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What is Panting After Giving Birth?

Panting is a normal part of giving birth. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how difficult labor and recovery can be for any creature who goes through the process of delivery. During birth and for a short amount of time afterwards, your dog will most likely pant heavily. This is completely normal and should not be a cause of alarm. If, however, the panting continues past the first day and happens frequently during nursing, this is something that will need to be addressed. While stress and exhaustion can be a factor in prolonged panting, more often than not the underlying issues are much more serious. 

  • Incomplete birth 
  • Milk fever
  • High temperature 
  • Heart problems 
  • Pain 
  • Hypothyroidism 

Regardless of what may be causing the postpartum panting, it is always best to get medical attention to your dog as soon as possible. This is because while some issues may not be life threatening immediately, prolonged treatment could potentially cause irreparable damage or death.

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Why Panting After Giving Birth Occurs in Dogs

While panting immediately after birth is a completely normal occurrence, prolonged panting is not. If this issue continues the following day after delivering puppies, your dog may be experiencing problems such as: an incomplete birth, milk fever, a high temperature, heart problems, pain of some sort, or hypothyroidism (rare). 

Incomplete Birth

If panting continues for a few hours after birth, it may be due to an unborn puppy or the late delivery of the placenta. Regardless of which it is, if you are inexperienced with puppy delivery, it would be best to contact your veterinarian for medical support. There are a few medications that can be given to help move the placenta along after it has been determined that there are no puppies remaining within the womb. 

Milk Fever 

Also known as eclampsia, puerperal tetany, and hypocalcemia this condition is indicates low blood calcium levels. One of the major symptoms is excessive panting, and while it may not seem serious at first, prolonged treatment can result in death. Sometimes after giving birth, usually occurring within the first 4 weeks of delivery, a mother dog may have trouble maintaining healthy calcium levels as a lot of her own supply is passed through to the pups within her milk. This leaves the mother with a serious depletion of calcium and can result in milk fever, which will then need to be treated immediately by your veterinarian.  

High Temperature

A high temperature is most always a sign of something more serious and should be checked out as soon as possible. After birth, regular temperature for the mother will be around 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit with a one-degree variation allowed. If it is any higher than this, severe panting will occur. This is an indication that something is severely amiss and you will want to receive medical attention for your pet immediately. 

Heart Problems 

Some more serious problems could appear after birthing due to the stress put upon the body. Examples of heart problems that can cause panting are heartworms, congestive heart failure, and heart murmurs. If you notice that your dog’s panting is paired with lethargy and coughing spells you will want to get her to the vet as soon as possible in order to be diagnosed. 

Pain 

If panting continues longer than a day after birth, there may be some underlying issue that cannot be seen from the outside. Complications from birth can cause a lot of pain to a new mother, and can be quite common with a first pregnancy. Monitor your dog carefully and if the problems persist or worsen, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Hypothyroidism 

Hormones can become unbalanced after birth. The thyroid and pituitary glands are responsible for producing hormones that help to regulate the body. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid develops an issue that causes those hormones to become unbalanced. Metabolism will then slow down and can cause serious issues such as paralysis and coma. One of the most common reasons for this to occur is a decrease in hormone production, such as after a pregnancy. While hypothyroidism can be easily treated, if left unattended it can be deadly. If you notice prolonged panting paired with lethargy, heat seeking tendencies, dry dull coat, loss of muscle coordination, and weight gain without increased appetite you will want to get your dog checked by a vet immediately.

What to do if your Dog is Panting After Giving Birth

Panting is completely normal after birth, so it is extremely important to monitor your dog carefully in order to determine whether or not it becomes prolonged. Typically, the panting should stop a few hours after birth and the mother has time to relax and recover. If it does not stop, however, you will want to seek medical assistance in order to determine the underlying issue of the panting. 

While the act of panting itself is not harmful and should not cause any concern, prolonged postpartum panting can be a symptom of life threatening issues so it is vital to visit your vet in order to receive treatment.

Prevention of Panting After Giving Birth

After birth, mother dog should be monitored constantly for the first week. She should get plenty of rest and return to eating and drinking normally without any complications. If she does not respond quickly and seems lethargic, paired with prolonged panting, a vet may need to be consulted. Checking her teats regularly to ensure that there is no redness, heat, swelling, or irritation can help to catch any sign of milk fever in the early stages. The milk should be white and a normal consistency; any discoloration can mean the presence of bacteria which is harmful to the pups and mother alike. 

By speaking with your vet often and monitoring your female diligently after birth, any complications should be easily caught and corrected. Most pregnancies go smoothly, but for older dogs or a first pregnancy it is always important to pay close attention to the behavior of the mother in order to prevent any sort of injury or fatal problem.

Cost of Panting After Giving Birth

Treatment cost will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s panting. For instance, if your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the cost of treatment can range from $500 to $2000. If your dog is diagnosed with milk fever, the cost of treatment will vary based on living costs and the severity.

Panting After Giving Birth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Snow
Miniature Schnauzer
1 Year
Fair condition
4 found helpful
Fair condition

My dog gave birth to 7 puppies on april 14 to april 15 this 2018. And she is still panting. Should I go to a vet now?

She eats and drinks water but I haven't had the chance to buy a vitamin for the milk for her. Should I go to the vet or should I just buy the vitamin?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Whelping is a painful process and a dog may pant for a few weeks after whelping and isn’t unusual unless other symptoms like smelly discharge, fever, lethargy or other concerning symptoms present as well. Keep a close eye on her and the pups and if you are concerned, pop into visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Emerson
Golden Retriever
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My golden gave birth to her third liter last night. Her previous two liter were both 8 puppies, she and puppies did wonderful. Labor was slow but steady and there were no issues. This time she had a liter of 12 and labor seemed to happen very quickly. I was concerned after the 12th puppy she had some heavy breathing and I noticed her push once but then she calmed down. Slept for several hours with her puppies and had a fairly uneventful day today. However, later today she started panting and breathing very heavy for some time, seeming very restless and even barking some at one point. She's ate and drank wonderful. She's been getting cottage cheese and livers on top of her puppy chow. She's lactating fine, nursing great. She's not leaving her pups to use the bathroom much and def not for very long but aside from the panting and restlessness she seems to be doing good. Her panting so hard and seeming so restless is just concerning to me. Her previous two liters we've simply called our vet to let him know she's had them and how things were going, then taken mom and pups in at 2 weeks and again at 8. My husband thinks I'm overreacting but I'd be devestated if something happened to her. Should I be worried she may have more unborn pups? I'm 100% sure all placentas were expelled as I helped her with every pup and made sure.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping isn’t unusual and may occur for a week or more afterwards; however you should be looking out for other symptoms like vaginal discharge (especially if smelly), fever or anything else not seen with previous litters. Ensure that she is drinking and keeping her appetite as well as tending to her pup; if you have any concerns you should visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Mamas
Mixtur
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting when feed

My dog is a mix she gave brith a week ago to 7 puppies she eats and drink lots of water the puppies are doing well only when she feeds them she starts panting heavy breathing after they finish it stop ?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
I'm not sure from your description, and without being able to see her or examine her, if Mamas is okay, or if she is having a problem. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they can see her, assess her heart and lungs, and make sure that everything is okay with her after having her puppies. I hope that all goes well for her.

Thank you. For folks new to whelping this type of info is invaluable.

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Coco
Chihuahua
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My 5 year old Chihuahua has been panting for 2 days now. She recently gave birth to 3 pup's. She's eating fine and drinking water. It's her first time being a mother. Is this normal?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping is normal for a few days or weeks afterwards due to discomfort from whelping and contraction of the uterus; you should keep a close eye on Coco for the time being but if there are signs of fever, smelly or discoloured vaginal discharge, tremors, breathing difficulties or anything else concerning visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Tia
chihuahua mix
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Panting
Panting more heavy than yesterday

Tia gave birth to 5 pups all weighing at about 3.8 oz, 8 days ago. She doesn't pant consistently but today it's much more heavy.she is using calcium per instructions by her vet. I'm getting concerned, just want to know how concerned I should be. ER Visit or vet in the morning?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping is considered ‘normal’ since there is a certain amount of discomfort and the uterus will contract among other processes; I cannot say whether Tia should be getting calcium supplementation or not unless she has been diagnosed with eclampsia or had eclampsia with a previous pregnancy. If Tia seems in pain or distress you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jada
Alaskan Husky
3 Years
Mild condition
2 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My husky gave birth 2 days ago (6 pups) the run dies yesterday but the other 5 seem to be doing well. I've noticed today that when they nurse she pants very heavily for a few minutes. Shes eaten but hasn't really drank any. I still continue to offer it to her. She's only left their side to quickly go out to use the bathroom twice. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping is normal and may occur on and off for a week or two after whelping and in most cases is attributable to pain; if Jada is otherwise in good spirits I would keep an eye on her but try offering her water with a syringe slowly in the mouth or by mixing some water with some wet food for her. Other causes may be due to fever, retained pup, hormonal issues, low blood calcium (eclampsia) among other causes; if you are concerned, get her checked by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I placed a water dish and small food dish next to the box the mom and puppies were in. The mama just stuck out her head to eat and drink without having to leave her pups. After a few days she relaxed and felt more comfortable leaving them to eat and drink.

@jadasowner is she okay now ? Because my dog is doing the exact same thing and she just gave birth Friday the 13 this month.

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Elsa
Saint Bernard
11 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tired
Panting

Medication Used

none

My St. Bernard just had her first litter of 13 pups, 2 did not make it and we are now 48 hours after delivery, she’s not eating very well and has no interest in drinking, pants very hard during feeding where she’s actually knocking pups off, she seems to not have a huge interest in them right now, cleaned them all very well but doesn’t want to be bothered… if one goes by her face she kind of flicks it away and doesn’t want to lay with them during the day. I’ve just been reading up and will be trying chicken broth in her food in the morning but can I do anything to help her?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping may be considered normal for a few days afterwards due to pain and discomfort associated with delivery; however the loss of interest in drinking is concerning and adding water or chicken broth to some wet food is a good way to sneak water into her. Keep an eye on things but don’t hesitate to visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jazzy
Mixed pitt and boxer
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My female had her pups may 24th. All 8 pups are doing great and she had no complications. I have noticed her panting very heavily this morning and it concerned me. We have them in the shop and it can get hot in mid day time. But we have fans going. She gets plenty of water and puppy chow. Its her first litter.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Jazzy's pups are almost 5 weeks old, and should be weaning and eating on their own at this point. If she is eating and drinking well and acting normally otherwise, you may be fine to monitor her. If she is having problems breathing, she should be seen by a veterinarian.

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Echo
Staffy Bull Bullmastiff
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My dog delivered 8 beautiful puppies on 2/7/2018 but shes panting quiet alot mainly while nursing. Shes feeding pups great cleaning them and very protective when my other dogs come near. We keep my others separated from mom and pups but let them in only for a little at a time. Im concerned about the panting as this is her first litter, and the temperature in out country has been extremely hot for us as its near 30°c so Im not sure if this is why. I could really do with some advice as it would kill me if anything happened to mom and pups l. Thank you in advance.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
If Echo is doing well otherwise, nursing the pups, eating and drinking and bright otherwise, you may be fine to monitor her. Heat will impact her panting, for sure. If she becomes lethargic, stops eating, is having tremors, or isn't nursing, then she should be seen as soon as possible by a veterinarian.

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Krystal
Shi chi
11 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting while nursing

My dog Krystal gave birth yesterday to a litter of 4 puppies. She is a very young dog only 11 months old. She is panting well she is nursing. The pups don't latch onto the back two tears so they are her swollen with milk. I have been giving her a calcium supplement throughout her pregnancy. She is eating well but not drinking as much as I think she should. She refuses to leave her litter. How can I help her and is she okay

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Generally calcium supplementation isn’t required during pregnancy unless a dog has a history of eclampsia with a previous pregnancy. The panting is normal and may occur for days or weeks after whelping; however if other symptoms like fever, foul smelling discharge, seizures or anything else concerning you should visit your Veterinarian. For the two glands which are not being nursed, place a warm compress on them and give a slight bit of relief for her as required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Weenie
Boxer
6 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Excesswive Panting

My dog gave birth to four puppies three days ago. Two were live births, two were dead births. The remaining two died the next day. Mom has been panting non-stop. She was drinking the first day, but has not eaten or drank anything since.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
It is not unusual for a new mother to pant after whelping, it is painful after all and the discomfort may last for a week or so; however a loss of appetite and thirst is concerning as she should be consuming more due to lactation. If all pups have died, Weenie may be missing the pups or there may be another underlying cause like an infection or other cause related to the death of the pups. Since all pups have died and Weenie isn’t eating or drinking you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kali
Blue Heeler
6 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

Medication Used

none

Hi my dog has delivered 6 beautiful pups , she is panting still . We are 37 hours post delivery. She also has some bleeding . Not bright blood at all dark in colour . This is her second litter but I used dark colour blankets the first time . She will eat and drink if I bring it to her hehe doesn’t wanna leave her babies . Quick pee and that’s it . She’s nusring and licking them a lot too .

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting is not unusual after whelping and may occur for a week or so afterwards, whelping is a painful process and is normally done unaided; I would be concerned if Kali has a fever, vaginal discharge (smelly white/yellow), behavioural changes (attacking pups) etc… Keep an eye on her and ensure that she is eating a diet suitable for a lactating mum and is keeping hydrated, if you have concerns you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Klein
German Shepherd
Almost 2 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My dog Klein gave birth yesterday and I think it went well but when she brestfeeds her puppies, she pants notably heavy. Is that okay? I've checked her teats and there isn't any redness or swelling.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
I am sure any human mother can tell you that labour is a painful process even when they are given pain management; so a dog panting after whelping in response to some pain and discomfort isn’t a surprise. Keep an eye on Klein, but you should see the panting reduce over time and it is positive she is allowing nursing. If you have concerns, it would be best to pop to your Veterinarian for a once over to be on the safe side and to put your mind at rest. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

my shi tzhu gave birth 36 hours ago and is still panting, she is nursing fine and have eaten several times and drinking and has both peed and pooed. just not sure about the panting still, should i call vet?

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priscilla
shi zhu
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

my shi tzhu gave birth to her 2nd litter about 36 hours ago and all puppies are fine, (5) she is still panting . she did have a hard labor this time and panted and shook 20 hours before pushing. then took 3 hours to deliver, while first litter was done in less than 2 hours from start to finish. she is eating and drinking and going to bathroom. should i worry about panting? nipples look fine and pups are nursing.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping is a relatively normal reaction since whelping is a painful process (especially when they don’t get any painkillers or epidurals during whelping!); the panting may also be a indicator of ill health including infection, fever, hypocalcemia among other problems. If Priscilla is otherwise in good health, I would keep an eye on her but if you have any concerns you should take her into be checked out. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Gem
Sprocker Spaniel
2 Years
Moderate condition
-1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

Our dog gave birth to her first litter 3 days ago.
9 pups in total but one had a deformity and died shortly after birth and other than that there were no other issues.
She is nursing and is reluctant to leave the litter other than to use the bathroom, and is eating and drinking well.
She is still panting quite heavily about 70% of the time, especially when nursing

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1604 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm glad that the rest of the pups are doing well. It would be a good idea to have her seen by your veterinarian to make sure that she is okay and that all of the puppies are healthy. That is a large number of puppies for Gem to be nursing, and her calcium levels may need supplementation - your veterinarian will be able to examine her, check her calcium levels if needed, and recommend any supplementation that might be required. I hope they all continue to do well!

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Lola
Longhaired chihuahua
7 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My dog gave birth about 30hours ago to 2 puppies, she continues heavily panting on and off mostly while nursing, then when she finishing nursing about 10min after she stops panting. I had her xrayed last night to make sure there were no puppies and the vet advised me she may be panting due to full belly of food, she is eating and drinking very well and pups are nursing very well and little to no crying. The mother has a littke swelling of her back 4 teats but not really red and the milk is white that comes out. Her stomach is now really bloated or swollen, im not sure why this is happening and should i be concerned??

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting for a week or two after whelping isn’t unusual and may be due to pain or discomfort, panting becomes more concerning if other symptoms including smelly vaginal discharge, fever for weakness present as well. Keep an eye on Lola and ensure that she is hydrated and is eating well; if you have any other concerns you should return to your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Bean
Airedale Terrier
2 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Panting

My Airedale just gave birth to a big litter of puppies yesterday. She has been panting a lot on a off, sometimes when they nurse and sometimes after she's done licking them. However, she seems fine despite that, she's eaten, had water, and even got up once. She sleeps too and as I said isn't panting *all* the time. I just want to make sure she'll be okay and I don't want to take her to the vet unnecessarily. Thank you!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3314 Recommendations
Panting after whelping isn’t unusual and may continue for days or weeks on or off after whelping; panting isn’t serious (remember giving birth is painful) but if other symptoms like fever, vaginal discharge (smelly, yellow, white) or anything else concerning visit your Veterinarian. Make sure that Bean is on a good diet suitable for a lactating mother. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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