WICANI: The home of happy collies!

 (Rough and Smooth coated)     


Herbs and the in-whelp bitch


Many breeders today are using antibiotics as a preventative treatment against anticipated problems when mating bitches. Whilst antibiotics have their place some people, myself included, would prefer to use alternative treatments when ever possible due to the known problems connected with constant use of the above. With this is mind I have written the following article.

First of all  I would like to assure readers that both my self and my husband are deeply interested in herbal medicine and have studied the subject quite extensively, you can rest assured the following herbs are safe in the suggested usage.

When our bitch Ch. Darling Buds of May whelped her second litter it soon became evident the labour was not progressing as one would hope. She did not appear to have true contractions; the puppies were born at two to three hourly intervals and refused to feed. They lost weight rapidly and were constantly covered in a sticky red discharge, rapidly developing infection around the umbilical cords. Mum was very distressed and despite veterinary intervention plus my own experience with difficult puppies, we lost the whole litter. We were devastated so I began to look at ways to prevent a reoccurrence of this problem with the applied use of herbs.

Having now found the following preventative treatment highly successful over a number of litters we are confident it may be of help to others. Out of interest, Darling buds of May was mated again to the same dog and the following tincture used. She had six healthy puppies and an effortless labour.


Herbal tincture for the in whelp bitch:


28g. Cramp Bark (viburnum opulus)

28g Squaw Vine (mitchella repens)

10g Valerian (valerian officinalis)

28g Raspberry leaf (rubus idaeus)


Place dried herbs in a large jar, cover with Vodka, leave to steep for three weeks shaking daily.

Strain the alcohol through a fine sieve into a clean jar and discard the herbs, you now have the prepared herbal tincture. Give 3-4ml of the tincture daily from three weeks, if given just prior to the bitch going off her feed at around three – four weeks, it will often prevent this from happening.


Cramp bark:

Actions: Anti-spasmodic, sedative, astringent.

Cramp bark, as the name implies, relaxes muscular tension and spasm. It has two main areas of use to the herbalist. Firstly in muscular cramps and secondly in ovarian and uterine muscle problems. It may be used to prevent threatened miscarriage and re-absorption, whilst its astringent properties help to prevent excessive blood loss once labour begins.

Squaw Vine:

Actions: Parturient, emmenagogue, astringent, tonic.

Squaw vine is one of the herbs brought to us via the North American Indians. It is among the best remedies in preparing the uterus and whole body for child birth.


Actions: Sedative, anti-spasmodic, carminative.

Valerian is widely recognised as being one of the most useful relaxing nerviness available and may be safely used to reduce tension, anxiety and over excitability, it will help to relieve colic and cramps. It is a useful addition to our tincture in helping to prevent uterine cramps, keep the expectant mum calm, and help prevent sickness in early pregnancy.

Raspberry leaf:

Actions: Astringent, tonic, parturient.

Raspberry leaves have a long tradition of use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb. It will strengthen contractions and help check any haemorrhage during labour. It will also help prevent diarrhoea.