Dog Breeding – Signs of Whelping
Two to three days before the dam is due to deliver, start taking her rectal temperature each morning. Twelve to 18 hours before labor begins, the rectal temperature drops from a normal range of 100° to 102.5°F (37.7° to 39.2°C) to 99.5°F (37.5°C) or below. This drop may not occur; if it does, it’s so small that it can easily be missed. Don’t assume that a normal rectal temperature means she won’t deliver soon. As the day of whelping approaches, restrict her to the house.
Twelve to 24 hours before whelping the dam loses her appetite, becomes more active and restless, perhaps rummages in closets, digs in the garden, or scratches up her owners’ bed. Remind her that the whelping box is nearby. An experienced dam usually takes to it without difficulty. But if she decides to have her puppies in some other spot, move the entire family to the whelping box as soon as she finishes delivering.