Why Your Pregnant Dog has Heavy Panting and Breathing

Pregnant Puppies

Heavy panting and breathing in your pregnant dog might seem worrisome, but these are actually common signs you should be looking out for. There are a couple different reasons why heavy breathing and panting occur that we wanted to talk to you about. If you have a pregnant dog, you should be aware of the causes of this to ensure a safe and healthy delivery.

Your Dog is Feeling Restless from the Labor Contractions

If this is your first time dealing with a pregnant dog, then you might want to know about the various stages of labor. During the initial stages of labor, your dog will likely begin panting rapidly and also moving around a lot. This is because your dog is restless from the beginning stages of labor contractions.

Most people will not visually see the smaller contractions, but panting and breathing heavier are common indications that the first stage of labor has started. The first stage should last less than eight hours, and then the second stage will begin.

Your Dog is About to Give Birth

The second stage of labor is when your dog is actually about to give birth, and heavier panting than before will be noticeable. Your dog will also be a lot more alert during the second stage of birth. You will visibly see the contractions during this time. Once the second stage begins, a puppy is likely to come out within 15 to 20 minutes of straining.

You want to watch your dog to ensure that the birthing process goes smoothly, but also give her a little privacy while she engages in the final stages of labor. The sac is released from the vagina after a few strains, and inside this sac is the puppy.

Your Dog Has Iron Deficiencies

Iron deficiencies such as anemia might be behind your dog panting heavily and breathing heavier than usual. You will notice the more rapid and heavy breathing, a lot of panting, depression, anorexia, weakness, and overall lethargy if your dog has an iron deficiency. Tarry and dark-colored stools are also common as well as an increased likelihood of developing other illnesses or diseases.

Iron deficiency can be caused by numerous issues such as your dog having a parasite that sucks blood, which includes hookworms, fleas, and ticks. Lymphoma, masses in the intestines or stomach, and a urinary tract infection also could cause an iron deficiency.

Treatment will consist of treating the underlying medical issue and a blood transfusion might be needed if your dog has lost a lot of blood. Regular injections of iron and oral medications afterward help with management of the iron deficiency.

Signs that a Dog is About to Give Birth

If your pregnant dog is panting and breathing heavily, these are two significant signs that labor is about to happen. A few days before your dog is about to give birth, you might notice her temperature is lower than normal. It might go from the normal 102 to about 99 or 100. The temperature being below 99 is a sign that labor is likely to be less than 24 hours away.

Beyond that, you will notice your dog is restless and seems lethargic, which happens the day labor is going to happen. Your dog might vomit up food from earlier in the day, is more sleepy, and also will begin whining. It will become more obvious as time goes on that your dog is progressing in the process. Being highly alert and very heavy panting are in the second stage of labor, which means birth is only a matter of minutes away.

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John at My Pet Child

is the Founder of My Pet Child, where he shares his tips on living with a dog in an apartment.

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9 months ago

my dog has been sleeping a lot an she’s breathing so heavy. i can see that she is soon to give birth but am worried !

9 months ago
Reply to  sash

Hey, my dog is doing the same thing. She’s almost there. She might have them today or tomorrow.

Edith Jones
Edith Jones
4 months ago

My dog is laying around and breathing heavy ,I’m scared. What should I do….She’s in my dining ..

Tonya ONeill
Tonya ONeill
2 months ago
Reply to  Edith Jones

Hello, I have a pregnant beagle and she has just started breathing heavier and laying around more right after she gets up. We are estimating her to be about 50 days pregnant. This is her first litter.

2 months ago

Please help delivering a baby puppy please