When will my pregnant dog produce milk? This was a question that always stayed in mind because I wanted to ensure that my dog’s litter had enough nourishment. In fact, I was a bit worried because my dog didn’t seem like she was lactating, or if she was, it wasn’t enough.
That’s why I looked into forums and asked my dog’s veterinarian for advice. Fortunately, I found the answers I needed and learned even more about pregnant dogs producing milk! So if you feel worried about lactation in pregnant dogs, read on to learn more about how they produce milk and when.
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When Will My Pregnant Dog Produce Milk?
Pregnant female dogs produce milk naturally, either before or after she gave birth. Like all mammals, they produce milk coming from their nipples. And if your pregnant dog begins doing it, that actually means that the birth may be near!
However, there isn’t an exact date as to when your pregnant dog begins producing milk for her litter. Here are the individual factors to consider as to when they produce milk.
Their Mammary Glands
As the pregnancy continues, you’ll begin noticing changes around your dog’s mammary glands. Her teats begin to swell, especially when the due date nears. And surprisingly, milk production can happen a day or two before the actual due date!
You can check if she’s producing milk by squeezing her nipples and seeing if milk leaks out. If so, then it’s possible that her due date’s a day or two away. If not, that’s completely okay as some dogs won’t produce any milk until after they give birth.
So that means milk production sometimes happens before or after birth. It isn’t the most effective way to identify how near the labor date is.
Milk Production Occurs
As mentioned, your dog can leak milk two days before delivery or after it. However, there are also dogs who can start leaking milk one week before the delivery date!
You should also consider the mother dog’s situation, as first-time mothers would leak milk longer times. So you can expect your first-time pregnant dog to leak for a week, or even longer, before giving birth. It’s normal and nothing to worry about, just make sure that her teats are clean to prevent dryness or crusting.
However, if your dog has been pregnant before, then milk production begins most likely a day or two before her due date.
Take note that just because she’s leaking milk doesn’t mean that this is the full beginning of milk production. There’s something called colostrum, which comes after your dog’s puppies are born. Colostrum’s the first milk the puppies will take in within a day of birth. It’s crucial for the puppies to take in as it comes with everything they need to help build their immune system.
This means that if your dog doesn’t have any milk before her due date, that’s completely okay. As long as she produces milk within the 24 hours she gives birth to her puppies, they will both stay healthy. And she’ll continue to feed them adequate milk provided she’s in good health and cared for well.
What if your pregnant dog doesn’t produce enough milk (which I’ll get into in the next section)? Not to worry, as there are colostrum replacements and other replacement milk which can help with your litter’s health.
What If It’s Not Enough?
Sometimes, milk production never happens at all, or only very little milk is produced by the mother dog. This can be due to malnutrition, worms, dehydration, stress, among other sicknesses and conditions which affect lactation.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep your dog healthy even after the delivery to ensure she’s producing healthy milk for her puppies. To do so, ensure that she has access to fresh water or chicken broth. Also, feed her healthy and nutritious food for better milk quality.
Also remember that even if she’s producing milk, there are chances of toxic milk syndrome, poisoning the litter. You have to watch out for all of these and consult with your vet to find out what your dog needs for improved milk production.
If you want to learn more about milk production and helping your dog produce more of it, check this video:
Wrapping It Up
Producing milk is crucial for pregnant dogs, especially as their labor date closes in and their puppies are ready for feeding. With that being said, it’s important to monitor if she’s lactating enough and producing milk for her litter. This ensures better health for both the mom and her puppies!
I hope my article answered your question, “When will my pregnant dog produce milk?” Now that you’re more familiar with lactation in pregnant dogs, learn more about their needs now!