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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2440
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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what can i use on my nursing dogs nipples They are a little

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what can i use on my nursing dogs nipples? They are a little dried out looking and have some irritation from the puppies nails.
My name isXXXXX and I would be happy to help you with your question.

This is a tough one. I understand your desire to help your mother dog be comfortable, yet we also don't want to do anything to interfere with the puppies nursing.

Can you tell me how old the puppies are, please?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i have a labrador retriever with 9, ten day old puppies. We have trimmed the puppies nails. I have seen on line suggestions of bag balm, vaseline, neosporin, but was afraid it would not be healthy for the babies. I saw a comment that I should be washing the momma dog. If so, what should I use to wash her off?
Hello again,
Sorry---I was offline for a bit. Ten days old is very young to be interfering with, so I am glad I asked.

I would like for you to be very assured that it is quite normal at this early point in nursing so many puppies for the momma labrador to be showing some nipple irritation. This is actually an expected course of events at this stage of things, and I would encourage you to not put anything at all on her nipples. They will toughen on their own with continued use and the risk of doing something that will interfere with the babies nursing is too high.

Most momma dogs do a good job with a very natural approach, and it's best not to interfere with anything at all unless it's absolutely necessary. Considering that, you don't need to wash her as much as you simply need to be sure she is provided with what she needs to keep herself clean: enough room, clean floor and bedding. If you still feel inclined to bathe her, simply rinse her in the tub with lukewarm water. It won't be harmful to use a mild dog or puppy shampoo, as long as you rinse well, but it's not necessary.

If the momma dog actually develops dark red, hot, hard, swollen engorged areas of mammary tissue, that indicates mastitis and a need for veterinary attention.

I would also recommend trimming the puppy's nails.

I hope this information helps! Good luck with your litter!

Edited by Dr. Jo on 6/13/2010 at 8:29 PM EST
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