The pre-whelp temperature drop is a pivotal and exciting moment for any responsible breeder, as it’s a key sign that a dam is nearing her time to deliver her litter.  

From working with 100s of breeders, we know that this moment is usually filled with anticipation and anxiety. As she readies herself for labour, responsible breeders must prepare for every eventuality and be equipped with the right tools, knowledge and techniques to ensure a successful and healthy birth. 

Tracking your pregnant bitch’s temperature is a crucial part of this.  

In this article, we outline how you can quickly, easily and reliably monitor the pre-whelp temperature drop. 

Pregnany poodle in labour
Photo by Stephanie Poot

What is the pre-whelp temperature drop? 

Towards the end of a dam’s gestation, there can be a noticeable drop in her body temperature that signals labour is on the horizon.  

Dogs typically have a temperature ranging from 37.8 to 39.2°C (100 to 102.5°F), but as they approach labour, the temperature can drop by 1 to 3 degrees within 24 hours.  

This drop in temperature correlates with the decline in progesterone levels. As these hormone levels decrease, her body readies itself for the start of contractions. 

However, it’s important to note that this drop can often be subtle and brief – so it’s easy to miss. Also, it shouldn’t be the only indicator you rely on. Remember, always be ready and prepared for the unexpected! 

Poodle mother with pup
Photo by Stephanie Poot

How to monitor the pre-whelp temperature drop  

Consistency is key.

Starting around a week from her calculated due date, begin taking your dog’s temperature twice a day. Ensure measurements are taken around the same time each day for more accurate readings.  

Pregnancy Countdown in Breedera

Use a reliable digital thermometer.

For more accurate readings, opt for a digital thermometer and rectal measurements. Make sure the thermometer is clean and lubricated before gentle insertion.  

Poodle mother feeding pups
Photo by Stephanie Poot

Record your dog’s temperature.

A continuous log of temperatures can help you identify the temperature drop as soon as it occurs.  

Digital logging, rather than scribbling it down on paper, allows you to keep everything in one place and look back at your readings later without the risk of losing your notebook or file. 

The Breedera dog breeding app gives you the ability to quickly input readings and create a clear visual representation of your temperature readings.  

What’s more, coloured markers indicate the typical temperature range for your dog and the expected whelping phase range.  

Temperature tracking is FREE in Breedera.

Tracking the pre-whelp temperature drop in Breedera

Don’t rely solely on temperatures! 

While the pre-whelp temperature drop can give you some indication that your dam’s about to go into labour, it shouldn’t be the only sign you rely on.  

Breedera allows you to intuitively monitor all signs of labour with clarity and confidence, allowing you to track all aspects of your dogs’ and litters’ health and wellbeing. Find out how Breedera can support you when you’re expecting a litter.

We’re on a mission to calm the chaos of breeder life, giving you peace of mind that all your essential breeding records are in one easy-to-access place and enabling you to spend more time with your beloved animals. 

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*The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content shared here is based on thorough research, personal experiences and the collective knowledge of the dog breeding community.

While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date information, the field of veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, and individual cases may vary. Always seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your dog’s health or well-being.

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