Pregnant Dog Panting But Not Pushing: What Are The Reasons?

Numerous pet owners display their worry when seeing their pregnant dog panting but not pushing.

Don’t panic soon, as your canine might face trouble or suffer from something, and this post will elaborate on these common causes.

I also introduce a load of symptoms, telling that your canines are in labor so that you can take some prompt action. Keep scrolling down for further information!  

A Pregnant Dog Panting But Not Pushing – What Are The Reasons? 

pregnant dog panting but not pushing

When your dog pants but refuses to push during pregnancy, she is just feeling hot or worried about the upcoming delivery.

But sometimes, she is probably enduring the acute pain, so be aware of her reaction when petting her.

Let’s take a closer look at each case.

Enduring The Acute Pain

Dogs are excellent at hiding their pain, especially when the pregnancy sets in.

They don’t want to tell the world they are experiencing agonizing torture, and you must observe closely to realize it.

A common sign lies in heavy breathing or panting. When they undergo extreme agony, like a wound or a lesion, their physical and mental states are greatly burdened.

In other words, they feel uncomfortable, and panting helps relieve their stress effectively and is not commonly accompanied by pushing.

But panting also consumes a lot of energy. So during the time they are suffering the pain, they might give up pushing because of tiredness.

Feeling Worried

Heavy panting is also indicative of uneasy feelings.

During pregnancy, your canines could encounter many issues, like excessive licking around their genitals, inflammatory body spots, bleeding from organs, etc. 

My pregnant dog also got into other troubles as well, including the loss of appetite, a raging fever, louder and more frequent whining, or reduced movement.

When these signs first appeared, my furry friend started to panic. As mentioned earlier, panting is a viable remedy to these stresses, and they may also stop pushing due to fear.     

Feeling Hot

Unlike humans, a typical dog’s body does not have minute glands responsible for producing sweat and lowering the body’s temperature.

For that reason, it must thermoregulate in a different way via the panting operation.

When they breathe quickly with their mouths open, the excess moisture’s evaporation will be facilitated, helping cool down their bodies.  

A pregnant dog can get more hot flushes, as its body temperature is likely to heighten because of the exertion. Following is an increase in the panting frequency.

If it begins labor, it could breathe more quickly and stop pushing at some points.

Why Do Pregnant Dogs Pants? Other Rationales? 

pregnant dog panting but no contractions

Apart from the above causes, below are other reasons that many people report about their pregnant dog panting.

A Sign Of Labour

Heavy panting often occurs when your canine prepares to enter the parturition time.

Hence, you need to know all the common symptoms related to the labor, thereby undertaking proper measurements if required.

One of the most notable symptoms is nesting. Your dog always wants to find a cozy and familiar place to give birth, as it can feel the support from its owners.

My dog was doing the same before entering the upcoming labor, which made me feel quite emotional.

Suppose you don’t see your canine pushing; the gestation period might not yet elapse, so pushing in this situation is futile. Or, in the worst case, there is at least one fetus miscarried.

If this situation persists, call your vet immediately.

Canine Eclampsia

Eclampsia is the onset of seizures and a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. It usually happens after the labor period because your dog seems nearly exhausted.

But it is not rare when eclampsia comes during pregnancy.

This condition is very dangerous, as it renders a low blood-calcium level and even wreaks havoc on your dog’s health.

An obvious symptom of eclampsia is heavy panting, which shows that a female canine is very fatigued. You can also notice some jerking movements but don’t mistake them for pushing.

Iron Deficiencies

The iron shortage is induced by a parasite that sucks blood, such as ticks, fleas, or hookworms. Other ailments affect the iron amount, like urinary tract infections or masses in the intestines.

The deficiency in iron causes your pregnant dog to pant more heavily than usual.

It results in other problems, which can be enumerated: depression, muscle weakness, anorexia, and overall lethargy.

If your pet shows some signs of insufficient iron, take it to a reliable hospital, and a qualified vet will perform a general check-up.

What Are Some Signs Of A Canine In Labor?

Below are some common symptoms indicating your dog is in labor that you should pay close attention to.

Temperature Drop

A normal temperature range for canines is about 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yet, when your dog is with child and ready to enter labor, its body temperature could drop to 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which is boiled down to the diminished progesterone levels.

Last year, when my dog was waiting for the impending birth, I touched its body and felt surprised by how cold it was. 

At that time, I was in extreme panic and consulted my veterinarian, but everything was still good because it was just a normal physiological phenomenon.


Nesting is no stranger to pet owners, but this practice may increase in its frequency when the labor is upcoming.

Probably, your female dog feels quite nervous, and she just wants to seek out a familiar place or collect her favorite items.

Doing so is a viable way to mitigate existential stress. It is highly recommended that you be close to your canine by sharing her pain and fear during this time.

Making a whelping box is a good idea, performed by many people.   

Refusing The Food

Pregnancy is also conducive to food aversion.

This mental refusal is primarily caused by the hormonal changes within your canine’s body, and the change becomes clearer, especially when the labor is impending.

However, this sign is not obvious, so you should keep an eye on her due date and combine it with others to reach a correct conclusion. 

Licking Its Genitals

Excessive genital licking is a good sign, telling that your dog is approaching the labor very closely. Yet, this practice can become a health warning if it is not pregnant.

Under this circumstance, you should immediately take your canine to a professional vet for an overall examination.

Besides genitals, nipples are also a body part that dogs often lick on during the due date. Both behaviors are normal during the pregnancy duration, so there is no need to worry.

Nipple Enlargement And A Hardened Abdomen

Suppose the labor is onward; a dog’s nipples may show signs of enlargement because the breeding milk starts to come in.

Mammary glands also grow bigger, notifying you that her delivery is in the next few days.

Another way of knowing whether the labor comes is by touching her abdomen. If you feel it is harder and firmer than before, that is good news!

Behavioral Changes

Modifications in the usual conduct are unavoidable. During pregnancy, your canine feels more uncomfortable, tired, and irritable than normal days.

Hence, it often barks loudly or runs off when a stranger approaches. Some even lick or scratch their privates, but this conduct is often caused by skin infections instead of the pregnancy effects.


Pregnancy has repercussions for the stomach’s functions of delivering food.

Coupled with food aversion, as presented above, your canine may gradually lose its appetite and even vomits in the end.

Other Signs

  • Skin stretching and straining
  • Clingy or distant feelings
  • Display an unusual craving for digging 

What Should You Do When Your Dog Is Panting During And After The Labor? 

pregnant dog panting

Suppose your dog is panting heavily and shows the mentioned signs; you should take her to a veterinarian center immediately to get ready for labor.

Then, call the vet to check her health and turn her around in the correct position.

During the time you are waiting for the gestation duration to pass, always keep an eye on your dog and notice whether something goes wrong or not.

When ready to deliver her puppy, she will strain and push. After about 10 and 30 minutes, you will see the puppy covered by a membrane that must be removed for it to breathe.

You can assist by removing the layer carefully using your fingertips.

After successfully giving birth, she is exhausted and enters the post-labor phase, the placenta period.

At this time, she eats a lot to regain sufficient energy and nutrients. Let her eat freely with sufficient nutrients and closely monitor her behaviors.

Your canine, of course, also wants to rest or carry the pups around to bond with her offspring. It is advisable to prepare a comfortable whelping box for them.

Otherwise, she could reject her puppies and refuse to feed them if she feels upset or irritated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Signs Of Labor Complications?

There are several complications you should take close notice of. 

  • Something goes wrong with the pelvic canal’s size and shape. If the pelvis gets fractured or too narrow due to breed conformation, it will cause difficulties in delivering a born puppy.
  • The French and British bulldog breed could be prone to genetic diseases or fetal dystocia.
  • Uterine inertia is another nagging concern. It occurs when the uterus loses its capacity for contracting and pushing the puppies through the vaginal canal.
  • The large size of puppies makes them unfit in the birth canal. Their wrong positions can cause them to get stuck amid the labor.
  • The puppy’s death is another possible scenario due to the abnormal positioning and uterine contractions.

How Long After Heavy Panting Starts Are The Puppies Born?

The first puppy should be delivered within one to two hours of the onset of heavy panting and contractions. Prolonged periods could affect your dog and its puppy’s health.

After the delivery, it should be in a resting state that can last up to 4 hours. Active straining will start one more time, and more puppies will be born.

Sometimes, the delivery of various puppies happens continuously without any resting phase.

How To Induce Dog Labor At Home?

There are numerous ways to help induce your dog’s labor at home. You should take it for an arduous walk, not a stroll to kick off the stomach.

Then, try massaging its nipples and abdomen gently, which helps stimulate her contractions for the impending labor. Good luck!

The Bottom Line

This article has cleared your confusion on the problem of pregnant dog panting but not pushing.

You won’t panic when meeting the same situation next time, paying attention to the six important reasons in my above list.

In addition, much information about the labor signs, coupled with prompt actions during and after this duration and warnings against possible compilations, is provided.

Hope these details will lend you a helping hand.

Thank you for your genuine support, and have a nice day!


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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