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C-Section for Dogs: Everything You Should Know

While it can be amazing to watch your dog give birth, some dogs will need a c-section. Today, our Rancho Cucamonga vets share everything you'll need to know about c-sections for your dog, including how to prepare. 

What Natural Labor Looks Like & When to Seek Emergency Help

About 64 days after your dog becomes pregnant, it will be time for her to give birth. There are a few signs to look for that point to a dog being in labor. 

When it's time for your dog to give birth, you may notice that she seems far more restless than normal and she may start to paw at her bed to make a nest. 

Starting about 24 hours before going into active labor, your female dog will have limited to no appetite. She may have mucus discharge, and start to get sick and vomit. Your dog may start licking her vulva. All of these changes are normal for natural labor and are not signs you need to be concerned about. 

Signs of Complications 

Most times, your dog will be able to give birth at home with little to no help from you. However, sometimes dogs have complications arise and will need to be brought to a vet's office. There are some signs to watch for when your dog is in labor, to determine whether she needs extra assistance from you and your Rancho Cucamonga vet. 

The first thing you'll need to know is whether she has been pushing for extended periods. While pushing can take time, it should not take your dog more than 45 to 60 minutes to push out each puppy and contractions should not last more than 45 minutes before the first puppy arrives. 

If your dog is displaying signs of extreme fatigue, vomiting or pain, or there is excess bloody discharge, this may be because the puppy is stuck in the birth canal and blocking other puppies from being born as well. You may need to seek veterinary medical attention. 

While the amount of time that passes between each puppy's birth can vary, it can last as long as 4 hours. If you're able to see or feel more puppies but it has been more than 4 hours since the last puppy was born, then it's time to go to your Rancho Cucamonga vet as soon as possible. 

When are Elective C-Sections Recommended?

While dogs normally have healthy pregnancies and can generally go unaided, an elective c-section may be recommended in some cases. Your dog may need a scheduled c-section surgery if:

  • Your dog suffers from any health conditions that can affect labor
  • The puppies are larger than average
  • Your dog is only having one puppy. If there is only one puppy, your dog's body may not produce enough cortisol to induce natural 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?

There is no set answer as to how many c-sections a dog can safely have. That said, many vets believe that a dog should not have more than 2 or 3 c-sections in a lifetime. Having more than 3 may affect your dog's health and that of her future puppies. 

How to 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). It is better to have your dog as clean as possible for the surgery. Also, it could be a while before you can bath her after the surgery,
  • 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 with them, 
  • Your dog should only have water before the c-section.

What to bring to the surgery? 

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, both for comfort and cleaning,
  • Your dog's crate,
  • A heating pad for the puppies,
  • A basket or box to carry to the puppies' home afterward.

What happens on the day of the surgery? 

When you take your dog to the vet’s office the staff will be ready to start and your dog 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 for a short time. Once the puppies have all been cleared, you can take them home.

How much can a c-section cost?

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.

What should you expect during the 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. 

It is important to follow your vet's instructions carefully! They can help you spot any issues right away and prevent any further complications.

Do you suspect your dog is in labor, in pain or may need a c-section? Contact our Rancho Cucamonga animal hospital to learn more about our veterinary surgical services and commitment to excellent care.

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Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rancho Cucamonga companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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