Natural ways to induce labor for dogs

Under usual circumstance, it is advisable to leave nature takes it course. In other words, it is best to leave your female dog to give birth at their own time. Of course, there are situation that you want to induce labor for your dogs. Hence, in this post, you will learn how to induce labor on a female dog at home.

What is initiation of labor?

In most dogs, the process of labor and delivery of canine is a simple process that begins without any help. But there are some instances when this process does not occur at the normal timeline. The normal gestation period in dogs is 63 days or 9 weeks. In some cases, the dog past the 65 days of pregnancyand it is important to induce labor in them.

Initiation of labor procedure in dogs

If you notice that your dog’s temperature has dropped, it is time to use natural ways to induce labor. You can take your dog’s rectal temperature before initiation of the labors. Normally, the rectal temperature drops two degrees before initiation of labor. You should not be overly worried until she completes the 65 days of gestation. Also, an X-ray of your dog at around 6th week is also helpful to determine the exact date of delivery. You can also determine the number of puppies with X-ray.

Efficacy of initiation of labor

The efficacy of initiation of labor in dogs depends on several factors. It includes breed, her age, the number of puppies she is carrying and her medical condition. You can find the exact date of delivery by knowing about her breed. If the puppies are not in the normal position or too big in size to pass through the canal, then it can cause death to the mother.

The use of oxytocin is not so effective. Studies have shown that it is effective in only 30 to 40 percent of the cases. In some cases, use of oxytocin results in the delivery of the puppies. As the pregnancy of the dog progresses, it makes her uncomfortable to bear a lot of weight. Carrying the puppies for a long time can also cause complications. It is also necessary to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular checkups during pregnancy.

Phases of Labor in dogs

There are three phases of labor in dogs.  

Phase 1:

This phase has a period of 4-24 hours. In this phase, the pregnant dog’s cervix dilates and relaxes. The pregnant dog may show some signs such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Fast breathing
  • Not eating
  • Shivering
  • Rarely vomiting and diarrhea

These signs are due to uterine contraction and hormonal changes that occur at the time of delivery.

Phase 2:

In this phase, the contraction is too strong, and there should be severe straining. The first pup should be delivering within an hour when the phase has started. If the pregnant dog is straining over an hour, it is time to contact the veterinarian.

Phase 3:

This phase is related to expulsion of placenta. The dog delivers multiple puppies, so the multiple placentas are expelled from the dog’s body. It is important to count the number of placentas expelled from the body. These placentas are attached to the umbilical cords of the puppies. It is also possible that two placentas come out together because two puppies are born together.

You should prevent the dog from eating all placentas, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea in the dog. Usually mother bites the umbilical cord, but if she does not bite it, you should tie it and cut the cord.   

Natural ways to induce dog labor

Here are some natural ways that can help you to induce labor in your dog.

Massage your dog:

Labor is usually initiated when puppies are forced up against the birth canal. You should gently massage your pregnant dog’s stomach. Some owners want to hurry the labor process, so they strongly massage the dog to force the puppies downward. It can cause severe pain that can be dangerous for your dog and the puppies.

Strong massage can also damage your dog’s internal organs. Therefore, a gentle massage eases your dog’s discomfort, uneasiness and makes her feel better.

Herbal excesses:

When the dogs face approaching the labor, they will stop eating. This is one of the major signs of initiation of labor in canines. At this stage, dogs do not desire to feed them food. If you are trying to feed your dog during labor, it is against her natural urge. Most of the dogs do not even drink water. You should offer her water, but you do not get upset if she is not trying.

You can give your dog mixed herbal remedies that can help in initiation of labors. Blue cohosh, black cohosh and red raspberry leaves are considered as important herbs that you can use in your dog’s food. It is also important to mix castor oil in your dog’s food.

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Some owners try to feed your dog with excess herbs and oils to take puppies out of the body. Herbal excesses do not provide an effective result on the reproductive system. It can harm your dog and her puppies.

Moreover, feeding alcohol to your dog may stop the process of labor and cause the death of your dog and her puppies.


Exercise your dog regularly during her pregnancy period is very important for her health. A long but slow walk is effective for your dog to bring on labor. You should also give your pregnant dog different opportunities for exercise. So, initiation of labor can be done with moderate exercise. Some pregnant dogs experience increased pressure on the bladder that causes excess of urine formation. In this case, exercise plays an important role. You should not allow your dog to run excessively because it can be dangerous for a pregnant dog and her puppies.

Introduction of labor by heavy exercise can cause complications such as it causes jamming of puppies. Therefore, hard exercise causes prenatal death of puppies and is also dangerous for their mother.

Massage dog’s nipples:

It is necessary to massage your dog’s nipple to stimulate the production of milk. Massaging of a pregnant dog’s nipple can also release the oxytocin hormone which is effective to induce labor in the dog. If you allow puppies to nurse between births, it will also help to stimulate the labor. You should also consult the veterinarian for this purpose. Veterinarians can provide oxytocin through injection that helps to introduce labor contractions.


Dog’s labor can last for hours. So, patience is the key that helps your pregnant dog to survive. Impatience and silly acts can lead to a dog’s death.

It is not good to stand your pregnant dog on the hind leg or try to pull the puppies out. It can cause damage to the dog’s birth canal that can lead to excessive bleeding and increase the chance of infection.

Puppies are so sensitive and small, so they can be killed when you squeeze them in your fingers. It is harmful when you pull them apart from the natural process. Therefore, you should be patient and give your dog some time to complete the delivery naturally.

Preventive Measures

The labor process is very simple but sometimes it can cause some complications. It is important to make sure that your dog is healthy and also getting a healthy and good quality diet. Age plays a significant role in birthing complications. You should also ensure that if your female dog is small in size, do not breed her with the large size dog. You should take your dog to the veterinarian to make sure that she is pregnant. It may include X-ray to confirm that the dog is pregnant.

The pregnant dog should get rest during the gestation period, it will help to keep the puppies in the normal position during delivery. Supplements are not necessary, but the calcium and dextrose supplement are important at the end of the gestation period because it can provide strength to the muscles and overall health of the pregnant dog. Supplements can put your dog into a better position and reduce the complications of delivery.

Final words

The process of labor and delivery is simple but sometimes it can be difficult due to some complications. At this stage, you have to use natural ways to induce the labor in your dog. The signs of a pregnant dog are dark nipples and a growing belly. Gentle massage to the stomach of the pregnant dog and normal exercise are important. When you use natural ways to initiate the labor, it can cause less complications. It can also be helpful because it reduces the chance of death of your beloved dog.

You should ensure that your dog has easy access to food and water after the delivery. Pregnant dogs require plenty of water for production of milk. It is also important to make sure that the puppies are breathing. Usually, the breathing process is stimulated by the mother’s tongue. If this process has not occurred, you should assist them by clearing your throat or gently shaking the puppies. You can also massage the puppy to initiate the breathing. If your dog shows symptoms of discomfort, lethargy and unusual aggression, it is best to take her to the veterinarian.

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Last update on 2024-04-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Mariana Perez

My name is Mariana, and I'm a huge Terrier lover, I like to contribute to pet blogs to share my own experience and knowledge on caring for dogs as man's best friends. I hope you enjoy my article and if you do, Like and Share to FB or Pinterest is always appreciated.

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