How to Dry up a Dog's Milk?

Updated on February 1, 2016
When does mother dog stop producing milk?
When does mother dog stop producing milk? | Source

When does mother dog stop producing milk? When and how should mother dog dry up? If you are asking these questions, most likely you are dealing with a mother dog who is in the process of weaning her puppies but is still producing milk. Without your timely intervention, momma dog's milk station may remain open for business for longer than the puppies really need. You can help close down the milk bar by helping the puppies go through the weaning process and making some changes to mom's diet. Don't expect milk production though to suddenly halt out of the blue just as you would turn off a faucet; drying up the milk supply is a gradually slow process.

Also, the time it takes to dry up your mother dog's milk supply will vary depending on several factors. How much you keep the pups and mother separated, your feeding protocols, and even the breed of dog may have an impact on how long the whole process of drying up takes. For instance, Maltese puppies, unlike Labrador puppies who are completely weaned and ready to go to their new homes at 8 weeks, will still be nursing at 8 weeks and will go to their forever homes at 12 weeks.

So let's take a look at how mother dog's milking ordeal starts and ends. The milk bar officially opens immediately when the puppies are born. This is when momma's nipples start delivering the rich, immune-boosting colostrum for the first 24 to 48 hours, followed by a continuous supply of milk for the pups to enjoy to on the whim of the moment. The pups will generally rely on this steady supply of milk for their first three to four weeks of life. Afterward, they'll need to be weaned by gradually introducing them to solid foods.

In order to stop producing milk, the milk reservoir needs to be emptied so that the brain is signaled to slow down and eventually halt production. While this should occur naturally, there are a few steps you can take to help mother dog dry up.

How to Dry up a Dog's Milk Supply

Imagine your dog's milk production as a factory and the puppies as little customers. A lot of your dog's ability to continue to produce milk varies on a lot of factors. You can take charge of several of these factors by following these tips.

  • Reduce Supply and Demand

A big role of how long the milk station remains open depends on supply and demand. If the puppies keep on suckling milk, they will empty the milk reservoir, causing mama to produce more milk, with the end result of ultimately allowing the milk operation to thrive and stay in business. Your goal is to lower the pups' interest in milk and reduce the milk supply by making some adjustments to the diet of the pups and mother dog. The lower the milk demand, the higher the chances mom's milk production will eventually slow down.

  • Removing Irritating Clients

Momma dog most likely offered great customer service during the pups' first weeks of life by contently allowing them to nurse, but things change drastically once the pups start growing. At around 5 to 6 weeks of age, the puppies' needle-sharp teeth and nails turn nursing into quite an unpleasant chore. Take advantage of mother dog's grumpy demeanor and reluctance to nurse by separating the pups and enticing them to try some ground high-quality puppy food moistened with warm water offered on a shallow pan.

  • Decreasing Supplies

When mother dog was nursing full time, her nutritional demands were very high so to ensure a steady supply of milk to her offspring. Now, that the puppies are starting to be weaned, restricting mother dog's food intake immediately prior to and during weaning may help minimize distension of the mammary glands and help her dry up. Then, over the next several days, her food intake can be gradually increased until regular maintenance intake is resumed. Discuss this process with your vet so to ensure mom and pups receive the most adequate and appropriate nutrition for this important stage of their lives.

  • Closing the Factory

Closing the milk station is a natural, gradual business. Don't rush up the process; rather, follow mother dog's instinct as she knows best when it's time to close down the factory. Don't worry; she won't let her pups starve. Generally, once the pups are weaned, mother dog should produce less milk and dry up withing a week. However, you may want to consult with your vet if you notice mother dog's mammary glands continuing to produce milk after the pups are weaned and the glands are becoming painful and engorged. This can be a sign of mastitis setting in.

* Note: while milk production will eventually stop within a week or so after the puppies have been successfully weaned, consider that mother dog's breasts can take a few months to stop hanging and return to normal. This sagging may remain in some cases, but can be mostly permanent in dogs who have been continually bred or bred several times.

Mother dog reluctant to nurse

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Elizabeth Castro 5 months ago

        My mom had puppies and they are all have home but the mom her breastfeeding is getting big and need to know to do its and it's and it's kind of hurting her what can I give her her name is Brooke

      • profile image

        linda little 5 months ago

        i have a 6 year old female daschund. She has not been spayed. 4 Weeks ago my husband brought home an abandoned kitten that needed nursing. my dog produced milk and fed the kitten. the kitten is more than capable of eating its own food. however she is still producing milk. what should i do ????

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 months ago from USA

        Jennie, it sounds like she has discomfort and she is feeling relief by doing that. Have her see the vet, maybe she has an infection.Maybe an Elizabethan collar may help to prevent nursing.

      • profile image

        Jennie 6 months ago

        I have this older female little dog who drinks her own milk need to dry it up but she nurses on herself.she has a huge sack and nipples r big ..all she does is drink all night long

      • profile image

        shar 10 months ago

        I have a boston that is a rescue ,her puppies went to a no kill shelter ,I had now why to keep them ,the owner just let her run free so who ever the daddy was is no clue,,the owner and girl friend just had a baby so he let her go,but ive had her for 3 days and she looks full of milk ,the puppies were 9 weeks and they said she was not letting them nurse ,so what do I need to do,i don't want her hurting ,I know that hurts ,it hurt me with my son so I understand, any sugestions for her [milee ]

      • profile image

        Jessica 10 months ago

        My puppies are now 4 weeks old mom started to wean at two weeks old they are now eating soft and hard food with no issues they took to the food and even water right away mama normally only feeds them once at night but when she goes to clean them up or after them they try to feed ots taking a toll on her they cutting her with what I think are their claws I try to keep them trimmed but she is getting cut over and over today it was so bad we found blood all over the puppies faces in a panic I cleaned the blood off to insure it was not them thats when I noticed her legs and tail where covered in blood and it was dripping she would not let me clean her up and now I dont know what to do for her she wants to keep them clean but does not want to feed them

      • profile image

        Simone 21 months ago

        Mum's milk just dried up is there any reason why this would happen

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

        Thanks for finding my article of drying up a mother's dog milk interesting and sharing

      • Chris Achilleos profile image

        Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

        Interesting Hub. Well written and informative!

        Thanks for sharing,

        Voted up and interesting!


      • Monis Mas profile image

        Aga 4 years ago

        Interesting article, as always. I had no idea you can actually do that!