Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.
How to Improve Dog's Milk Production
Every expectant puppy family has hopes and worries. Will momma be okay, or will she need help . . . or even a Caesarian? Will there be enough puppies . . . or will there be too many? Will momma be able to take care of all of them?
An ultrasound or x-ray might be able to give you an idea of how many puppies to expect. Or maybe not. There are always surprises on the whelping day, and a lack of milk is just one of them.
Main Causes of Aglactia (No Milk Production) in Dogs
- Heavy parasite burden (worms)
- Premature whelping
- Infected mammary glands
- Infected uterus
- Failure to release hormones
- Failure to respond to hormones
What Should I Do If My Dog Has No Milk?
An expectant mother usually has a little milk, even before her puppies are born. By the time she is whelping, her production of oxytocin (a maternal hormone) should make milk available to her puppies. Most dogs that are fed correctly and in good shape will have some milk production. However, you might need to help things along.
1. Provide Liquids: Either Fresh Water or Chicken Broth
- If your bitch is in good shape and whelps but does not have milk available, the first thing to do is make sure she has plenty of fresh water. That is rarely the problem, but she may only want to drink warm, lukewarm, or cold water. Calm down, sit next to her, and offer her several different temperatures and see what she likes. You may be surprised.
- If she is not drinking, despite your best efforts, try giving her a big bowl of lukewarm chicken broth. If you do not keep this in your kitchen, get some before the puppies arrive. The extra nutrients will help, and the salt will tend to make her thirsty.
2. Ask a Vet
Call your veterinarian. They can also come out and examine her to see if there is an infection that you have not been able to identify. They may also decide to give her an injection of calcium or oxytocin.
3. Try to Have the Puppies Nurse a Little
Finally, go ahead and put the puppies up to her teats and let them try to nurse. Many websites and books will tell you about the importance of the puppies' nursing colostrum, the antibody-rich milk produced when they are first born, but no one has a solution about what to do if there is none. (If a dog breeder is in your area, try to contact them and find out if they have any dogs that have just whelped.)
The Importance of Colostrum
Colostrum is the first milk produced by a bitch, and it protects the puppies from diseases she has been exposed to and developed antibodies to. All dairy farmers save colostrum to give to newborn calves, but it is not usually available to dog breeders. Maybe the puppies can get a few drops out, and even a little will make a big difference for the weeks they have ahead of them.
There are some commercial colostrum replacements for puppies. You can also ask your vet about local brands of colostrum available and which ones they recommend.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Producing Enough Milk for Her Puppies?
For the first seven days, newborns should nurse once about every two hours. Signs that the litter might be underfed include:
- Constant crying: This is a sign that the newborns are hungry. Try placing them on the hind teats. If there are smaller ones that keep getting edged out or don't have a strong enough sucking reflex, it's possible you'll have to supplement with bottle feeding. Ask a vet how to do this properly.
- Not gaining weight: Puppies should double in weight every week.
What If None of This Works?
Some dogs will have plenty of milk but be blessed with a lot more puppies than they can feed. Some will produce only a few drops, and some won´t produce anything at all.
Read More From Pethelpful
If the puppies are not getting enough to eat, they will be restless and cry a lot, and of course, they will not have full bellies. It is at that point that you have to try to feed them some extra milk.
You can purchase a puppy milk replacer from a pet store or your vet or make a natural substitute with coconut water. If you want to make up your own, follow this formula.
A Natural Milk Replacement
Mix together the following:
- 1 cup goat's milk
- 2 egg yolks (not the whole egg!)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 4–6 tablespoons sterile water
If the milk substitute is too thick to come out of the bottle's nipple, you can make the hole a little larger with a hot needle. However, the milk should not be so thin that it pours out without the puppy nursing—if it is too thin, the puppy will end up drowning.
Some breeders recommend adding corn syrup or sugar to the milk substitute, but goat's milk has plenty of sugar and since too much leads to diarrhea, you do not need it.
If the puppies are becoming hypoglycemic (depressed and losing the suck reflex), you can add about 1 teaspoon to the milk mixture.
Tube vs. Bottle Feeding
Tube feeding is quicker than bottle-feeding a whole litter, but if it is done wrong, the puppy will drown or die later. The amount is also critical since a puppy cannot just stop when he is full.
I prefer puppies to be bottle-fed every 3 hours for about 3 weeks. Yes, it is a lot of work. Yes, the life of a puppy is worth the effort. If you are bottle-feeding, the pups can nurse about as much as they want and should be getting between 2–4 cc for every 30 grams of body weight.
Keep the Mom Involved
Even if the mother is not able to feed the puppies, try to let her stay involved in the process by keeping the puppies clean and providing warmth.
If she is not around, you will have to make sure the puppies are kept warm and rub their bellies and perianal areas with a warm paper towel to stimulate urination and defecation.
Act Early to Increase Milk Supply
If your dog does not produce enough milk at the beginning or does not have enough to satisfy all of her puppies, you still have a good chance of helping her out if you follow the steps outlined in the first part of this article. Stay calm, but act right away. This problem will not wait until tomorrow.
Even if she does not respond, keep in mind that the next few weeks will be over quickly. Puppies grow fast, and within three weeks, they will start taking soft food. You can still feed them with a bottle for the next few weeks, but most of your hard work will be over.
Take care of those puppies!
Question About Feeding Puppies
Morning! I have an issue. My lab had her 1st and only litter Wed. I've weighed the 11 pups daily and they aren't gaining weight. She is so exhausted and the pups are starving.
I bought prm and a bottle bit none will take it. Calli seems depressed and not normal but our vet said just be patient. I'm afraid if I keep waiting were looking atb11 dead pups and a suffering mamma.
What do I really need to do? These puppies are going to Wounded warriors and need to be healthy.
– Thanks, Carrie :)
Carrie, the only solution I can offer is to tube feed the puppies. This is not something you can learn over the internet. You will need to take the puppies to your regular vet so that the vet tech or vet nurse can show you what to do.
More About Caring for Pregnant or Nursing Dogs
- How to Feed a Pregnant or Nursing Dog a Natural Diet (Raw Dog Food)
If you are feeding a pregnant or nursing dog, you should be doing it naturally. Find out why, and what you should be giving her.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I know if my dog is running out of milk?
Answer: If the puppies are crying excessively, even after they have fed, your dog does not have enough milk.
Question: My bully had thirteen pups, and I've already lost three. I do not want to lose anymore. She has very little milk, and four out of the ten left are so skinny that their bones are showing. What can I do to help them put some weight on?
Answer: If a dog is not producing enough milk for a large litter, you need to supplement feed the pups. When they are very young, it is a lot of work, at least six times a day, but it is fine to give a lot less once the puppies are about three-weeks-old.
Here is a formula for a milk replacer that I use on my Pitbull puppies: https://hubpages.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replacer...
Question: My dog has twelve pups, but my relatives say to bury the female pups alive and keep only the males. It's because the mother only has four teats. What should I do to stop my relatives from doing that, and help my dog get more milk to feed the twelve pups?
Answer: You should not listen to their advice on this matter. Your female will have enough milk for eight to ten puppies. You can supplement all of the puppies with a simple homemade milk formula made up of coconut water and goats milk. Here is what you need to know: https://hubpages.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replacer...
The replacer is not expensive and is easy to make up.
Question: My dog had a litter of seven puppies, but when they born, she didn't keep them warm; when she went somewhere, she came back and sat on top of the puppies. Now they are all dead. My dog at the same time had a skin disease that she got from the father of the puppies. Is there any possible explanation for why she did that?
Answer: Not all females have a good maternal instinct. Even if the dog was sad, it is possible that she just did not know or care enough to take care of the puppies.
If this were my dog, I would have her spayed and not try to produce any puppies. Even if one lives, this may pass on to the puppies.
Question: My pitbull just had her second litter of puppies. This litter she only had 3 pups and I cant get her to drink any water. She is running out of milk. What do I do to help her?
Answer: You can try to increase her liquid consumption by offering soup or bone broth. If your dog is not drinking, however, there may be a medical problem. Take her to your local vet for a physical exam so that he can check her temperature and look for signs of a retained uterus or other infection.
Question: My dog has given birth to five puppies and she cant seem to produce enough milk for them so my friends suggested baby milk powder or cow baby milk. Should I give newborn puppies baby milk powder or cow baby milk?
Answer: Both of those suggestions are not good for a puppy. They are not appropriate diets. If you want to buy something, you can purchase an artificial dogs milk (called Esbilac) from a pet superstore or your local vet. If you want to make up your own solution you can look at https://pethelpful.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replac...
Question: Is there a way to stimulate more milk production in a dog? I don't want my dog to lose her babies, as this is the only litter she will ever have.
Answer: Oxytocin stimulates milk production, but if your dog does not have any milk production capacity, then nothing is going to work. If she is not able to feed the puppies and something is wrong, take her to your regular vet. He can examine her, maybe do bloodwork, and give you an idea of why she is not producing milk.
Question: My dog had her 9 puppies a week ago but she is very thin; you can notice her backbone, her ribs and hip bone. I am feeding her 3 to 4 times a day and she is still isn´t gaining weight and it also seems she is not producing any more milk. What can I do to help her?
Answer: The first thing to do is collect a stool sample and take it to your vet for an examination for worms. If she is parasitized, which she might well be, then she will continue to lose weight no matter what you are feeding her.
If she does not have worms she may have another illness. You will need to take her to your vet for an exam.
Question: My Chihuahua just gave birth, but I feel like she isn't producing any milk. The vets are closed. What can I do so she can give the puppies the milk that they need?
Answer: Take your fingers and try to squeeze a little milk out of her nipples. If she is not producing even a little colostrum, you do need to supplement. Are the pet stores in your area open? If so, you can get puppy milk replacer (a product like Esbilac) from there. If not, you can make a puppy milk replacer with goats milk. If you have none available from a nearby store, try making a puppy milk replacer by following the formula at https://hubpages.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replacer...
Do not try to tube feed these puppies until you have learned the proper way to do so. If they are too small to feed from a baby bottle, then an eye dropper is your next option.
Question: I tried to pinch my nursing dog nipples, and there's no milk going out. How can I know if there is milk in my dogs' nipples?
Answer: Pinching your dogs' nipples to express a little milk and check to see if it is coming out is not a good idea. When you squeeze the nipple, you are opening her up to mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands. When cows and other animals are "milked," the nipples are treated with a solution to prevent an ascending infection. The lack of a drop of milk at the tip of the nipple will not tell you if there is a problem.
So how can you tell? You have to check the puppies and see if they are getting milk. If they are not, they are not going to nurse, roll over, and take a nap. They are going to be trying to nurse all of the time, and will only rest when they are too weak to try any longer. If the female is not producing any milk at all, the puppies need to be fed a supplement immediately.
You should also weigh the puppies. If they are not gaining weight, she is not producing enough milk. If the female is producing some, but not enough, you need to supplement feed the puppies.
Question: Can I use a syringe to feed puppies since it works better than a bottle?
Answer: It can be done, but it is not the best idea. If you are giving your puppies extra milk with a syringe, be sure not to feed them too fast. If you inject the milk down into their lungs instead of letting them nurse naturally, the puppies can die of inhalation pneumonia.
Question: My female has quit feeding her pups since this morning. She does not feel good and has thrown up. How long should I wait?
Answer: You did not mention how old the pups are so I do not know if they need the supplemental feeding at all. I would be worried about the female even more so than the pups. You need to take her to your regular vet for an exam and probably blood work.
If she recently whelped she might have a retained placenta and septicemia. She may have some other sort of illness that she has passed to the puppies.
Find out as soon as you can.
Question: My dog's puppies are nursing what seems like every 20 minutes. Do I need to supplement? The pups are 3 days old.
Answer: Are the puppies crying a lot? Are you monitoring their weight? If you are not, go out and buy an inexpensive scale. If the puppies are not gaining weight you need to supplement. They may be feeding every 20 minutes because their mother is producing a lot of milk.
Question: My dog had puppies four days ago. She isn't doing much for her babies. She can hardly feed them. What do I do?
Answer: If the female does not have enough milk, you can refer to the discussion in the article. Sometimes providing more liquids will allow her to produce more milk.
If she has milk but does not want to feed the puppies, you can hold her down and force her to feed the puppies, you can tube feed the puppies a formula, or you can bottle feed the puppies.
If you choose to tube feed the puppies, you need to have a vet or breeder show you how to do this correctly so that they do not die of aspiration pneumonia.
Question: Can I use a surrogate for my puppies?
Answer: If you have another female that has given birth at the same time but does not have many puppies, by all means, you should take advantage of that resource. One of the best "old-fashioned" methods of taking care of puppies whose moms did not have enough milk is to use another dog. Most people do not have this option, but if you know of a breeder nearby, you should contact him or her and ask for help.
Question: I have two Pitbulls. I have changed their dog food, but they are still not gaining weight. What is a good dog food?
Answer: If they are in good health and are not gaining weight because of the food, the best thing, in my opinion, is to put them on a natural raw prey based diet. The dogs get enough protein in the diet and calcium from eating the bones,
I start my Pitbull puppies on raw chicken feet and necks as soon as they are eating solids. Do some reading on this subject and find out the best raw food sources in your area.
Question: My female mountain cur is aggressive towards my other dogs when she has puppies. She isn't aggressive toward us. But should I be worried about my other dog's safety?
Answer: It is normal for female dogs to be aggressive towards other dogs for about the first 2 or 3 weeks. After that, they chill out quite a bit since the puppies are running around.
Female dogs will bite but do not usually maul the other dogs in the household. Most dogs I have seen are smart enough to steer clear of the new mom. Do your best to keep them apart for a few weeks though.
Question: Can whole milk help my dog produce more milk?
Answer: Unless your dog is suffering from malnutrition, whole milk does not have much effect on milk production. If your dog is dehydrated after whelping she could drink soup or fresh cool water. Check the possible causes in the list above before just trying milk.
Question: What do I do if my dog's nipples are seemingly too big to be nursed?
Answer: Puppies will learn to nurse even if the nipples are very large. When they are newborn, they might only be able to latch onto the end of the nipple, but after a few days they will be large enough, and be able to open their mouths enough, that they should have no problems.
If your dog is built is such a way that the puppies are not able to nurse those first few days, you will have to nurse the female and feed the puppies with a bottle. If you do not know how to do so, you need to find a breeder in your area to help you. If you do not have a breeder acting as your mentor ask your vet and he will find someone that lives close to you.
Question: Can I give my nursing mother dog puppy formula to help her produce more milk?
Answer: You can give a nursing dog a puppy formula to help her meet her dietary requirements, but if she is not producing milk for one of the reasons listed in the article, this is not going to help. If she is deficient in nutrients for some reason, like suffering from chronic malnutrition after being fed cheap commercial food, it can help. If the dog is too far along, it will not do much good.
Question: My dog had seven puppies, but an X-ray revealed there were still two inside. We had her spayed and she stopped producing milk. Is there any way to make her start lactating?
Answer: Talk to the vet that did the surgery and ask for an oxytocin injection to cause the milk to drop. This is not a guaranteed solution, but it is the best chance she will have. If your dog does not produce milk, you will need to bottle feed the puppies. Here is a formula I use: https://hubpages.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replacer...
Question: My Pit Bull just had her puppies five days ago, but doesn’t supply enough milk, and the puppies don’t like the milk replacer. What do I do?
Answer: You can make up your own milk replacer using coconut milk. I think puppies do very well on this solution: https://hubpages.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replacer...
Not all dogs are alike, of course. If your puppies still will not take this formula try fresh goats milk.
The other possible solution is tube feeding your puppies. You can not learn to do this correctly over the internet. Try to find a breeder in your area that can show you the procedure.
Question: How do you store the “natural milk replacement” recipe that you provided above?
Answer: You can keep the unused portion in the refrigerator for the next feeding.
© 2013 Dr Mark
Amanda on September 06, 2020:
My boyfriends dog just got pregnant. She did not produce enough milk with her last litter and all but 1 died. How do we get her milk production up enough while pregnant to support her upcoming litter?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 04, 2020:
Hi Angela, I would not worry about it. The older puppy was unlikely to have taken enough milk to even affect the dog. Just keep them separated so that it does not happen again. Best of luck with your new puppies.
Angela on July 02, 2020:
I have a dog that's pregnant and a pup that's about 5 weeks old. Yesterday the pup started feeding off my pregnant dog. I separated them but I'm worried about her unborn poppies. Did the pup harm her colostrum milk supply or harm the unborn puppies any way? The pregnant dog still hasnt had puppies..
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 02, 2020:
Casey, dogs do lose weight when they are producing a lot and offerred just dry dog food. You can try to give something that tastes better a few times a day, like chicken breasts.At the very least make some soup stock (no onions!) and pour it on her food a few times a day so that it tastes better than her normal food.
Casey on June 29, 2020:
My boxer had 9 puppies 7 survived. This is her first litter. They are doubling in size they are almost two weeks old. The mother is still so skinny her bones are showing. I have food down for her all through out the day and she is eating but not gaining any weight. How can I help her? I’m also trying to make sure she is producing enough milk? How can I help her?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 11, 2020:
I would still let them nurse if they are getting anything but also supplement feed. Use a homemade milk replacer.
Gaye on April 05, 2020:
My dogs puppies was born Thursday and the last one was 175g and now only 176g what can I do to help they all seem content and only cry when hungry so confused cause if they wasn’t getting enough they would cry all time
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 30, 2019:
Tara, your dog may or may not have scarring secondary to the mastitis. No one can tell you for sure until the next litter is born.
Have you found homes for all of the puppies? Is this a dog that you must breed again? If not, you may be better off getting her spayed and avoid the possibility of hand nursing another litter of puppies.
Adekunle dog on November 29, 2019:
How to treat Daria and Pavo easily,4 puppies and aldult.
Tara on November 24, 2019:
Hi my girl had 9 beautiful babies boxer/ hounds I’m feeding them they are doing great but she was diagnosed with mastitis sand can’t be near them I’m just wondering later down the road can she have a second liter or is she more likely to get mastitis again
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 24, 2019:
Paula, it sounds like your dog has eclampsia, a low calcium level in the blood. It is life threatening. Your dog will need to be checked by your local vet and if this is the problem will need intravenous calcium. It is not something that can be treated at home.
Paula on November 21, 2019:
My question may not be related with this article but still i hope you will consider to answer,
My dog gave birth 9 days ago and yesterday i found out that she can't walk properly her BACK LEGS are shaking while walking and she can't stand for long,, she just laying in her bed, what should i do with my dog, im so obsessed to find answer that's why i wrote a comment in this article.. please help if you know how to treat my dog
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 03, 2019:
Kayden, if the puppies are waking you up crying the mother does not have enough milk. Try supplementing them with a puppy formula and next week you can start them on regular food (moistened, of course)
Kayden on October 26, 2019:
My dog recenlty had pups theyre are a week old today.
Shes been on the right diet plan as i got from my vet but today as shes moving on the the second week she doesnt really have milk as thats what im thinking
I squeezed he teat as their is a little their but not much. She gets fed 4 times aday and had a litter of 6 is this normal ?is this my dog cutting down her feeding times to nurse the babies ?
Its her first and last litter
Their not skinny or ewt but itnjust seems to be concerning. Or am i just panicing over nothing.
I mean they keep me up most of the night. As their in my bedroom.
tammy on June 09, 2019:
It seemed my dog was falling a bit short on milk production. I am thankful the lady at the petstore bred dogs and suggested feeding the mama goat milk. My dog is very picky but readily drinks this which seemed to help. The pups hardly whimper while feeding now.
Doris on May 25, 2019:
I think my dog is getting ready to have her puppies soon but she's not started breathing hard or having labor pains yet but I noticed that two of my male dogs are sniffing her like they did when she was in heat
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 02, 2019:
Mary Lou, if your small dog has diarrhea she can become dehydrated quickly. She will stop producting milk. That is not normal, so you really need to have her and the puppies seen by your regular vet immediately.
Mary lou on March 02, 2019:
Yes my chiwiene dog had seven puppies shes accepted all seven of them and feeds them all am constanly watching her but she has real bad diarie and every wimp a puppie crys am there is that normal
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 24, 2019:
Joy, your dog may have a retained placenta. The only way to find out is to take her to an experienced vet for a physical exam. The vet that examines her will help you with the bleeding, if this continues to be an issue.
Joy on February 24, 2019:
My dog had puppies 3 days ago she has absolutely no milk so i have been bottle feeding every 3 hours since birth she also has been bleeding heavily since birthing them i also noticed 6 of the 8 puppies were born without their placenta attached is there anything i can do to stop this from happening and what can i do to stop her from bleeding?
Fressa on February 11, 2019:
My Dog had her first litter going on two weeks ago. Some days are better than others. Only because some days everything is normal and other days, she starts panting out of no where. She won’t drink right away but she will in a little while and then the panting stops. Also I feel like her nipples aren’t normal but it could be just me overthinking. They are pinkish/red and are warm and also seem a little bruised as the pups grow a little bigger. (Hickey like and also the two on the back have a little lump when you touch them)
She doesn’t give a hard time feeding or licking her pups. I also don’t have a scale to weigh them
Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on November 13, 2018:
Very enlightening article!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 25, 2018:
Luatisha, if it has already been 3 weeks then the puppies are old enough to be on regular food and milk replacer. Make sure that the food is wet and feed a milk replacer made up with a goat milk or coconut water base. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replac...
Luatisha on October 24, 2018:
My 3 year old mini pincher had 5 pups three weeks ago and she isnt really producing milk what should i do?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 03, 2018:
Shellie, it is fine to supplement feed the pups. The mother will still continue nursing. Use a puppy milk replacer or use one of the milk replacer formulas from this site.
Shellie on August 03, 2018:
My GS has 9 pups.. now 3 days old.... I feel that she is not producing enough milk. She is not eating that much. We try to make her drink water all the time. We are trying to make sure she switches sides when feeding, but I feel she is not producing. Can I bottle feed them and still have mom nurse them
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 30, 2018:
Kayla,it can be normal, but I would still recommend that you take your dogs temperature and find out if it is normal. If it is abnormal it can idicate that she has a retained placenta and a secondary and life threatening infection, mastitis, etc. If that is the case you will need to take her to your vet for blood work and antibiotics.
Good luck with the puppies. If you do not have a home for all of them start looking now.
Kayla on April 29, 2018:
My pit/shephard had her puppies a couple days ago they look good and healthy but shes originally an outside dog but we brought her and her 6 puppies in because its still pretty chilly and plus they kept falling oit of her dog box on the cold ground. Now that they are inside i have been able to keep a better eye on her with this being her first litter and trying to help her with them anyway she seems to be panting heavily like shes hot but its not hot in my house ive even got a fan blowing towards her to try to help her keep cool is this normal?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 28, 2018:
Teresa, if you are asking if there is a commercial product out there that claims to help a dog with milk production, I am sure there is. Companies will produce anything that they are able to sell. If you want to stimulate milk though, allowing the puppies to nures and providing simple water or soup will do the job for you.
Teresa Comstock on April 27, 2018:
Is there a supplement for nursing moms to help with milk production?
Sam on February 17, 2018:
Okay I’m gonna to the store and get them a heating blanket and a can of formula but if I run out of that I do have some coconut water and some eggs I'll get some yogurt while I'm there anything I should get while I’m a the store for I’m determined to keep the puppies alive thank you
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 17, 2018:
Sam, I am not in favor of taking the puppies to a shelter to kill them. If you cannot afford more puppy milk replacer here is a formula I make with coconut water:
Since your puppies are so young their tummies are more sensitive so do your best to obtain goats milk instead of cows milk.
Sam on February 17, 2018:
I started feeding them yesterday the esiblac puppy milk and the vet told us if we couldn’t get them to latch on to her to take them to the dog pound to put them to sleep but I believe they have a fighting chance but we’re im about to run out of puppy milk could I use a little bit of baby formula I don’t know if I could but what would you prefer? And I’m gonna try my best to get a heating blanket today for them
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 17, 2018:
Sam, you need to call the vet´s office that performed the surgery. They will have a better idea on how late the dog was before the c-section and also what her physical condition was before the surgery. If you do not start feeding the puppies today they will start to die, so go out and get some puppy milk replacer.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 09, 2018:
The milk will stop producing and the dog will dry up, but when you mention the hard breast it makes it sound like she already has mastitis. Does she seem like she has a fever? Is she vomiting? If she has any signs of illness, take her to your regular vet for a physical exam.
Virginia on February 08, 2018:
Hello! Our chihuahua gave birth to 1 puppy who died less than 24 hours later. She was not latching on our dogs nipples and that general area has become somewhat hard! Will her milk supply stop or can we help her in any way?
dk on January 13, 2018:
I don't understand why all of you are breeding dogs. There are so many dogs dying on the streets and in shelters every day.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 11, 2018:
Shina, if she is panting more than normally, it may be normal but you should check her body temperature. Do you know how to check? If it is high, she may have a retained placenta--please visit your local vet.
Shina deljooi on January 11, 2018:
My pitbull give birth to 4 beautiful puppies yesterday but she is painting why is that
Kelly Dean on December 29, 2017:
Hello My dog had a pup 3 days ago pup was to large so had a c section.They both came home that night because all was going great but the pup cried alot last night and always wants to eat but think she just isn't getting satisfied.She hasn't pooped yet either mom first bowel moment was today.The pup is a big boy just afraid nothing coming out anymore.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 29, 2017:
Cheryl, I am glad to hear that. I hope things work out for you both. Let me know if I can help at all.
Cheryl on December 29, 2017:
Hi Dr Mark, we took her vets after the first 4 were born on Xmas day and boxing day, she had a still born breech blocking the way for the rest, but she was at the vets when she had the rest so all is well in that sense. It's just the milk shortage were worried about now. I'll get some soup for her. Thank you for you your help
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 28, 2017:
Cheryl, that is not normal. Have you had her checked by your vet? Consider retained placenta, calcium deficieny, etc. The only thing you can try at home is providing her with a lot more fluids, preferably soup so that it also has some calories. Read the advice in the article.
Cheryl on December 28, 2017:
My nursing dog has 7 pups, they were born over 3 days so our different ages, the eldest is 3 days. Mum is not producing enough milk, we've tried to bottle feed but mum gets really stressed and angry when we try to take them, is there any way to help her produce more milk?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 27, 2017:
Michelle, what kind of dog is she? If the litter is large for the breed, it is possible that one of the pups was born weak, but if you really want to try you should supplement feed. If you are going to make a difference you are going to have to get up every few hours, offer her a warm supplement, and see if she is likely to feed. If you know how to tube feed, that is a much better option. If you do not know, and have no one to teach you, do not try it since it can be dangerous for the puppy.
Michelle Weber on December 27, 2017:
Hello doctor Mark. My mommy dog just gave birth last dec. 22. puppies are now 5 days old. They are a total of 6 and were born with same weight (2 7oz, 2 60z and 2 5oz) However, as day goes by the other 5 oz remain goes down to 4oz. I always give her the breast where it says has more milk but she doesn't suck long. I wonder what to do? should I feed her alone?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 15, 2017:
If your puppies have not gained weight for one wk you need to start feeding them now. 3 wks is plenty old enough to start drinking from a bowl, and you can also give minced meat and other foods at this time, as long as they are semi-digested type. Look at my article
to learn how to make a puppy milk replacer, and
if you need some more info on feeding puppies.
April on December 15, 2017:
My pitbull had 10 puppies and they are now 2 days away from being 3 weeks old and she has stopped producing milk. They get a little bit here and there but have not gained any weight since week 2.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 16, 2017:
Lynda, it sounds like she is already producing enough milk for more than one puppy, and if the udder is hard it might be because of mastitis. I recommend you take her in and have her examined for infection. If you cannot, you might try taking the excess milk many times per day. (If you do not milk her, she will definitely develop mastitis.) Good luck with them.
Lynda on November 16, 2017:
My first time mum only had one puppy she fed well for 3 days now looks as if she's no milk her one of her tweets felt quit hard but after puppy suckling feels ok now what can I do to help
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 15, 2017:
Johni, where are you located? How bad are the winters? Is your dog small or large?Outside or inside?
johnibarresto on November 15, 2017:
Any Good suggestions for caring dog in winters ?
Carisa schulze on October 27, 2017:
I have a question.. My dog had puppies on sunday, 10 but lost 4. Now she isn't giving enough milk for the puppies and even when I feed them milk from a bottle, they still whine and whine. What do I do
Christine on October 27, 2017:
Chicken soup? Or chicken broth?
Pamela on October 15, 2017:
Always remember if puppies won't take bottle. The medication syringe they give at the pharmacy for Little ones they work great. You can measure and actually keep track what your feeding your furbabies.
Darla on October 12, 2017:
Hi ya'll I am a proud grandma of 12 beautiful lab puppies.. three were breach saved them all. Two runts, 1 of the runts is not growing at the alarming speed of even the other runt. Mom only has 9 tits and already she is getting tired of beong with them. My concern should I supplement early, so they all get enough, I am going to with Tiny or she is not going to grow, the others are double the size of her. Help 9 tits 12 Lab akc puppies
Angie on October 10, 2017:
My pom had 4 pups last night this is her second litter and the first time she could not feed them. The pups are all trying to nurse are quiet unless bothered and sleeping well but when i feel her teats they dont feel full and i was unable to get anything out. Should we supplement or let her try
Okoijie Endurance on September 25, 2017:
Would feeding the puppies with a human baby formula suffice?
Norma on June 12, 2017:
I've tried to nurse puppies at least every hour water supplements and one of the pups will not go potty how often should they go everyone says different things so I'm confused the smallest one keeps trying to push they are a week old his tummy is not really hard but what can I do to help him go potty
JennR on June 06, 2017:
My girl had her 1st liter of 6 pups. She isn't producing as much milk as needed. I've been feeding her old fashioned oatmeal every other day, helps a little, but I was wondering if I could give her Organic Mother's Milk tea that promotes healthy lactation? Any information would be much appreciated, thank you!!!!!
lisa beckman on April 08, 2017:
she had 13 pups 2 weeks old seems like shes not produceing enough milk what can i do
Vic on April 07, 2017:
Hi my friend dog just gave birth to 11 puppies but can't breastfeed them,
4 puppies already died because of these issue. The dog it's new mom as well. What we should do to avoid this.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 03, 2017:
Hi Annie fat helps a lot so if she is okay with the bacon grease feel free to give her more. The main cause of poor milk production I see is malnutrition, and the high grain diets most of our dogs are forced to eat do not provide enough calories. Do you guys make goat cheese? (That is also very high in fat and great for nursing dogs.) Fish oil, which is also high in omaga-3 fatty acids, are also good. Congrats on Lady´s litter!
Annie Wilson on April 03, 2017:
I would like to thank you for posting this information online. My dog, Lady, just had 9 puppies and this is her second whelping. She is a great mother and is always letting the pups nurse. She also cleans them every 30 minutes or so. I was just worried about her milk supply. I have been adding extras in her food to help with the milk production. I added chicken broth in her food last night and a bacon greased, fried egg every morning. luckily we raise goats so we already have the goat milk available in case it is needed. Are there any other foods that I can add into her regular dog food that might help speed the process of producing milk?
Again thank you for all this information.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 28, 2017:
Geraldine, no, it does not go to her teats. Since many dogs have an intolerance to milk, it is what is causing her diarrhea. Try feeding the puppies the milk replacer formula I give above.
Geraldine Duran on February 27, 2017:
If I give the mom milk to drink, does it go to her teats for the puppies ar just come back out!! she didn't have anything coming out of the teats when the puppies were born so I gave her pet milk but it gave her diahrrea!
Deena on February 25, 2017:
My Molly gave birth to her first and only litter of 11 puppies. They are 4 days old and I'm thinking she's been a little nervous or stressed on two of the days because the puppies have been crying more but all and all she's been doing great.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 21, 2017:
Wendee, I would definitely recommend fresh homemade chicken soup if you can make it. The soup you can make at home usually tastes better and the dog is more likely to drink it.
However, if you cannot the high sodium chicken soup available in a can is okay too. The high salt content is more likely to make her drink more.
Wendee on January 19, 2017:
What kind of chicken soup? homemade?
Gina on July 29, 2016:
My dog's puppies is 2 weeks old... and I'm having trouble with her nursing teats.. and I squeeze on them... and sometimes milk comes out like it's supposed to... and sometimes it doesn't... and today is the 29th and it doesn't look like any is coming out of most of them... but the puppies are on the teats nursing like maybe milk coming out I don't know can't tell and I'm wondering when she is not producing any milk and most of her teats what do I do I'm stressed out about it and I want my puppies to live and I saw on the internet that the puppies are supposed to gain weight week by week and this is just they were born on the 14th of July.... please help what do I do????? there is one bigger puppy... and the rest is about medium size one is just a little bit smaller but not by much.. 4 puppies total. The mama has been eating her food I've been giving her dry food and wet food mixed together... and then sometimes I put about a cap full of oil in her food of canola oil and then sometimes I put lard grease from the stove in her food but not very much... am I doing what's right so far please help I don't want my puppies to die or cry because they don't have milk . 7/29/2016
Summer Edwards on May 31, 2016:
My dog is having her first litter of puppies and I'm a nervous wreck.i want to make sure they are safe and well fed.she keeps rolling over on them and I'm concerned they are having trouble nursing .all advice welcomed! Thanks in advance !
Laly on May 12, 2016:
Thanks for all the information.. It's very informative...
Yashni on April 13, 2016:
Actually my dog got 4 premature babies
One died and other are still here
Problem is the mother is not having enough milk for the puppies
And I have started giving them milk but they are not opening their mouth
However with certain difficulties they drank the milk
I need help so that the mother can take care of her babies
And also have enough milk to feed her babies
Very stressed concerning the puppies and the mother from the time we lost the 1 puppy
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 12, 2016:
Catherine, there is a puppy feeding formula I have developed at https://pethelpful.com/dogs/best-puppy-milk-replac... .
If they do not care for that much, you can using organic goats milk instead of the powdered formula. (Mix the goats milk with the coconut water, as described above.) Good luck with your little puppies, but get the mom spayed as soon as the puppies are weaned to prevent this happening again. Good luck
Catherine on April 12, 2016:
PLEASE help me! My Chiweenie got pregnant in her 1st heat, by my Chi-pom. Against my better judgment, I didn't fix her ASAP, and Dino got 2 her. She'll b 1 yr, late May, and she had her litter on April 3rd. She had 4 beautiful puppies, and there were no complications. (Thank u Jesus) But my fear of her not having enough milk 4 her pups has come true. I took them 2 the Vet, 2 days after they were born. He said, "They're not gaining as much weight, as i'd like them 2." He told me 2 bottle feed each 1, four times a day. I immediately went 2 Petsmart, and purchased a nursing kit, and powder formula. They HATED it. They wouldn't open they're mouths, and cried when I tried 2 feed them. :( This stressed me out, and mad me so sad. They appear 2 b gaining weight, but they cry, often, and struggle 2 latch on. I'm fearful they're not drinking enough. What am I 2 do?! They're 9 days old now. Should I try again? Do u think they might b more accepting of the bottle now? I'm so afraid they're not gonna gain the proper, healthy weight they so desperately need. PLEASE help me!
Jamie on April 01, 2016:
Thanks for this. I literally dunno what to do. My bitch loves her pups so much but she ain't got enough milk. I made a chikn' soup earlier and it did worked. I saw the mouth of her pups with milk residue. So glad I found this blog.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 14, 2016:
Anil, most puppies do not even need the formula. If they are hungry, and the female is not producing enough milk, go ahead and supplement as soon as you need to. They should be able to start eating solid foods (made up as a mush) at 3 weeks of age.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 14, 2016:
Marie, female dogs are much less protective of their puppies as the days pass, so you just need to stick with it until she realizes you are not hurting the puppy and gets used to it.
You have a lot of work ahead of you. Good luck to you all.
anil kumar on March 13, 2016:
When we start this goats milk formula after dog giving birth...
Marie on March 10, 2016:
My dog gave birth on Monday and one of the puppies is not getting enough but every time I try to feed it with her there she tries to pull the puppy away and stop the feeding, it has a cleft so there is no way she can feed it. If I try to feed it in another room she barks the whole time. Is there anything I could do to help the situation?
maryviolago on December 13, 2015:
im worried about my bitch, it's like there is a circled swollen lump around her nipples, im not sure if it is mastitis coz she still continues to attend the needs of her pups. She also didnt stop breastfeeding nor have lost her appetite
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 25, 2015:
Samantha--if the pups do not want the Esbilac, I would try another formula. Make up some of the goats milk formula described in this hub. (If you look under the "related hubs" you will also see a milk replacer formula made with coconut water, which I think is the best .) Is the replacer warm when you offer it? Try putting a drop of replacer on your fingertip and opening the puppy´s mouth to start her nursing.
If the pups still wont eat, the only way to save them will be to tube feed. There is no way I can show you how to do this on the internet so you will need to take them to your local vet or a breeder willing to help you.
Do something right away!
Samantha on June 23, 2015:
I have a female that I retrieved from a pound. She is close too two years old. This is her first litter. She has 11 pups...she is not producing enough milk and actually I don't think she is producing any. What can i/need to do? I have purchased a milk replacement formula but the pups don't want it. What can I do?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 13, 2015:
Maria it sounds like you are already doing all you can. The pups have to be cleaned with a wet paper towel to stimulate defecation, and if you need more advice on making up a formula here is an article I wrote:
It is unusual for a dog not to want her puppies but not unheard of. If you want to keep them alive, do everything you can for them for the next few weeks: keeping fed, keeping warm, and cleaning.
Good luck to you all.
maria larronde on May 12, 2015:
I have a dog around two years old first litter. just had a little of 7 first one she kill and doesn't want the puppies i have try to introduce them to her but she tries to snap at them we are nursing them.we hold mother down so the puppies can get nurse we also bought puppies formula. I am also cleaning them we keep them warm .What else can we do for them???
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 10, 2015:
Hi amarie if she stopped because of hunger I cannot guarantee that she is going to start producing again. Here is an article I wrote on using a puppy milk replacer:
If you do supplement feed for the next few weeks, be sure to leave the pups with the mom so that she can clean the pups and raise them normally (discipline, etc.). Good luck with her.
amarie on February 06, 2015:
My dog have birth 2 weeks ago, and I noticed today that her milk isn't coming out, we also had an emergency early in the morning knowing she had plenty of water from that night, we didn't feed her until we came back home in the afternoon. We feed her the minute we walked through the door, can the milk come back after being fed?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 25, 2014:
David, do you mean she is eating eggs and cottage cheese but will not eat commercial dog food? Have you tried the methods above, like chicken soup?If her vet check is okay, no mouth lesions or other health problem, try switching her diet to something better.
Nine is also very old to have puppies. Is this her first litter? Is she even taking care of them?
David on October 25, 2014:
I have a 9 year old female she is at the vet now but she hasn't ate a cup of food in 2weeks what is my options she will eat eggs and cottage cheese and rice but she isn't producing enough milk to feed her pups and is running out of milk any ideas will help a lot thanks
Uma on May 18, 2014:
Thanks a lot for the info is very useful ..
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 23, 2013:
Hi Solaras, glad I can help your BC crew! I really enjoyed all the updates of your latest litter that you posted on that "other" site. The little yawning puppy in the photo is my latest litter of Pits. Cute, huh?
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on December 23, 2013:
Great post - Thumbs up and useful! I feed goat's milk, did not know to add the egg yolks and yogurt.
TurtleDog on December 23, 2013:
Thanks Dr Mark. I've always had dogs that are 'fixed' so to speak but have thought about breeding (in extremely humane ways of course) maybe in the next life. Good post and very unique
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 22, 2013:
Yes, I will be surprised if this gets much traffic since most people do not breed, but it may be able to help someone.
I have heard a lot of negatives on the few comercially available colostrums, but there are no good studies that I know of. They have less immunity than with regular colostrum, but no one is sure if it is enough (to my knowledge). It sure would be better than nothing, if it was from a company that was any good. I have also heard of taking serum from a healthy dog on the premises, and that may have a lot more value. Or not!
Bob Bamberg on December 22, 2013:
Great info, Doc. Around here the emphasis is on spay and neuter, so very few dog owners experience whelping and having puppies around that are too young to leave the mom.
What about the powdered canine colostrum that's available commercially? It's my understanding they should get colostrum for the first 24 hrs. Would that stuff do the trick if mom can't produce any? At my store we sold calf colostrum and kid colostrum, but I never brought the pet stuff in. Voted up, useful and interesting.