Tick Tock. How Soon After Vomiting Will Your Pregnant Dog Give Birth?


When a pregnant dog vomits, it can be concerning but is often normal. Vomiting may happen in the 24 to 48 hours leading up to the start of labor as the dog’s body prepares for the demands of whelping. However, vomiting by itself is not necessarily a definitive sign that labor is imminent. Look for other symptoms of impending labor as well, like nesting behaviors, mammary gland enlargement, restlessness, and changes in body temperature.

In most cases, vomiting is simply the dog’s body adjusting to hormonal changes as it gets ready to give birth. Providing comfort, rest, and easy access to water can help soothe a vomiting pregnant dog. Contact your veterinarian if vomiting persists, is projectile, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms. With attentive care of the mother dog, whelping often proceeds smoothly even after bouts of vomiting.

Reasons for Vomiting

There are a few reasons why a pregnant dog may vomit in the days leading up to labor and delivery:

Hormonal Changes – The rapid changes in progesterone and estrogen levels in the final days of pregnancy can cause nausea and vomiting. These hormonal fluctuations prepare the dog’s body for labor but can upset her digestive system (source).

a list showing reasons why a pregnant dog vomits before labor

Gastric Distress – The pressure of the enlarging uterus pushing against the stomach can cause gastrointestinal upset. This discomfort is aggravated as the puppies shift into birthing position (source).

Early Contractions – In the 12-24 hours before labor starts, a dog may experience minor contractions and abdominal cramping as the uterus prepares for active birthing. These “practice” contractions can induce nausea (source).

Vomiting alone is not a definitive sign that labor is imminent. However, when combined with other symptoms like nesting behavior, loss of appetite, and drop in body temperature, it can indicate the onset of first stage labor within 24 hours.

How Close to Labor

Vomiting is a common sign that a dog’s labor is imminent, usually occurring in the 12-24 hours before labor starts. This vomiting is caused by hormonal changes as the dog’s body prepares to go into labor, which can stimulate the digestive system and cause nausea. According to the Auburn Animal Hospital, vomiting is one of the signs of late pregnancy and stage I labor, as the cervix starts to dilate and the dog’s body gets ready for active whelping.

text stating vomiting typically happens 12-24 hours before labor starts

The nausea and vomiting experienced right before labor is due to the dog’s changing hormone levels, including a rise in prostaglandin production which helps initiate uterine contractions. The digestive upset usually resolves once the dog fully enters active labor and begins pushing out puppies. However, some dogs may continue to vomit periodically throughout the birthing process, especially as labor progresses and becomes more intensive.

It’s important to monitor a pregnant dog closely in the day or two before her due date for any signs of impending labor like vomiting. Provide plenty of fresh water to avoid dehydration from fluid loss. While vomiting alone doesn’t definitively mean labor is imminent, it’s a clue to watch for other signs like nesting behavior, appetite changes, and discharge that indicate whelping is close.

Other Signs of Impending Labor

In the 12 to 24 hours before going into labor, your dog may exhibit other behaviors and signs that indicate puppies are on the way:

Restlessness: Your dog may seem anxious, pacing back and forth and unable to get comfortable. According to https://evcc.com/blog/10-signs-dog-in-labor/, this restlessness and anxiety can be accompanied by panting as well.

Nesting: Your dog may start gathering towels, blankets or other soft materials to create a nesting area for giving birth. She is preparing a comfortable and safe space to deliver her puppies.

Loss of appetite: As labor approaches, your dog may stop eating and drinking, possibly vomiting any food still in her stomach, according to https://www.rochesterhillsvet.com/articles/labor_and_delivery_in_dogs.php. This is normal as her body is focusing its energy on the puppies.

When to Seek Help

While some vomiting during pregnancy is normal, excessive vomiting is a cause for concern. If your pregnant dog is vomiting multiple times a day over several days, she may have a more serious condition like pancreatitis or an obstruction in her stomach or intestines. According to veterinarians at Tamar Veterinary Practice, you should seek medical attention if your dog vomits more than once per hour.

Also watch for signs of illness like lethargy, diarrhea, reduced appetite, or fever, which can indicate an infection or other problem requiring treatment. According to WebMD, a temperature over 103°F is considered a fever in dogs. Left untreated, fever and infection during pregnancy can be dangerous for both the mother dog and her unborn puppies.

Contact your vet promptly if vomiting is excessive or accompanied by concerning symptoms. They can examine your dog, provide anti-nausea medication, run diagnostics tests if needed, and address any underlying illness to help ensure the health of mom and pups.

Caring for a Vomiting Dog

If your pregnant dog is vomiting, the best thing you can do is try to ease her stomach by feeding small, bland meals. Start by withholding food for a few hours to give her GI tract a rest. Then, feed several small meals spaced throughout the day rather than one or two large meals. Offer foods like boiled chicken, rice, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs. Avoid fatty, spicy, or rich foods that may further upset her stomach.

Keep plenty of fresh, cool water available at all times. Dehydration can quickly become dangerous, especially for pregnant dogs. Use bowls that can’t be tipped over and change the water frequently. You can also mix the water with low-sodium chicken broth to encourage drinking. Limit exercise and make sure she has a comfortable place to rest. Provide soothing pets and belly rubs. Monitor vomit frequency and watch for signs of blood, which warrant an immediate vet visit. With supportive care at home, vomiting should resolve within a day or two. Call your vet if it persists longer than that. [https://www.quora.com/What-happens-if-a-52-day-pregnant-dog-starts-vomiting-her-food]

a person providing a vomiting pregnant dog with hydration

During and After Labor

It’s common for dogs to vomit during the active stage of labor as contractions cause abdominal discomfort. This is normal. However, post-partum vomiting after whelping can be a sign of complications. Monitor your dog’s vomiting patterns closely.

If your dog vomits during labor, provide fresh water frequently and clean up messes promptly. Help make your dog comfortable by providing soft bedding. Offer ice chips to hydrate without upsetting your dog’s stomach. According to The Spruce Pets, some gentle abdominal massage can also ease discomfort.

Contact your veterinarian if vomiting persists for more than a few hours after delivery. Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other issues. Get immediate veterinary help if vomit contains blood or has a strange color or odor. Your vet can provide medication to settle your dog’s stomach and advise on post-whelping care. With close monitoring and prompt treatment when needed, most dogs recover well from vomiting associated with labor.

Puppies Vomiting

It is common and normal for puppies to vomit occasionally, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Puppies have sensitive stomachs and are still building up immunities, so mild vomiting is often harmless. According to lemonade.com, puppies may vomit up food that isn’t agreeing with their stomachs as their digestive system develops.

Puppies also gag and vomit frequently as they explore their world. Chewing on inappropriate items, eating too quickly, motion sickness during travel, and other factors can trigger vomiting. According to Chewy, puppy vomiting after eating or drinking too quickly is very common and not normally a cause for concern.

However, it’s important to monitor vomiting puppies for signs of dehydration. If vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, the puppy seems lethargic or stops nursing, vomit contains blood, or other worrying symptoms arise, contact your veterinarian immediately.

With attentive care and monitoring, puppy vomiting usually resolves on its own. Provide small, frequent feedings of easily digestible food. Make sure the puppy stays hydrated by providing electrolytes if vomiting persists. Clean up vomit promptly to prevent re-ingestion. Call the vet if you have any concerns about the puppy’s health or hydration levels.

Postpartum Care

It is crucial to monitor both the mother dog and her puppies closely in the days and weeks after giving birth. Some key aspects of postpartum care include:

Monitor the mother dog’s health. Look for signs of infection in the mammary glands, discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy or other concerning symptoms. Take the mother dog’s temperature daily for the first week after whelping. Contact the vet if it is over 102°F.

Monitor the puppies’ health. Make sure they are nursing, warm, and gaining weight. Watch for dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy, which require veterinary attention. Weigh puppies daily to ensure weight gain.

Call the veterinarian promptly if you have any concerns about the health of the mother or puppies in the days and weeks after birth. It is much better to seek help early on than to wait until more serious problems develop.

With close monitoring and prompt veterinary care if needed, the mother dog and puppies have the best chance of recovering well after the birth.

When to Call the Vet

If your female dog experiences excessive vomiting before, during, or after giving birth, it’s important to contact your veterinarian. Frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other complications that require prompt medical attention.

According to the AKC, you should call your vet immediately if the vomiting is recurrent, projectile, or your dog shows signs of being in pain or distress while throwing up. Puppies that vomit repeatedly should also be evaluated by a veterinarian right away.

text listing signs like projectile vomiting that warrant a veterinary visit

The American Animal Hospital Association recommends seeking veterinary care if your dog vomits more than two times in one day or if the vomiting persists beyond 24 hours. Vomiting that contains blood or has a strange color can also indicate a serious health issue requiring medical intervention.

Additionally, signs of illness in the mother dog or her puppies after birth are cause for concern. Lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, or other concerning symptoms in addition to vomiting warrant a prompt vet visit. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health after whelping.

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