A dam approaching full term, day 60, will start to shed her plug. Notice the dried-up mucus plug. This plug can shed, or shed a little daily for up to a week before delivery; four to five days prior is very common.
A mucus plug and a full-term dam’s vulva
Dam's vulva at day 59—The day or two before whelping you will notice the area around the vulva swelling up and becoming two to three times more puffy.
Dam's vulva day 60
Dam's vulva day 60—you can almost see it puff up overnight. This dam is about to go into labor (hoping tomorrow). She has five pups to deliver.
Shaved belly of a full-term dam
This dam is full term, on day 60. She has shed her mucus plug, so I figure she will have her pups one to three days from now.
Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese
Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.