Your pregnant dog looks like she’s ready to give birth at any moment now, and you’re interested in learning ways to induce dog labor at home. I’ll explain the best and safest methods as well as how each one can be done.
What are some ways to induce dog labor at home? Inducing dog labor at home can be done by walking your dog, offering calcium supplements, massaging her abdomen and nipples, and feathering. If she’s ready to give birth, it should happen shortly thereafter.
In this guide, I’ll discuss when your dog should give birth and further explore your options for inducing labor at home, so keep reading!
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Is It Time for My Dog to Give Birth?
If this is your first time handling a pregnant dog, then you don’t want to accidentally push her to give birth before she’s ready.
Premature puppies are born with less hair, and they’re skinnier and smaller too.
Most mothers reject premature puppies, which means the dogs are often left to die, usually of hypothermia. You’d have to take over caring for the puppies since the mother will not.
So when is your dog ready to give birth?
Pregnancy in canines lasts anywhere from 57 to 65 days.
If it’s been at least 63 days and your dog still hasn’t given birth, then it’s time to think about inducing labor at home, but maybe don’t do anything yet.
By day 65, if it still hasn’t happened, then you can try the methods I’m about to discuss.
5 Ways to Induce Dog Labor at Home
Go for a Walk
You have to walk your dog anyway, so you might as well use it as a potential method to induce labor.
Now, when I say go for a walk, I don’t mean anything intensive. You just want to put your pup on a leash you like you always do and take her around the neighborhood for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
You’re not running your dog and you’re not walking for hours either. This is just a light, relaxing, normal walk.
As your dog strolls around, she’ll naturally want to stop to sniff posts and possibly pee as well. Allow this behavior, especially the peeing part.
If not, then the mere act of walking could do it, but it might take several walks for it to happen.
You do want to be prepared for her to possibly break water while walking. That’s right, a dog’s water will break when she’s about to give birth just like what happens to humans.
Besides the usually doggy poo bags, you want to carry a towel or two with you as well.
After all, once the water breaks, the puppies could come very shortly thereafter.
That’s why it’s so important that you don’t walk your dog far from home.
Massage Her Abdomen
A pregnant dog might not want you touching her abdomen. If your dog growls or looks aggressive when you get too close to her pregnant stomach, then you can skip this option and move on to another method I’ve listed.
For those with dogs who don’t mind their abdomens being touched, even in pregnancy, rubbing your dog’s stomach could be a great way to coax her into labor and giving birth.
The way you massage your dog matters. Imagine that you’re a masseuse. You want to use a gentle hand as you massage your dog and follow a specialized technique.
In this case, the technique entails rubbing in small circles on the sides of your dog’s stomach. Find your dog’s ribs and gently rub them first, continuing all the way to the dog’s tail and then back again.
Make sure your rubbing and massaging motions are slow and soft the entire time.
This is another of those methods where you might not see results the first time around. Be patient, keep repeating the massage as long as your dog allows it.
Feathering isn’t a technique to induce labor in every dog, so you want to weigh the pros and cons carefully before you consider this method.
What are the cons, you ask? Well, if feathering isn’t needed, your dog could develop an infection, which will only add to her woes.
Let’s rewind a moment so I can explain what feathering is before you decide if it’s a suitable method for inducing labor in your dog.
Feathering requires you to put on a latex glove, apply some lubricant on one finger (K-Y ought to do the trick), insert the finger into the dog’s vulva, and then feather or tickle the top of the vagina.
Most dog owners who resort to feathering to induce labor will only do so if their dog seems to show no signs of going into labor on her own but is past her due date and visually ready to pop.
Please be sure to dispose of the rubber glove as soon as you’re done using it. Don’t touch anywhere but the vulva with the glove either, as this will reduce the risk of infection.
Massage the Nipples
One of the most reliable and classic methods of inducing labor in a dog is to massage or even lightly squeeze her nipples.
Squeezing can activate the flow of milk, but you only need to do this with up to three nipples at once (two suffices in some cases as well).
Massaging the nipples will trigger the dog’s hormones and could also begin contractions.
I must stress that a gentle handle is best here, just like when you were massaging your dog’s abdomen. You don’t want to hurt or stress out your dog now when she’s in such a fragile state.
If massaging and squeezing the nipples alone isn’t getting the job done, then I recommend following up the activity with a nice, relaxing walk.
Combining this massaging method with the walking method should certainly persuade your dogs body to go into labor!
Offer Calcium Supplements
Before you give your dog any kind of supplements, especially when she’s so heavily pregnant, I would always advise you to contact your vet and ask for their thoughts.
You would not want to do anything to cause harm to your dog or her pregnancy.
Keeping all that in mind, this method entails offering your dog a calcium supplement like Tums. You know, the product you take when you have heartburn? Those Tums.
The calcium in Tums (or other calcium supplements) can boost the strength of your dog’s contractions.
That said, you only want to consider this method once your dog has already gone into labor and is having weak contractions. She should have already birthed at least one puppy as well.
As for how many Tums your dog needs, that depends on her breed and size. I would again ask for your vet’s advice.
Of course, if your vet dissuades you from offering your dog any kind of supplements this late in the game, then you’ll have to use the other, more natural methods for inducing dog labor at home instead.
A Warning About Using Herbal Products to Induce a Dog’s Labor
It’s not solely calcium supplements you have to be on the lookout for when trying to induce labor in your dog.
You might have heard stories of dog owners giving their pregnant pups herbal oils or laxatives.
The reason is that a pregnant dog may stop eating and drinking before she enters labor. By using herbal oils or laxatives, the idea is that the puppies can be forced out.
However, nothing good comes of this. Herbal oils often contain alcohol, and if your dog ingests this, she could possibly die and so could her puppies.
At the very least, your dog will be in incredible pain and still will not give birth, so please don’t try it.
What If My Dog Still Doesn’t Want to Give Birth After In-Home Induction?
When trying to induce dog labor at home, patience is absolutely key. As I’ve indicated throughout this entire article, you’ll often have to repeat the recommended methods several times for them to work.
Yet what if, even though you tried everything a few times over, your dog still isn’t giving birth?
When is it still normal versus a medical emergency?
That’s a great question.
- Prolonged labor that lasts more than 24 hours is another red flag that likely requires medical intervention.
- Another instance in which it’s time to get the vet involved is if more than 70 days have passed and your dog still hasn’t gone into labor.
In this case, although you might have wanted your dog to give birth at home, she’ll likely have to do so at the vet’s office or local animal hospital instead.