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Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20678
Experience:  breeder/ vet assistant.
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My whelped a week ago and doesn't have any milk to feed the

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My bitch whelped a week ago and doesn't have any milk to feed the babies. They were born on day 58 instead of the expected 63rd day due to a puppy dying in utero which caused the early labor. She has four surviving puppies which are small but are trying to nurse. I need to know what to do to bring her milk in. I am supplementing the babies
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?
Customer: She is a Westie, about 18 lbs. This is her 2nd litter due to an oops litter at 8 months she is now 3 years old

Hi JaCustomer,

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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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was not what I was looking for. She has a little milk and would like to know how to increase it. She is on Clavamox due to discharge prior to whelping.

I mentioned that oxytocin might increase milk production. I also let you know that when you supplement with formula you actually help decrease the amount of milk she is producing. The suckling helps the female naturally produce oxytocin to help increase milk production which is why I suggested always letting them nurse from mom until she is dry before supplementing with formula.

Good nutrition and clean fresh water help as well. Giving her goats milk can also help increase milk production. If they are already a week old, then it is only a couple of weeks to weaning when you will need to decrease milk production.