If your dog has just had puppies for the first time, or even if they’ve had them before, it can be difficult to know what you can do to help them with their milk flow. But by following this guidance, you can help ensure the health of both your nursing dog and her puppies.
What To Feed Nursing/Lactating Dogs To Produce More Milk?
When you’re dog’s just had puppies, you should make sure they are getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients and that you’re checking them over for any signs of infection so they can be treated immediately.
What Happens If Puppies Don’t Get Enough Milk 🙁
At first you will be able to tell if the puppies aren’t getting enough milk if they start crying a lot, become restless and you will also notice that they aren’t gaining any weight. This can cause them to become quite weak, which is why bottle feeding may be required.
What should I feed my nursing dog to ensure she produces enough milk for her puppies?
Hydrate By Giving Lots Of High Quality Liquids
It’s important to keep a nursing dog hydrated because when her puppies are feeding off her, it can cause her to become dehydrated very quickly. Keep her water bowl close by and make sure that it’s always clean.
Lots Of High Quality Food
You need to feed the mother dog around four small meals a day that all have the right amount of nutrients in. Specifically focus on dog food that has been specially made for performance purposes.
Wet Puppy Food To Increase Milk Production
Wet puppy food is one of the most important foods you could give a nursing dog, due to the amount of calories within it. It also has enough nutrients to replace what she’ll lose when feeding the pups and means the pups will benefit from the calorie intake in order to grow.
Vitamin Supplements (Should Be Supervised By A Vet!)
A nursing dog will need all the vitamins she can get. She should have a diet that is packed with vitamins A, D, E, K, C, and B. Your vet will be able to advise you on which supplements your dog will need and which foods will be rich in these.
Calcium Supplements (Should Be Supervised By A Vet!)
A nursing dogs’ calcium levels can become lower when nursing, so some calcium supplements may be required. This is another thing your vet will need to advise you on as you can give your dog too much calcium, although this is unlikely to happen due to how much feeding she will do.
Nutritious Dog Treats
You should try and give your nursing dog treats that are high in vitamins, calcium, and any other nutrients that might be beneficial for your dog to have. Your vet can advise you on the best ones, or what to look out for in the ingredients when searching for new treats.
What If The Nursing Dog Won’t Drink Water?
You can try other liquids that they might drink instead, so that even if she’s not drinking water, she’s at least not going to become dehydrated. This includes broth, puppy formula and weak tea, which you can also put milk thistle into for extra protection.
Is Homemade Food Good For Nursing Dogs?
Homemade food is very good for nursing dogs and their pups. You should use food that is high in fats and protein and try to use food that is fresh as well to ensure they’re getting the very best.
What Are The Best Food For Lactating Dog?
The best food is anything that is high in the vitamins, calcium and nutrients a nursing dog needs to help keep their strength up and to help their puppies grow. Wet food is another good option, due to the high amount of calories that she’ll need.
Milk Thistle For Lactating Dogs?
Milk thistle is known for being one of the best supplements you can give to a nursing dog to help boost their mil supply. It’s a natural supplement and there are many pet insurance companies who let you put milk thistle as an add-on to your insurance.
Evaporated Milk For Nursing Dogs?
Nursing dogs can have evaporated milk, however, this should be used as a treat for both her and her puppies and definitely should not be given as a way to replace any meals or drinks she might have.
Goats Milk For Lactating Dogs?
Lactating dogs can also have goats milk, however, this is another item that should only be given as a treat and most certainly shouldn’t be a replacement for any other foods or drink she might consume.
What Are The Best Supplements For Nursing Dogs?
The best supplements for nursing dogs includes milk thistle, zinc and apricot, but this last one will need to be taken in small doses. However, you must always remember to check with your vet first before giving your dog any kind of supplement.
Is Tuna Good For Nursing Dogs?
Even though dogs can normally have a little bit of tuna in moderation, nursing dogs shouldn’t. This is because it can cause various health problems due to the levels of mercury in it, and too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning.
What Foods Decrease Milk Supply?
It is not known exactly what foods will decrease your nursing dog’s milk supply; however, it’s likely that foods aren’t high enough in the vitamins or nutrients she needs to adequately feed her pups may contribute to a lack of milk supply.
Does Drinking Milk Increase Breast Milk Supply?
Given that milk is high in calcium, it is a good idea to give a nursing dog milk to drink as a way of keeping her hydrated and ensuring that she keeps her milk supply high enough to keep all of her pups fed.
Can Nursing Dogs Eat Eggs?
Nursing dogs can eat eggs. It’s especially good for them to do so because they are high in protein, which is something all nursing dogs need plenty of.
What Do You Do When A Mother Dog Won’t Feed Her Puppies?
Check Mammary Glands For Infection
Mammary gland infection is commonly known as mastitis, which is caused by bacterial infection. Milk will build up in the glands and can cause quite a lot of discomfort.
You will need to take her to the vet so she can get some antibiotics and painkillers and may also need to hand milk the infected glands.
Plenty Of Rest
All new mothers need rest and dogs are the same. Even though she will be quite protective over her puppies, try and give her some time away from them whenever you can so that she is well rested to keep looking after them.
Keep The Dog Relaxed
If a nursing dog is stressed, this can transfer over to her puppies. Make sure the environment she’s in is as relaxing as possible and don’t allow anything or anyone into that area that might cause her any unnecessary stress.
Take The Mother Dog To A Walk
Taking a new mother dog on a walk is important to help keep them mentally stimulated. It also helps to give her a bit of fresh air and, as previously mentioned, will give her a little time away from her pups so that she is able to look after them again when she gets back.
Massage Dog’s Mammary Glands
This is used, in particular, as treatment for mastitis. This is an infection of the mammary glands in nursing dogs, so massaging them helps alleviate any discomfort and also helps with encouraging blood flow.
Keep The Dog At An Ideal Temperature Not Too Warm Or Cold
You need to keep an eye on a nursing dog’s temperature, particularly over the first two weeks, and if her temperature goes above 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to take her to the vets immediately.
Make The Nursing Area Comfy
All nursing mothers want to nurse somewhere that is comfy and cosy. Make sure you put down plenty of blankets and possibly cushions and even her bed so that the hard work she is putting in to feed the pups doesn’t become any harder.
Consult A Veterinarian
Getting a nursing dog checked over by a vet is important because it’s quite easy for them to pick up an infection whilst feeding and this can be fatal to her and her puppies.
Can Puppies Nurse While the Mom Is In Labor?
It’s perfectly fine for puppies to nurse while their mom is still in labor. Some mother dogs won’t like this and will only start feeding their pups once all of them have been delivered. However, others will start straight away as soon as each puppy is born.
How Do I Feed Newborn Puppies?
If you need to feed the puppy yourself, you should do so by placing the puppy on their stomach with their head level, gently open their mouth, tilt the bottle slightly so the puppy doesn’t get too much air, and once the puppy has been fed, burp them.
How Important Is Colostrum?
Colostrum is very important to newborn puppies because this is what gives them protection in their first few weeks of life before they are able to have their vaccinations. They should be able to get some drops out, but you can get some replacements for puppies if not.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Producing Enough Milk For Her Puppies?
If your dog isn’t producing enough milk, her puppies will be constantly crying and not gaining any weight. In this case, you might need to step in and bottle feed them.
What Are The Best Natural Milk Replacements?
You can buy milk replacers if your mother dog isn’t able to feed her dogs from her own supply. However, you can also make your own replacers by using ingredients such as milk, yoghurt and eggs.
Tube Vs. Bottle Feeding
Tube feeding is quicker to do, however it is also a lot trickier and can cause the puppy to possibly drown or die if done wrong. Even though bottle feeding takes a lot longer, it’s easier to do and can ensure the life of the puppies.
When To Bottle Feed?
If you notice that your dog is struggling to feed her pups and the milk supply isn’t big enough for them all to get plenty of food, this is your sign to give the mother a break and bottle feed the puppies instead.
What If My Dog Produces Enough Milk But Has Too Many Puppies?
If this happens to your dog, you should still allow the mother to feed her puppies, however, you might also want to step in and bottle feed the puppies to make sure they are getting enough food and nutrients in order to survive.
When Should I Wean The Puppies?
You can start to wean your puppies from four weeks old, however, this should be a slow process. It tends to end when they are eight weeks old and many choose to use a weaning formula or slushy kibble to help with this process.
Prepare And Plan Even Before Your Dog Gives Birth!
You need to be fully clued up on how to deal with a nursing mother dog before the puppies are born. Buy food for the puppies and mother and prepare a space for the mother to give birth and nurse. The vet can also advise you on any other steps you need to take.