Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Is Postpartum Diarrhea Normal in Dogs?
"My Min Pin/Dachshund cross became a first-time mommy of seven beautiful pups yesterday morning. Her bowels were expelling black water, but now it's like brown water, just a bit thicker than yesterday. Is that normal? And is there anything that I can do to get her stomach back to normal?" —Elize
Placenta and Oxytocin Contribute to Diarrhea
This is normal in many dogs. Part of this is because the dog normally eats the placentas after birth, and her small stomach is not used to that much fresh meat. (Congratulations on seven puppies!) The hormone oxytocin also increases in your dog at the time of birth, and we know that it causes increased bowel motility in humans (1) and rats. (2) With the extra movement in her bowels from the oxytocin, a little diarrhea is normal.
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This usually clears up soon, and I prefer not to give any medications to dogs that have a new litter. If it does not clear up, be sure to take her to your regular veterinarian so that they can examine her and make sure she does not have a retained placenta or something else that is making her sick.
How to Help a Dog With New Puppies
Diarrhea is only one of the problems facing dogs with new puppies. Here are some other common postpartum issues in dogs and what you can do about them.
- Ohlsson B, Ringström G, Abrahamsson H, Simrén M, Björnsson ES. Oxytocin stimulates colonic motor activity in healthy women. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2004 Apr;16(2):233-40. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15086877/
- Qin, J., Feng, M., Wang, C., Ye, Y., Wang, P.S. and Liu, C. (2009), Oxytocin receptor expressed on the smooth muscle mediates the excitatory effect of oxytocin on gastric motility in rats. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 21: 430-438. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01282.x
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Dr Mark