discharge before labor.
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Pregnant Dog Discharge Before Labor and What It Means
Simply put, if you see some pregnant dog discharge before labor that means your dog is almost ready to give birth. The discharge is perfectly normal and is what happens when the dog’s uterus is getting ready and lubricated for the arrival of the puppies.
The discharge comes when the dog’s contractions start to intensify. This should start happening some 10 to 24 hours before the actual birth so that’s a good alarm bell for you that you should start preparing for the big occasion.
What Should The Pregnant Dog discharge Before Labor Look Like?
The liquid discharge coming out of your pregnant dog should normally be clear in color and have a mucus-like look. If the discharge has somewhat of a greenish color you may want to call your vet. You don’t need to do so immediately but if it’s been several hours and your dog isn’t giving birth but the discharge continues to be greenish, it’s definitely a good idea to get in touch with a professional.
Learn more about: How Long Does It Take For A Labrador To Have Puppies?
With many vets, you should be able to send them a picture of the discharge for a quick on-the-phone consultation. That way, your vet should be able to tell you if any of the possible birth-related problems seem likely and whether you need to take your dog for an in-person check.
My Pregnant Female Dog Is Leaking Clear Fluid – What Should I Do?
So, assuming no vet intervention is necessary as is usually the case – what do you need to do when you notice the pregnant dog discharge before labor?
Ideally, you shouldn’t need to do anything directly as your dog ought to be able to do everything on her own. Still, even in the best-case scenario, you can help by giving your dog the most comfortable environment for the delivery of the puppies. Here’s what you’d want to prep:
- A whelping box – this can either be a pre-made commercial whelping box you purchase online or a simple and clean large cardboard box. The sides of the box need to be high and it needs to be placed in a well-isolated spot in your home so there’s no draft. There should be one entrance for the dog to get in and out easily but there should still be some elevation for the pups to be isolated. Set up the box days in advance for your dog to get used to it – prep it well and your dog will happily go there on her own for the birth.
- A stack of clean towels for the pups if the mom needs help cleaning them up. Other emergency supplies you’d do well to prep include antiseptic solution, rubber gloves, sterile scissors, dental floss, or sterile heavy thread for tieing the umbilical cord if need be. All of those are “just in case” items and usually aren’t needed.
- A separate box or a laundry basket with a blanket and a heating pad. This is for the pups themselves as it might be helpful to separate them from the mom after she cleans them up and as she continues to birth the next pups. This box should be near the whelping box and in the view of the mom. Keep a close eye on the pups on the blanket with the heating pad under it – if they are too warm they will cry or they might whimper if they are too cold.
What If The Discharge Doesn’t Stop After The Birth?
Surprisingly to most first-time owners of a birthing dog, the discharge actually continues after the birth too – often for several whole days! This is usually leftover fetal tissue, i.e. the membrane that is used to cover the pups in the uterus. This discharge can be greenish or reddish-brown in color and it’s perfectly fine. The only thing to watch out for here is whether or not it smells.
You don’t need to smell your dog’s butt too directly – you should sense it in the air near your dog if it does. Your dog will be cleaning the discharge on her own normally so there should be nothing to worry about.
So, Is The Pregnant Dog Discharge Before Labor Anything To Worry About?
No, not at all. As long as it’s clear in color and the birthing process starts normally after 10 to 24 hours, everything should be fine. This is a good signal for you to clear your day and start prepping for the births though as you’d likely want to be around.
Read more about: How Long Are Labradors Pregnant?
Will a dog have discharge before labor?
Almost certainly. Some clear and mucus-like vaginal discharge is to be expected once your female dog is 10 to 24 hours away from going into labor. This is perfectly normal and is as much a part of the whole process as is the breast milky discharge that starts being noticeable from the dog’s breasts at the end of the second tri-week period of the pregnancy.
What does it mean when a pregnant dog starts discharging?
This vaginal discharge indicates the intensification of your dog’s uterine contractions. The discharge of the mucus-like liquid on the outside doesn’t serve any particular purpose – it’s just a consequence of the uterus becoming lubricated and ready for the birth of the puppies.
How long does a dog have discharge before giving birth?
The discharge a pregnant dog goes to starts anywhere between 10 and 24 hours before the birth itself. The discharge is the result of the dog’s uterine contractions becoming stronger and more frequent. So, while you should immediately jump for the towels when you see the discharge, it does mean that you should free up your next ~24 hours to be available for your dog’s journey. Ideally, you won’t need to be actively involved in the whole process but you’d want to be around just in case.