How Much Time Should Pass Between Puppies When Your Dog Is Giving Birth

Dogs sometimes have difficulty birthing puppies, so a long wait between puppies is worrying. How long can a dog go between puppies – Answered!

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When a dog is giving birth, how long can she go between puppies?

A dog can go for an hour or an hour and a half between puppies. If it has gone for more than two hours, there might be something wrong. There are many other ways to notice that the dog is having trouble.

As a veterinarian, I can tell when a dog isn’t going to be able to complete the birth without help. Sometimes, a dog needs a C-section, although there are usually less drastic ways to help the dog.


How Long Can a Dog Go Between Puppies?

A dog might go for only five minutes between puppies or might go for sixty or ninety minutes. Neither a longer interval nor a shorter interval is a problem. It is only worrying if the dog goes for a very long time between births or if the dog seems to be having a lot of trouble. 

Different breeds of dogs are different. Some dogs can go for much longer between births without anything being wrong. 

A dog might not be able to care for its puppies until it has birthed all of them. You might have to care for the puppies yourself during this time. The dog should be supervised because you will need to call the vet if anything goes wrong. 

How Long is a Dog’s Pregnancy? 

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A dog’s pregnancy lasts for about two months or 59 to 63 days. Goldendoodles are pregnant for 58 to 68 days. Premature birth is just as dangerous for dogs as for people.

If the dog gives birth more than one day early, this may lead to dystocia, or trouble giving birth. If the dog has a low body temperature, it may give birth prematurely. 

How Dogs Give Birth

Puppies usually come out head first. Sometimes, they can come out tail first, or even sideways. Sometimes, the position of the puppy can make birth difficult or impossible. 

In that case, the veterinarian will need to do a C-section to save the dog and puppy’s life. 

What If Puppies Are Born Four Hours Apart?

Puppies should not be born four hours apart as this often leads to death for the puppy. A vet should monitor a puppy born after a long interval to try to keep it alive. 

Ninety minutes or less is normal. There is nothing wrong with a dog having an interval as short as five minutes between births. 

The Dog May Be Exhausted

If the dog hasn’t given birth in the last four hours, contact a vet right away. This not only puts the puppy in danger but the mother also. The dog may be too tired to keep going and may need an emergency operation. 

Many things can make birth difficult for a dog. The pelvis might be too small, the puppies might be too big, or the dog might have problems common for their breed. 

Symptoms of a Difficult Birth in Dogs

If your dog is having strong contractions for more than half an hour with no puppies being born, it may be having trouble. It is also worrying if your dog hasn’t had a puppy in the last two hours. 

If the dog seems to be in more pain than normal, it might be having trouble. The dog licking the vulvar area is another bad sign. There might be bleeding, puppies might be born dead, and the dog might be shaking. 

Nesting behavior also suggests that the dog is having trouble if it is repeated for a long time. A dog may use blankets or whatever else is available to build a safe space to deliver the puppies. This is only a bad sign if it is too persistent. 

Other Signs

After a while, it will become obvious that the dog is in serious trouble. Vomiting, straining, exhaustion, and excessive bleeding all mean the dog needs the vet right away. 

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Which Breeds Are Most At Risk?

All breeds of “flat-faced” dogs are at greater risk of a difficult birth. Pugs, boxers, bulldogs, mastiffs, Boston terriers, and Pekingese dogs are all at risk. 

Causes of a Difficult Birth

A dog might not be able to give birth easily if the fetus is too large. The fetus might also be in an abnormal position. 

If the fetus is already dead, the mother might not be able to give birth. There also might be problems with the uterus, such as uterine rupture, uterine cysts, or cancer. The pelvis might be too small, and the pelvic canal or the vagina might be abnormal. 

The dog might be suffering from a health problem related to pregnancy. There might be gestational diabetes or inflammation of the uterus. Sometimes, cervical dilation is too slow. 


Sometimes, an operation is necessary, but there are simpler ways to help a dog. If the puppy is in an abnormal position, a vet can move the puppy into the right position without surgery. A c-section may be necessary if this fails. 

Small Birth Canal

If the puppy is too big for the birth canal, the veterinarian can sometimes remove it without an operation. However, an operation may be required to save the dog’s life.

Slow Contractions

Sometimes, a vet can use an injection to help a dog that is struggling to give birth. If the contractions are too slow or stop entirely, a vet might use a solution of electrolytes, calcium gluconate IV, and oxygen to restart the contractions. 

What if Some of the Puppies Are Stillborn?

Sometimes, even a seemingly healthy dog can give birth to stillborn or dead puppies. There is no way to minimize the risk of this, so it can happen even if the breeder didn’t do anything wrong. 

Not all stillborn puppies happen because of miscarriages. There can be a birth where some puppies are alive and others are dead. 

Giving birth to a dead puppy is dangerous for the health of the mother and the other puppies. If one of the puppies is dead, the others might be underdeveloped or weak. It might also lead to an early birth, which leads to premature puppies. 

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A Dog Should Give Birth in a Calm Environment 

The area where the dog gives birth should be quiet. Anything that raises the dog’s stress level, including noise, is not good. 

The room should also be mostly free of clutter. Make sure that the dog always has water and has a private area to retreat to. 

Dog Health During Pregnancy

Proper care during pregnancy can prevent pregnancy complications. A responsible breeder makes sure the dog is in good health first. They should have all of their vaccines and be free of inherited health problems. 

A dog needs more food while pregnant, and nutritious food is particularly important. The dog should get enough exercise before and during the pregnancy. 

In the second half of a dog’s pregnancy, walks should be shorter, and exercise should be gentle. You should also sometimes take your dog to the vet for a checkup while pregnant.

Key Takeaways

  • A dog might go as little as five minutes between puppies, or as much as ninety minutes. Either is fine.
  • If a dog goes for more than two hours between puppies, the dog may be in trouble. Contact the vet right away. Don’t wait if the dog seems to be having trouble. 
  • Things like bleeding, vomiting and excessive pain are signs that the dog needs help. 
  • A vet can help a dog that is struggling, either with surgery or with a gentler method. 

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