What Are Bad Signs after A Dog Gives Birth

icon April 29, 2024

Welcoming a litter of puppies into the world is an exciting and heartwarming experience. However, it's essential to remember that the postpartum period for a mother dog, also known as a dam, can be challenging and fraught with potential complications. While many births proceed smoothly, there are instances where problems may arise that require immediate attention. Understanding what constitutes bad signs after a dog gives birth is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and her puppies.

What Are Bad Signs after A Dog Gives Birth?

What Are Bad Signs after A Dog Gives Birth

1. Excessive Bleeding:

   One of the most concerning signs after birth is excessive bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage. While some bleeding is normal during and immediately after delivery, it should taper off within a few hours. If you notice persistent heavy bleeding, it could indicate a retained placenta or uterine tear, both of which require veterinary intervention.

2. Lack of Maternal Instincts:

   Mother dogs typically exhibit strong maternal instincts, including grooming and nursing their puppies. A lack of interest in caring for or feeding her offspring could be a sign of maternal neglect or underlying health issues. This behavior warrants immediate veterinary assessment to ensure the puppies receive proper care and nutrition.

3. Fever or Hypothermia:

   Monitoring the dam's temperature is essential post-birth. A fever may indicate an infection, such as metritis, a uterine infection that can develop after whelping. On the other hand, hypothermia, indicated by a subnormal body temperature, can result from inadequate heating or sepsis. Both conditions require prompt veterinary attention to prevent further complications.

4. Refusal to Eat or Drink:

   Loss of appetite or refusal to drink water is a concerning sign in any animal, especially a recently whelped mother. Dehydration and malnutrition can exacerbate postpartum complications and hinder milk production, impacting the health of the puppies. Prompt veterinary evaluation is necessary to address any underlying issues causing the loss of appetite.

5. Vaginal Discharge:

   While some discharge is normal after giving birth, particularly in the first few days, foul-smelling or pus-like discharge could indicate an infection. Conditions such as pyometra, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection, may present with abnormal vaginal discharge and require immediate veterinary treatment.

6. Signs of Pain or Discomfort:

   Watch for signs of discomfort or pain in the mother dog, including restlessness, vocalization, or guarding of her abdomen. These symptoms could indicate postpartum complications such as uterine rupture, mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), or even eclampsia (milk fever). Timely veterinary intervention is crucial to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications.

7. Weak or Unresponsive Puppies:

   While the focus is often on the mother dog's health, the well-being of the newborn puppies is equally important. Weak or unresponsive puppies may indicate issues such as hypoglycemia, inadequate milk supply, or infectious diseases passed from the dam. Prompt veterinary assessment can help identify and address any issues affecting the puppies' vitality and survival.

8. Aggressive Behavior:

   While it's natural for a mother dog to be protective of her puppies, excessive aggression towards humans or other animals could indicate underlying stress, pain, or hormonal imbalances. Aggressive behavior should be addressed promptly to ensure the safety of both the dam and her litter.

9. Persistent Lethargy:

   While some degree of fatigue is expected after giving birth, persistent lethargy or weakness beyond the initial postpartum period may signal underlying health issues such as anemia, sepsis, or eclampsia. Veterinary evaluation is necessary to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

How Do I Know My Dog Is Okay After Giving Birth?

After your dog gives birth, there are several signs you can observe to ensure she is okay:

1. Maternal Behavior:
Watch for signs of maternal instinct, such as grooming, nursing, and staying close to her puppies. A mother dog that is attentive and caring towards her litter is generally a positive indication of her well-being.

2. Normal Vital Signs:
Monitor her temperature, pulse, and respiratory rate. Normal ranges vary by breed, but any significant deviations could indicate underlying issues requiring veterinary attention.

3. Appetite and Hydration:
Ensure she is eating and drinking normally. A healthy postpartum dog will have a healthy appetite and stay adequately hydrated.

4. Physical Condition:
Check for signs of physical discomfort or distress, such as restlessness, panting, or vocalization. Signs of pain or distress could indicate postpartum complications that need veterinary assessment.

5. No Abnormal Discharge:
While some discharge is normal, watch for any abnormal vaginal discharge, such as foul odor or pus-like discharge, which could indicate infection.

6. Healthy Puppies:
Monitor the vitality and activity levels of the newborn puppies. Healthy, active puppies who are nursing and gaining weight are a good sign that the mother is providing adequate care.

7. Stable Emotions:
Assess her emotional state for signs of stress, anxiety, or aggression. A calm and content demeanor suggests she is comfortable and coping well with motherhood.

Regular observation and quick action if you notice any concerning signs will help ensure your dog's postpartum recovery is smooth and successful. If you have any doubts or concerns about your dog's health after giving birth, consult your veterinarian promptly for guidance and assistance.

How Long Do Dogs Bleed After Giving Birth?

Dogs typically experience vaginal discharge, resembling bleeding, for about 1 to 3 weeks after giving birth. Initially, the discharge is red or brownish-red, gradually transitioning to a pinkish or straw-colored discharge as the days pass. If bleeding persists beyond three weeks, or if it becomes excessive or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's important to consult a veterinarian for evaluation and guidance.


Monitoring the postpartum period closely and being vigilant for bad signs after a dog gives birth is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother dog and her puppies. Prompt veterinary intervention can help identify and address any complications, ultimately improving the chances of a successful outcome for the entire litter. Remember, when in doubt, it's always best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the optimal care and welfare of your canine companion and her newborns.

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