There’s nothing as joyous as realizing that your dog is going to have puppies. The knowledge that your house will soon be overflowing with adorable little pooches is extremely exciting, and the reality is often just as good as your wildest dreams.
That’s not to say that having a litter of puppies won’t bring certain problems along, however. One of the most common issues that new puppy owners encounter is a lack of sufficient milk supply — and it’s a serious problem, indeed, as it can cause the newborns to grow up malnourished or even die.
Whether the lack of milk is caused by a huge litter or just poor production from the mother, there are certain things that you can do to boost your dog’s supply. This list will walk you through a few of the easiest ways to ensure that every single one of your precious new puppies gets all the food that they could want.
How to Improve Dog’s Milk Production
Every expectant puppy family has hopes and worries. Will momma be okay, or will she need help . . . or even a Caesarian? Will there be enough puppies . . . or will there be too many? Will momma be able to take care of all of them?
An ultrasound or x-ray might be able to give you an idea of how many puppies to expect. Or maybe not. There are always surprises on the whelping day, and a lack of milk is just one of them.
What Should I Do If My Dog Has No Milk?
An expectant mother usually has a little milk, even before her puppies are born. By the time she is whelping, her production of oxytocin (a maternal hormone) should make milk available to her puppies. Most dogs that are fed correctly and in good shape will have some milk production. However, you might need to help things along.
Golden rule: colostrum is important
We’ve learned in school that colostrum, or the very first milk a mother produces, is the most nutritious. The same goes for dogs. Colostrum is the first milk to flow in 24 hours upon birth. This milk contains loads of vitamins and minerals that will help pups develop antibodies. Although colostrum isn’t produced in large amounts to dogs, a few drops can make a big difference in the health of a puppy on the first few weeks of its life.
Remember that this passive immunity from colostrum and gestation is directly related to the vaccinations the mother dog received prior to pregnancy. If you vaccinate your dog against Parvovirus and other life-threatening conditions, they will pass the immunity into their puppies.
After the said period, their intestinal walls will change which will cause water particles to merge with proteins which destroy the antibodies’ ability to fight bacteria and viruses.
In the end, it’s not about the length of nursing the puppy. It’s more of ensuring that their first hours are dedicated to nursing and that the mother doggo is producing enough milk. Also, you need to know what to feed a dog after giving birth to help the mother produce milk.
How do I know if my mother dog is producing enough milk?
- Constant crying: This is a sign that the newborns are hungry. Try placing them on the hind teats. …
- Not gaining weight: Puppies should double in weight every week.
How long should puppies nurse at each feeding?
Do dogs run out of milk while breastfeeding?