The placenta is a temporary organ that provides a sack in the uterus that provides oxygen and nutrients for developing puppies. When a pregnant dog gives birth, it eats the placenta to ensure one part of maintaining health is taken care of.
But there’s more than just pure convenience behind this natural practice: done right, eating the afterbirth can help guard against infection and boost milk production. Some species even eat their young immediately after giving birth/hatching – so your pup isn’t too far off from its wild relatives.
Why do dogs eat the placenta?
There are many reasons for this canine behavior. The first reason is to avoid leaving a mess behind in the whelping box. This has to do with a pack mentality, not just convenience. Because the dog doesn’t want any proof that it has given birth, a mother dog will consume her placentas. It aids in the maintenance of her lair.
The second most common reason for eating the placenta is that of health. A new canine mother will eat her afterbirth to ensure she gains what minerals and nutrients she needs. This allows her to avoid leaving the safety of her den and possibly risk an attack by a wild animal, such as a coyote looking for its next meal.
After all, this placenta is a source of raw materials for milk production. The placenta is a food source and your dog knows it.
This practice has been observed in dogs for thousands of years and continues today in domestic dogs both in the wild and in homes.
When it comes to giving birth, your dog’s instincts tell her that eating the placenta is part of her job after she has finished delivering the puppies. She knows this allows her body to recover quickly so she can take care of the newborns, who are blind and deaf at birth.
Although you might not be able to see the placenta at birth, your dog will know exactly where it is. If she doesn’t stop licking for about fifteen minutes after the birth of her puppies, then she hasn’t eaten it yet. On average, this should only take ten minutes or so—just enough time to clean herself up or take a short nap if she so pleases.
If the placenta remains uneaten, it will dry up and fall off within about six days—wherever it falls off is where your dog should allow her newborns to nurse. It has everything they need to grow strong and healthy for their first several weeks of life.
Do all breeds eat the placenta?
While most dogs will eat their placentas, it is not unusual for some to leave them alone. Some breeds seem to do this more often than others, such as the Chow-Chow and the Basenji. Chow-Chows and Basenjis are known for being picky eaters.
The most common breeds who eat the placenta are retrievers and herding dogs, such as German Shepherds. It has nothing to do with the size or age of the dog who just gave birth. If the mother wants that placenta gone, it’s going to go away.
What if the dog doesn’t eat her placenta?
Don’t worry. If your pup does not consume the placenta, you should not worry. It isn’t going to make the mother sick or anything of that nature. Some say it will make her ill, and pet owners should take it away, but that is required.
Avoid attempting to take it off or remove it from the whelping box yourself. If the mother does not want it there, she will remove it herself when you’re not looking.
When does the puppy placenta come out?
During the birth stage, the placenta will come out about 5 to 15 minutes after the birth of puppies. When it comes out depends on several factors, such as the number of pups born and how fast their mother is when delivering them.
Once her puppies are delivered, and she has licked them clean, your new mother will make a move for her placenta. She might carry it around in her mouth, gently tear pieces from it and eat them, or simply gobble it down.
How many placentas come out for each litter?
Normally, a mother dog will have one placenta for every puppy in the litter. Usually, for small litters (3 to 4 pups), she will eat all of them. If the mother dog has a large litter (over 6), she might only eat the first one or two and bury the rest.
That is why it’s important to never disturb her while she is giving birth because you could risk her losing all the puppies in labor if she needs to go outside of the whelping box to take care of any placentas not eaten.
Why did my dog eat just part of the placenta?
Some dogs are pickier than others when it comes down to eating their placenta. It may have been that your pup was just too tired after delivery, or maybe that particular placenta didn’t taste right–it could be because it wasn’t fully clamped off by the oxytocin.
When a dog eats her placenta, she will chew it up into small pieces and swallow them down to avoid any further afterbirth contractions that may result in more labor or possible hemorrhaging. The chances of that happening are very slim because once the placenta comes out of the body, the hormones take over and stop post-birth contractions.
Are dogs supposed to eat the placenta?
In the wild, wolves will often eat part of their placenta to hide the evidence from predators that they gave birth. It’s been documented that wild dogs and wolves do not eat their whole placentas either.
Once the placenta has been eaten, an infection will not develop. The fact that a mother dog eats the placenta does not mean that a veterinarian should intervene or that anything is wrong. A veterinarian will be needed if she does not pass the afterbirth at all.
Signs of a retained afterbirth include shaking and shivering, not producing milk, depression, and lethargy. Green or pink discharge and foul-smelling vaginal discharge could also be a sign of a retained afterbirth. If you suspect something, please contact your veterinarian.
Is it healthy for dogs to eat the placenta?
Yes. Eating the afterbirth serves as a way to keep each puppy cleaner and provides the new mother with helpful nutrients. The mother dog will often eat the placenta of every puppy in her litter, which means that there are more nutrients for the whole litter.
Eating the placenta is extremely beneficial to a newborn puppy because it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that promote wound healing. Eating the placenta can also help with milk production and reduce the risk of infection for your dog after she gives birth.
Are dogs that eat their placenta at risk for infection?
No, not if they’re acting normally and eating it right away—which is what they’re supposed to do. Usually, the placenta is passed after birth and should be eaten right away.
Since it does not stay out of their body for very long, there is no way for it to get infected and cause the mother any health problems.
Are there nutrients in the placenta?
Minerals such as calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E and K, are all present in the placenta. The placenta also contains prostaglandin that can help with your dog’s fertility levels as well as oxytocin to help contractions during labor take place more smoothly. Oxytocin is the hormone that causes your dog to go into labor.
Do dogs need their placentas?
No. They don’t “need” to eat them, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not beneficial for them to do so. The placenta is beneficial during labor and contains nutrients that can help your dog have smoother labor. It is also beneficial for delivering nutrients to both the mother and her puppies immediately following birth.
Is it dangerous for dogs to eat the placenta?
No. There’s a chance that your dog might have a bowel obstruction, but this is rare and not likely. As long as you don’t do something to interrupt the normal process of eating an afterbirth, like taking it away from the mother before she has finished with it or putting medication in it, she should be fine.
It does not contain any toxins that will harm your dog or otherwise cause your dog to become sick. It is beneficial for labor and is most likely the reason why dogs eat it in the wild. Since eating afterbirth is natural behavior, you shouldn’t worry about your dog eating her placenta.
Can the dog choke on the placenta?
Yes. If you interfere by taking the placenta away from your dog before she has finished with it, then there is a chance that she could choke on it or that her intestines could become blocked due to her trying to swallow more than she can digest at once.
In most cases, it is perfectly fine if your dog eats its entire placenta as long as it doesn’t have any medical conditions already. Even if they do, it’s still relatively rare for a problem to happen.