Remember the openings we talked about where milk is secreted for the pups when they suckle? While these openings have an important purpose, one must consider that these same openings may also allow bacteria to enter.
Its a good idea to keep an eye on the mother dogs nipples. Its not uncommon for the mother dog to develop mastitis, the medical term for an infection of the dogs milk-producing glands. Its often caused by the puppys nails scratching the nipples or unsanitary conditions.
Symptoms include hot, painful mammary glands, and a pus/bloody discharge from nipples. Mother dog may also become reluctant to nurse.
If you suspect your nursing dog has mastitis, see your vet and make sure the puppies dont nurse from the affected nipple as in severe infections the milk can cause serious illness and even death of the puppies. Left untreated, mother dog may develop a fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this case, we are talking about an abscess that could have developed as a result of an injury or intrusion of a foreign body. For instance, an abscess may form as a result of a foreign body such as a thorn or small stick that may have introduced bacteria into the skin by the dogs nipple/mammary gland. Then, the puncture closes over, trapping the bacteria inside. This causes local swelling, warmth, and sometimes discharge.