Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
A dog produces milk after the birth of her pups generally within a day or two. As the pups nurse, the female's body adjusts the milk supply in relationship to the amount of milk the pups are drinking. Now when a person supplements the feeding early on, the body adjust the supply of milk lower than is needed. Now some dogs do have a problem producing milk. Causes for this include malnutrition, a heavy worm load, dehydration, stress, hormonal imbalance and as you suspect early whelping.
Now sometimes if a shot of oxytocin is administered it will help bring in the milk. Offering lots of fluids especially lukewarm or cold water will help increase milk production. If she does have some milk production, let the pups nurse often on the mother to help increase the milk flow before supplementing with the formula. However, after a week of supplemental feeding, it might just be easier to go ahead and keep supplementing since they will likely only be on formula for a couple of weeks more. At that point you will start weaning them and they should wean quickly which eliminates the need for formula at that point.
You can read a bit on non lactating bitches here:
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