How Soon After a Dog Produces Milk Will Pups Come?

By Prev Info - October 10, 2022


If your beloved dog is due to give birth soon, you're anxious for any sign of impending delivery. When her teats start leaking milk, that's an indication that labor will begin within a few days. However, the length of time can vary from dog to dog, so there are more reliable ways to tell when the puppies will arrive. Have all of your veterinarian's contact information handy in case of emergency. She's now producing milk all the time to feed her family.   


Dog gestation generally lasts 63 days from mating to birth. However, normal pregnancies might range between 59 and 68 days. If you know when she was bred, it's easy to keep track of the due date. If this wasn't a planned pregnancy, your vet can help ascertain when the puppies are due. If your dog is pregnant longer than 68 days, take her to the vet for X-rays and other diagnostics.

Milk Production

As her due date approaches, check your dog's teats regularly. Most dogs begin leaking milk one to three days before birth, but some dogs begin milk production up to a week beforehand. Other dogs don't leak any milk at all before going into labor. While some bitches -- the proper term for a female dog -- may leak milk, gently squeezing her nipples to see if milk exudes is usually necessary in most pregnant dogs.

Other Signs

Your dog might stop eating about 24 hours before delivery, as well as become restless. She might start constantly licking her vulva -- it will produce a discharge. One of the most accurate ways of predicting when she'll go into labor is by regularly taking her temperature as her due date nears. Normally a dog's temperature ranges between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees. Approximately 24 hours before the onset of labor, her temperature should drop 2 degrees.


In canine parlance, the birth process is known as "whelping." Prepare a whelping box, lined with newspapers or old but clean blankets or towels, for her to give birth in. Place this box in a low-traffic area of the house, away from other pets. The first stage of labor consists of uterine contractions, which increase in frequency and strength. The second stage is the actual birth, as she pushes the puppy out of the birth canal.

Watch your dog carefully but don't interfere unless problems arise. The puppy emerges in the amniotic sac, which the mother licks off. If she doesn't break the sac, quickly gently wipe off the puppy's nose with a clean towel so the baby can breathe. Puppies arrive every half hour to an hour, although this can vary.


As puppies are born, their placentas follow. The mother might eat the placenta, but you should account for an afterbirth for each puppy. A retained placenta can prove life-threatening to the mother. Make sure the puppies are nursing well. Keep them in a warm environment, with a temperature of at least 70 degrees. Your vet should examine mother and puppies within a day of the birth.



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