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Watching a dog give birth is an exciting yet scary experience for any pet owner. If it is your first time, this is certainly going to blow your mind.
As soon as the dam goes into labor, you almost go into labor yourself.
You have to stay close to her and make sure she’s able to give birth to all her puppies with no issue at all.
If she runs into problems, you should rise to the occasion and help or bring in the pros.
Among the many confusing things about whelping in dogs is how long apart puppies come out.
Most dogs have litters of more than two. Some carry as many as ten live puppies in them.
During birth, the puppies will exit one by one. Sometimes they take a few minutes before coming out but other times nothing seems to happen for days.
This is a real concern for experienced and novice pet parents alike.
So, Can Puppies Be Born Days Apart?
According to PetMD, puppies are born 45-60 minutes apart.
However, it is not unusual for the dam to take a long break of up to four hours between puppies. This is true if she has a big litter.
The birthing process is exhausting for the poor dog. Often, she will give birth to the first set of puppies pretty quickly before taking a long break to recharge.
Once she feels she can push some more, she will birth the remaining puppies.
It is thus safe to say that it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours between birthing breaks. This means that puppies cannot be born days apart.
During birth, the dam loses the ability to support live puppies inside of her for a day. This is because the placenta, water sac, and other stuff used to support life in the uterus are interrupted. If a puppy stays in for a day or more, she may die.
Ideally, the entire birthing process should not go for more than 24 hours.
Anything beyond 24 hours should be an emergency case and the dam will require a C-section to get her puppies out.
If nothing is done, the poor puppies may not live to see another day.
If dead puppies remain in the uterus for too long, the dam may also lose her life to infections.
Although most dogs give birth to littermates within 45 minutes to four hours, there are a few exceptions.
You have probably come across pet parents who claim that their dog gave birth to puppies 1-2 days apart.
A huge majority of the puppies were already dead by the time they were delivered simply because they couldn’t survive without mum’s supply of nutrients and oxygen.
However, some people were shocked to find another live puppy one or two days after the dam started the delivery process.
The only way to explain this is that the placenta remained intact during whelping.
As a result, the dam could still supply oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical vessels of each puppy thereby keeping them sustained.
If the placenta comes loose and the pup remains in the uterus too long, it will certainly die.
However, if (for some miracle) the placenta isn’t tampered with, puppies will survive a while longer.
Please note that this is a very rare exception and happens in a tiny percentage of dogs.
Related Post: Why Did My Dog Only Have One Puppy?
When to Worry
As soon as your dog enters into labor and delivers her first puppy, expect more deliveries every 45-60 minutes.
As said before, waiting for hours is common for dams with extremely large litters.
The process of pushing the little ones can be quite draining for the mom thus the long breaks.
If your pet goes for more than four hours and you are sure there are more puppies to be delivered, contact your vet.
Chances are that there are complications in the birthing process. Perhaps a puppy is stuck in the birth canal and the dam is unable to push it out.
This is especially true if the dam is straining for over thirty minutes with no pup coming out while her contractions are strong.
The whelping process – from start to finish should take 12-24 hours only.
Through an ultrasound, you should be able to know how many puppies your dam is carrying.
When she starts to deliver them, take a headcount until she’s done delivering and then ensure the placentas have dropped before you call it a day.
If anything goes amiss, don’t wait. Call for help.
There it is – the answer to the question of whether puppies can be born days apart or not.
The truth is that birthing in canines takes a maximum of 24 hours and nothing more.
The time between giving birth to puppies shouldn’t go beyond four hours.
Count yourself lucky if your dam gives birth to puppies days apart because that is not in the normal range.
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.