Whether you’re new to the world of whelping or are a novice, there is one term you have likely heard about: calcium. Calcium is an incredibly important aspect of whelping and will help your dog significantly. In turn, it will also encourage healthy, successful labor with no issues. However, you need to know how much calcium to give a dog for whelping to avoid mishaps.
Small dogs will need around 600 to 800 mg of oral calcium. Large-sized dogs will require 1000 to 2000 mg. Giant breeds will need 2000 mg. Calcium should only be offered after labor has begun. Administering calcium before delivery occurs can result in eclampsia and death. If your dog is struggling profusely with active labor, calcium should be given.
As you can see, calcium is an important part of whelping. But doing it correctly is key. Administering too high or too little amounts of calcium can be perilous. This blog will teach you how much calcium to give a dog for whelping. More important, it will also discuss the importance of calcium and why it’s essential for whelping.
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Once active labor starts, it is safe to start supplementing calcium. Calcium supplementation not only assists with milk production, but it alleviates many behavioral problems some people incorrectly label as bad mothering: excessive digging, aggression toward puppies, restlessness, rejection of puppies. These behaviors are actually signs of low blood calcium.
PLEASE DO NOT STOP READING AT THIS POINT AND THINK YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TO GIVE—you need to determine the type of calcium you are giving to know how much of your supplement to use. Please read on! Theres a table further down that includes amounts of commonly used calcium-containing products.
Common sense disclaimer: As with everything else on this blog, it’s critical to seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian, preferably one that is board certified in theriogenology (reproductive science) for reproductive matters. This website, its blog, and its courses are NOT designed nor intended to replace the need for a qualified veterinarian, but instead to help educate people to to work optimally with their veterinarians. All recommendations should be reviewed with qualified professionals, such as a board certified reproductive veterinarian, prior to implementation in a breeding program. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian. Readers assume all risks associated with use of material on this site. More here.
We like Oral Cal Plus because it contains vitamin D and other ingredients that enhance calcium absorption and its more palatable for the dogs. During whelping we want quick absorption. Some of our bitches dont like the Calsorb and will gag from it.
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In the late stages of your dog’s pregnancy, the demand for calcium increases immensely. This is because the parathyroid gland requires more calcium to supplement fetal development and transition into the birthing process.
Calcium levels are taxed severely when a dog is giving birth. Administering calcium during the whelping process can help the uterus to contract and allow for successful birthing. Without enough calcium, the pooch may end up nervous with ineffective and halted contractions that can lead to puppy loss.
Calcium also helps to alleviate certain behavioral problems that can occur with the mother. For example, some dogs may act aggressively towards their puppies or reject them entirely. Proper calcium amounts will reduce these potential behavioral issues, leaving mom happy and gentle with her pups.
Lastly, calcium is beneficial to the actual production of milk. As her offspring will require plenty of high-quality milk to fill their bellies, mom must have enough calcium to produce. Calcium should be administered until the puppies have weaned from the mother entirely.
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Remember to not only give calcium, but to also give electrolytes and glucose too. Think of whelping as a marathon for your bitch. You must feed the muscles to keep them working productively. A good trick is to mix pedialyte with sugar to make a slurry, giving some after each puppy depending on her size. Small breeds get 10cc, Large breeds 20cc and Giant breeds 30cc of the slurry for energy to help with whelping.
This is used generally after the first pup is born (please read our other files for why) or once 2nd stage labor is in full swing. IE: you have a pup down near the birth canal or you have 2 sacs coming down…etc. Oral calcium will not force puppies down nor will it cause contractions, it will only help with stronger more efficient contractions.
Type 2) – Calcium Citrate, which is found in some vitamin supplements and additives. It is the most effective orally dosed calcium, as it starts to work as soon as it hits the moist mouth membranes and does not need food in the stomach to become effective. You can find it in most pharmacy sections as Citrical, or you can find it in a powder form at health food stores or on line.
Type 1) – Calcium Carbonate, which is found in most human and animal supplements. This type of calcium requires food in the stomach to work effectively and is used in most antacids ie. Calsorb, OralCal Plus, Tums.
Type 3) – Calcium Gluconate, which is administered IV or SubQ. It is the recommendation of the group Admins that this type of calcium is only used under strict veterinary supervision because of the potential adverse cardiac effects. It is normally done at the vets with back up monitoring due to the adverse cardiac possibilities.
When should I give my dog calcium for whelping?
How do you use Calsorb?
Can you give too much calcium during whelping?
Can you give a dog too much calcium during labor?