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How long can a dog be in labor?

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A dog can be in labor from two to 12 hours, states K9PuppyDogs.com. For first-time mothers, however, labor can last up to 36 hours. The birth of the first puppy generally takes the longest.

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The Nest recommends watching for several telltale signs that birth is coming soon. A few days before labor begins, a dog's appetite decreases and her stomach becomes more bloated. About 12 hours to 24 hours before productive labor gets underway, a dog's temperature drops to between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If labor does not begin within 24 hours after the temperature drop, a veterinarian should be consulted.

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