How Do You Remove Retained Placenta From A Dog Naturally?

What is retained placenta in dogs?

A retained placenta occurs when the placenta is not expelled after whelping, remaining attached to the uterus. This happens in around 10% of canine births according to veterinary research (

If the placenta is not expelled, it begins to decompose inside the uterus. This can lead to a uterine infection called metritis. Metritis is a serious condition that requires swift veterinary treatment with antibiotics and possibly emergency surgery. Left untreated, it can become life-threatening and affect future fertility.

Retained placenta also prevents the uterus from contracting properly to shut off bleeding from the placental attachment sites. This can cause severe hemorrhage and anemia. Thus, it is crucial to identify and treat retained placenta in dogs as soon as possible after whelping.

Signs and symptoms

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of retained placenta in dogs include:

  • Bleeding from the vagina – This is one of the hallmark symptoms. The mother dog may experience bloody vaginal discharge even several days after giving birth. The discharge may be red, brown, or green.
  • Fever – Some dogs with retained placenta develop a fever as the retained tissue becomes infected. Temperatures over 103oF/39.4oC are considered abnormal.
  • Loss of appetite – Dogs with retained placenta often lose their appetite as they feel unwell. They may refuse food and water.
  • Lethargy – Lethargy and weakness are common as the dog’s body attempts to expel the retained placenta. The dog may lack energy.
  • Foul vaginal discharge – A fetid, pus-like green or brown discharge may indicate infection and necrosis of the retained tissue.

Other symptoms may include dehydration, pale gums, rapid breathing, and restlessness. If placenta is retained for more than 24 hours, toxicity can build up and cause sepsis. Seek emergency veterinary care if the dog seems very ill.

When to seek veterinary care

If the placenta is not expelled within 12-24 hours after whelping, it is important to contact your veterinarian. According to WagWalking, the placenta should pass within a few hours after birth, so retained placenta for more than 12-24 hours is cause for concern.

Additionally, if the mother dog shows any signs of infection like fever, lethargy, vomiting, or foul-smelling discharge, take her to the vet right away. Per PetMD, an infection can develop rapidly, so prompt veterinary attention is imperative if these symptoms are present.

A veterinarian can examine the mother dog, determine if the placenta is still present, and prescribe medications like oxytocin or antibiotics as needed. They may also recommend surgery to manually remove the retained placenta if medical management is not successful.

Natural remedies

There are some natural remedies that may help expel a retained placenta in dogs:

Herbs like red raspberry leaf, oregano, and garlic have properties that can stimulate contractions to push out the placenta. Red raspberry leaf can tone the uterus while oregano and garlic have antiseptic effects [1].

Homeopathic remedies derived from plants and minerals may also help strengthen uterine contractions. Common homeopathic treatments include pulsatilla, caulophyllum, and secale [2].

Acupuncture performed by a licensed veterinarian applies pressure to specific points on the body to induce contractions. Needles are placed along the dog’s back and abdomen to stimulate the uterus to contract and expel the placenta [1].

Dietary Changes

Making some adjustments to a dog’s diet after giving birth can help support healing and recovery from retained placenta. According to Wag Walking, one recommendation is to feed a high protein diet in the weeks following the pregnancy.

Protein helps repair tissues and provides important nutrients for milk production if the dog is nursing puppies. Lean meats like chicken, fish, turkey or eggs are good options. It’s best to avoid fatty meats which could cause digestive upset.

Supplements can also be beneficial. Research shows that antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium may help reduce inflammation and support systemic health. These can be given orally or added to food after consulting with a veterinarian on proper dosing for the dog.

Exercise restrictions

It’s important to limit exercise for a dog with retained placenta in the 6-8 weeks following whelping. According to Veterinary Partner, exercise should not be restricted in the first 4-6 weeks of pregnancy, but afterwards exercise should be limited. The Acadian Animal Hospital also recommends restricting exercise after the first 4 weeks of pregnancy in dogs.

In the 6-8 weeks after giving birth, only short, gentle walks should be taken. Intense exercise can cause further health complications in a dog still recovering from retained placenta. Monitoring the dog’s activity levels and limiting intense exercise is key during this delicate recovery period.

Massage techniques

Gentle massage can help stimulate uterine contractions to pass the retained placenta naturally. Here are some techniques to try:

Gentle abdominal massage – Lightly massage the abdomen, moving in a circular, clockwise motion. Start just behind the ribs and work back toward the rear legs. Use minimal pressure and avoid massaging directly over the uterus.

Acupressure points – Applying light finger pressure to specific acupressure points may help stimulate contractions. Some points to try are on the hind legs, between the toes, and on the webbing of the front and hind legs. Consult an acupressure chart to locate the exact points.

Always start with very light pressure and stop if the dog shows any signs of discomfort. Monitor for increased vaginal discharge, which can indicate the placenta detaching. Seek veterinary advice if there is no improvement within 12-24 hours. For more information see: [cite exact url here following standard formatting]

Providing a safe space

It’s important to provide a quiet, comfortable whelping area for a dog with retained placenta to allow them to relax and minimize disturbances. This will help reduce stress levels which can interfere with the body’s ability to expel the placenta naturally.

Set up a nesting area away from high traffic areas of the home using a whelping box or enclosed space. This area should contain soft, clean bedding that absorbs moisture and helps regulate body temperature. Limit access to this space to just the mother dog during the recovery period.

Try to keep noise and activity around the whelping area to a minimum. Exposure to loud sounds, children, or other pets could cause anxiety and prevent the uterus from contracting normally. Make sure the space is in a low-lit, draft-free room that maintains a comfortable ambient temperature.

While continuing to monitor the dog closely, allow her undisturbed rest as much as possible. Quiet time in a peaceful space allows a dog’s body to direct energy toward healing rather than responding to external stressors. Check on her periodically but limit disruptions to her rest, especially immediately after birth.

Providing an appropriate whelping environment helps create the best conditions for a dog’s body to pass the placenta naturally. However, contact your veterinarian if the placenta is not expelled within 24 hours.

Monitoring the Dog

It’s important to closely monitor your dog after a retained placenta to watch for signs of infection or other complications. Keep a close eye out for the following:

  • Fever – An elevated body temperature could indicate an infection like metritis (inflammation of the uterus). Take your dog’s temperature at least twice daily.
  • Discharge – Look for abnormal vaginal discharge, which is often smelly and/or bloody with an infection. The discharge may be green or brown.
  • Lethargy – If your dog seems abnormally tired and lacking energy, it could be a sign of illness.
  • Decreased appetite – Your dog should be eager to eat and drink within a day post-whelping. Lack of appetite may indicate a problem.
  • Pain – Does your dog cry out when you touch her abdomen? Is she reluctant to lie down? These may be signs of discomfort or infection.

Keep a log tracking your dog’s temperature, appetite, energy levels and any other symptoms. Report any concerning changes to your veterinarian right away. Prompt treatment is crucial.

When to try medical intervention

If the retained placenta does not pass within 1-2 days after whelping, it’s time to seek medical intervention, according to this source. The longer the placenta stays retained, the higher the risk of a uterine infection developing.

Some signs that may indicate medical intervention is needed include worsening symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vaginal discharge that is foul-smelling, purulent, or bloody

If the retained placenta is not resolved, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications like sepsis. Thus, at the first signs of infection, take your dog to the vet right away.

The vet will likely recommend medications like oxytocin or antibiotics to help expel the placenta. If that fails, surgery such as an emergency spay may be needed to fully remove the retained placenta and prevent further infection.

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