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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Panting After Giving Birth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Shih Tzu

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Two Years

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Panting And She Gave Birth Yesterday Night But Her Temp Is 101.5

lot of panting after giving birth one day ago but her temp is 101.5

Sept. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If she is eating and drinking normally, has a normal energy levels and is feeding her puppies normally, it seems that she may be doing fine. Things to worry about what include not eating or drinking, being lethargic, vomiting or having diarrhea, or not being able to feed the puppy. I hope that all goes well for her and her puppy.

Sept. 20, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Two Years

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Noisy Breathing

Why does she breath so heavy while laying with her newborn puppies

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. She may be breathing heavy because she just had puppies. If you think that she is breathing heavier than normal, or she seems to be in distress, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as I cannot see her. I hope that all goes well for her and her puppies.

July 30, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Four Years

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Panting

My dog gave birth to her 11 puppy overnight. Today she has been heavy panting. She has been nursing her puppies, getting up to use that bathroom, although it’s been a little hard getting her to get up, which is understandable. The panting has me worried, she has been panting all day

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello Your pet could be panting from some type of pain or discomfort, or from a fever. If you can check her rectal temperature, it should be 100.0 to 102.5. You should take her in for an exam with a veterinarian. With her having such a large litter, she should have her calcium levels checked, as they can get low with many nursing puppies. Good luck.

July 18, 2020

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Pomeranian

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Five Years

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Panting After Birth One Placenta Didn’T Come Out It Has Been 5 Hours

Panting after birth, last puppy at midnight 7/16 however the last placenta didn’t expel

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- I would recommend seeing her veterinarian if she is still acting painful and has not expelled the last placenta. They can take an x-ray to make sure all puppies have been delivered and then give her medication to help expel the placenta. I hope she feels better soon.

July 16, 2020

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Chihuahua

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Three Years

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Restlessness, Panting

She gave birth 3 days ago , she rejected them for about 6 hours but then started nursing them well. Today she's quite restless and crying and leaving them but then going straight back to them? She's bleeding lightly behind also ,

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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Hello, thank you for your question. Without examining your cat, it is very difficult to know what might be going on. Some vaginal discharge can be normal after giving birth, but there is also a risk that there could be a stillborn kitten still in her uterus that is causing problems. Make sure that she is getting plenty of high calorie food and water so that she is not hungry in case that's why she is crying. Otherwise, I would recommend calling your veterinarian right away and letting them know what is going on. I hope your cat starts feeling better soon!

July 15, 2020

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Emma

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Akita Shepherd

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5 Years

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Panting
Lack Of Appetite

Emma gave birth to her first litter today. She had three not issues and seemed to be done. We were told to expect 2 or 3. She was using the washroom without issue. Eating and drinking. Feeding and cleaning pups. Then 9 hours after the 3rd pup she started having contractions again... she had 2 more pups. The first was extremely tiny and came out no problem. The 2nd was much larger then any of the others and we had to help her deliver. Unfortunately both of those pups were still born. What did we miss? Was there something else we should have noticed or been told of? Now she is panting a lot but her temp is normal. She’s not overly interested in food or water but is still looking after the original 3 pups. It’s a long weekend and I unfortunately can’t afford an emergency vet on a long weekend

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london

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Siberian Husky and lab

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1 Year

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Fast Breathing

my dog london gave birth on june 23rd. she gave birth to eight puppies and did well in giving birth. the puppies are 3 weeks old now and she stills pants while trying to sleep. she never pants so hard while sleeping. she eats her dog food and drinks her water. but i don’t know what’s wrong. her heart rate beats fast and she breaths heavily. this never happened before. she’s 1 year and 8 months. i don’t know what’s going on. i need help 😪

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Daisy

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Deer Head Chihuahua

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4 Years

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Panting

My dog had puppies almost 3 weeks ago and everytime she feeds she starts panting heavily I don’t have the money for a vet but I’m worried about her the puppies are getting milk they are growing and she eats and drinks but drinks a lot of water like she just walked two miles or something this is her first litter and she had 7 puppies she’s a deer head so she isn’t tiny I’m just worried something might be wrong after looking it up and reading everyone’s experience with their dogs. Thank you

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Mila

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Pomeranian Mix

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3 Years

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Shaking Shivering And Panting

My dog gave birth 8 days ago to 3 puppies and she just started panting and shaking and its hard for her to walk or jump even when i tried to take her on a walk she refused. Last year when she gave birth for the first time the same thing happened and i started giving her medicine with calcium and vitamins, i was just wondering if i should just give her the medicine and see what happens or immediately take her to the vet ? Thank you so much

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Sadie

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American bully

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10 Months

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Panting And Acting As If Shes Has Push

My dog gave birth over 24 hours ago and now excessively panting and acti g as if she had to push i made sure all the placenta was out and there are no other puppies in the womb this.is her first litter

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