Guide to Milk Production in Pregnant Dogs
Nature is well made. A nursing bitch should, without any problem whatsoever, produce enough milk to feed the entire litter of puppies for weeks. Of course, the mother should be fed adequately with a hypercaloric diet — she now needs enough food to fuel her own recovery, but also the growth of all those puppies!
Inevitably, some issues will arise once in a blue moon and the milk production may become insufficient too early. Generally, dog breeders at that time already have started the weaning process so it’s not a big deal.
Before talking about problems, let’s learn all about colostrum and milk production in lactating female dogs.
As your dogs pregnancy continues, youll notice changes in her mammary glands. Her teats start swelling as her due date draws near. You can gently squeeze her nipples a day or two before shes due to see if milk leaks out. However, some dogs dont produce milk until after the puppies are born.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in “Horse News,” “Suburban Classic,” “Hoof Beats,” “Equine Journal” and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.
If your pregnant dog starts dripping milk from her nipples, the puppies will arrive soon but delivery could still be several days away. Canine gestation lasts approximately 63 days, with some puppies arriving a few days earlier or later. Milk production is just one clue that birth is near.
Your dog might start leaking milk anywhere between one day and one week before delivery. First-time mothers often leak milk for longer, so if your dog has had puppies before, the start of milk leakage means shes likely to deliver within a day or two.
A more reliable way to determine when your dog will go into labor involves taking her temperature rectally twice daily. Normally a dogs temperature ranges between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When your dogs temperature drops below 99 degrees, shell go into labor within 24 hours. Start the temperature-taking routine about a week before shes due, or day 56 of the pregnancy.
What should I feed my pregnant dog to produce milk?
Many breeders encourage food intake by offering highly palatable products, such as ice cream, homemade mixtures (for example, mix one can of evaporated milk, one can of water, three egg yolks and one-quarter cup of Karo syrup; heat, then let cool), puppy-milk replacers or a growth-and-lactation commercial cat food.
How long will a dog leak before giving birth?
News that your dog is pregnant can bring great joy to your household. You’re elated that your beloved pet is about to become a mother and excited by the prospect of caring for her pups.
Before you get lost in all the elation and excitement, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a crucial time for your pet. She will experience all kinds of changes during her pregnancy. You need to know about those changes as well so you can better prepare your pet for her eventual delivery.
For this article, we’ll focus specifically on lactation in dogs. Learn more about your dog’s lactation and what it means for her pregnancy by reading on.