Skip to Main Content Ask About Financing

C-Section for Dogs: Everything You Should Know

Being there as your dog gives birth can be an incredible experience, but what if she needs a C-section? In this blog, our Zeeland vets discuss the signs of complications during birthing to prepare for your pup's c-section.

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. A few signs can point to your dog being in labor. When it's time for your dog to give birth, you may notice her becoming far more restless than normal, and she may begin to paw at her bed to make a nest. 

Her appetite will be limited to non-existent for about 24 hours before going into active labor. Your dog may start to get sick, possibly vomit, or you may notice some mucus discharge. She may also begin to lick her vulva. These things are normal during natural labor and are not signs to be concerned about. 

Signs of Complications 

It's important to note that while most of the time, dogs can give birth at home without any assistance, there are times when complications can arise. If your dog shows signs of struggling during labor, it's essential to take her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

To determine if your dog needs help from you and your vet during active labor, you should look out for specific signs when your dog enters active labor. The first thing to watch is whether she has been pushing for extended periods. While it's common for pushing to take some time, your dog shouldn't take more than 45 to 60 minutes to deliver each puppy. Additionally, contractions should not last more than 45 minutes before the first puppy is delivered.

If your dog displays signs of extreme pain or fatigue, vomiting, and excess bloody discharge, it's recommended to seek medical attention because the puppy may be blocking their siblings from being delivered by being stuck in the birth canal. 

The time between each puppy's birth will vary; this timeframe can be as long as 4 hours. If you know, can see, or feel that there are more puppies, but it has been more than four hours since the last puppy was born, it's time to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

When are elective cC-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. If there is only one puppy, your dog may not produce enough cortisol to induce natural labor
  • 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?

There is no specific answer to how many c-sections a dog can have, but most veterinarians suggest that a dog should not have more than 2-3 c-sections during their lifetime. Having more than three c-sections could have an adverse impact on the health of your dog and their 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 one week before your dog’s C-section
  • Apply an Adaptil (DAP) to her collar three days before the C-section
  • You'll want to bathe your dog a few days before the c-section (2-3 days). Having your dog as clean as possible for the surgery is better. 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 cell phone and 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 the puppies home afterward

What happens on the day of the surgery? 

When you take your dog to the vet’s office, it's important to call ahead so that the staff is ready to start as soon as you arrive. Your dog will be taken in for surgery right away. Once in the surgical suite, your dog will be given general anesthesia. Then, the vets will start your dog’s C-section.

After resuscitating the puppies, the vet will remove the placentas and begin taking care of the umbilical cords. They will also 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 vet has cleared all the puppies, you can take them home.

How much can a dog c-section cost?

The cost of your dog's C-section can change due to several factors, including your dog's size and breed, your dog's age, and whether they have any health issues that could cause complications.

What should you expect during the recovery period?

Once you bring your dog and new puppies home, it is crucial to watch over them closely. Your veterinarian will provide detailed instructions on how to care for and keep a close eye on the puppies and their mother, as well as any pain medications prescribed for your dog. It is essential to follow your vet's guidelines closely! Doing so will help you recognize any problems early on and prevent any further complications.

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

At Zeeland Veterinary Service our Zeeland vets are here to help your dog stay healthy, including during pregnancy and birth. Contact us today to ask questions or book an examination.

Caring for Pets in Zeeland

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

Contact Us

(616) 772-4930 Contact