C-Section for Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Are you wondering if your dog will need a C-section? In this post, our Stanwood vet will teach you what you need about C-sections for your dog. 

Natural Labor & When To Seek Emergency Help

So it's been about 64 days since your dog got pregnant and now it's time for her to give birth. There are a few things you need to look out for as indications that your dog is in labor. Dogs about to give birth may become far more restless than normal and they may start to nest or paw at their bed, making a nest. Your dog will have limited to no appetite starting about 24 hours before going into active labor. Your dog may vomit. She will have mucus discharge and may start licking her vulva. All of these things are normal for natural labor and are not signs you need to be concerned about. 

Signs of Complications 

Most times your dog can give birth at home with little to no help from you but sometimes complications arise and your will need to bring your dog to your vet. There are signs to look out for when your dog is in labor, to determine if she needs extra help from you and the vet.

The first thing you should be aware of is if she has been pushing for extended periods. Pushing can take time but it should not take your dog more than 45-60 minutes to push out each puppy and contractions should not last more than 45 minutes before the first puppy.

If your dog is showing signs of extreme fatigue or pain, vomiting, and excessive bloody discharge then it may be time to seek medical attention because the puppy could be stuck in the birthing canal blocking all other puppies from coming out as well.

The amount of time between each puppy will vary but it can last as long as 4 hours. If you know, can see, or feel, that there are more puppies but it has been more than 4 hours since the last puppy was born, then it is time to go to your vet.

When Are Elective C-Sections Recommended?

While healthy pregnancies in dogs are very common and generally go unaided, in some cases an elective C-section may be recommended. Your dog may need a scheduled C-section if:

  • Puppies are larger than average
  • She is only having one puppy 
  • Your dog suffers from any health conditions that can affect labor

If your dog needs a C-section it should be scheduled 63 days from her ovulation which would put the procedure about 24 hours before your dog's due date.

How Many C-Sections Can a Dog Have?

When it comes to how many C-sections a dog can have, there is no set answer but many breeds believe that a dog should not have more than 2-3 C-sections in a lifetime. Having more than 3 could affect the health of your dog and their future puppies.

Prepare Your Pet for a C-section 

There are a few things that you should do leading up to your dog’s C-section;

  • Stop using flea/ tick medications 1 week before your dog’s C-section
  • Apply an Adaptil (DAP) to her collar 3 days before the C-section
  • You're going to want to bathe your dog a few days before the C-section (2-3 days)
  • Your dog can not eat on the day of the C-section,
  • If your dog is taking any medications you must speak with your veterinarian before the C-section for instructions on how to proceed
  • Your dog should only have water before the C-section.

You will need to prepare a doggy "go-bag" before you take your dog for her C-section. This bag should include:

  • Your cellphone and cellphone charger
  • A tarp to put down on your car seat for the drive to the vet's office
  • Blankets and towels
  • Your dog's crate
  • A heating pad for the puppies
  • A basket or box to carry to the puppies' home afterward

On the Day of the Surgery 

When you take your dog to the vet’s office she will be taken in for surgery. Once in the surgical suite, your dog will be given general anesthesia. Then the vets will start your dog’s C-section.

After the puppies are resuscitated, the vet will remove the placentas, then begin taking care of the umbilical cords, they will take notes on each puppy as they are delivered, and treat any puppies that appear to have medical conditions. The puppies will be moved to an incubator or warming area. Once the puppies have all been cleared, you can take them home.

Cost of a C-Section 

The cost of your dog's C-section can change due to several factors including the dog pet's size and breed, your dog's age, and if they have any health issues that could cause complications. Consult with your vet on the cost of your specific dog.

C-Section Recovery Period

When you take your dog and the new puppies home, you will need to monitor your dog and her puppies carefully. The vet will provide you with detailed instructions on caring for and monitoring the puppies and mom, as well as any pain medications prescribed for your dog. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your animal's condition.

Worried about your dog and her upcoming new puppies? Contact our office to book an appointment to consult with one of our vets.