First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Producing Milk?

One would expect their female dog to produce milk after she has had puppies. Female dogs can produce milk that is emitted by their nipples, as any female mammal can. But dogs may even produce milk—or what looks like milk—through their nipples when they are not pregnant and have not recently given birth.

  • Lactating
  • False pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Mammary gland tumor

Most of the time, milk production will be either a normal and healthy physical function, or at least not dangerous. However, there can be dangerous underlying causes, so a milk-producing dog who is not recently or currently pregnant should be examined by a veterinarian.

Book First Walk Free!

Why Producing Milk Occurs in Dogs

Female dogs produce milk, or something with the appearance of milk, for two sets of reasons. Most of the time it is related to real or perceived pregnancy, but it can also be related to various illnesses. 

Lactating

Female dogs spontaneously produce milk when they have given birth to puppies. This is a normal part of biological parenthood for any female mammal. 

False Pregnancy

Female dogs may also produce milk when experiencing a false pregnancy or when another creature attempts to nurse from her. A false pregnancy is a condition where a female dog exhibits various symptoms of pregnancy, such as producing milk and building a nest for her puppies, but is not pregnant. Female dogs can also produce milk when another creature, such as a puppy or kitten, sucks and kneads her mammary area, even though she may not be pregnant or have recently given birth.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can develop when a dog’s thyroid gland does not function properly, throwing the dog’s hormones out of balance. This causes the dog’s metabolism to slow down, causing symptoms that are typically associated with old age, such as lethargy, weight gain, loss of muscle coordination, and many more. Hypothyroidism usually occurs in medium to large dogs between 4 and 10 years old, and can be caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis, thyroid cancer, improper level of iodine, being born with it (congenital hypothyroidism), or for no clear reason.

Mammary Gland Tumor

Mammary gland tumors are growths in one or more of a female dog’s ten teats. They may or may not be cancerous. Hormones are a clear factor in mammary cancer, as only half of one percent of dogs spayed before their first heat ever develop the disease. Toxins, such as pesticides and household chemicals, may be a risk, but there are no clear and certain non-hormonal causes of mammary gland tumors. In the case of a mammary gland tumor, the white substance produced may look like milk, but it is actually pus.

What to do if your Dog is Producing Milk

If your dog is pregnant or has recently given birth, she should be producing milk. Leave her to it. Neither are a false pregnancy or spontaneous nursing problematic. They are interesting phenomena, but they do not present a health problem. Discomfort or engorgement of the mammary glands may occur in any of these cases; these may be eased with alternating warm and cold compresses. However, hypothyroidism or mammary gland tumors require immediate medical attention.

Hypothyroidism is the less serious of the two conditions. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated, and a dog with hypothyroidism can live a normal and healthy life. Your dog’s veterinarian will give your dog thyroxine, an oral hormonal replacement, which she will take for the rest of her life. The dosage may need to be adjusted as your dog’s weight and drug tolerance fluctuates. Mammary gland tumors will need to be surgically removed, possibly followed by chemotherapy or, less likely, radiation. Following treatment, the owner should take care to regularly check the dog’s mammary glands for a recurrence of tumors.

Prevention of Producing Milk

There is no need to prevent a normally lactating female dog from producing milk, even if it is experiencing a false pregnancy or nursing without being pregnant. Hypothyroidism is typically not preventable; however, mammary gland tumors are almost entirely preventable by spaying your female dog before her first heat.

Cost of Producing Milk

A normally lactating dog does not require any medical treatment, nor does a dog experiencing a false pregnancy or spontaneous milk production for another nursing animal. The average cost of treating hypothyroidism is $1300, while it costs an average of $5500 to treat mammary gland tumors.

Producing Milk Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Chippy
Dachshund
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

allergies

I have a dachshund dog around 3-4 years old and just recently I found out that she's been producing milk and as I can notice with her, she's been suffering some allergies, she also has a lump on her lower stomach I'm so worried about her condition :(

Add a comment to Chippy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

chika
Chihuahua
14 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

no symptoms

i have a fpuppy n she is sucking on my female dog trying to get milk from her will this give my dog cancer coz the pup is sucking from her they r 2 different breeds i was lied to bout the age of the pup she is now bout 6 weeks i am getting her healthy n everything but she is sucking from my female dog

I have two puppies and a dog tht I have for 2yrs, she is producing milk and she also has a lump on her belly. Is she pregnant?

Add a comment to chika's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Luna
Pittbull
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lactating
Vomiting
Affection
Drowsiness

I have a pitbull she's around 1 year old and a rotty he's 10 months old. Now recently my pitty has enlarged nipples and buldges underneath her nipples. Is she producing milk? Or would it be tumors? I couldn't imagine tumors because only 4 of 7 seven nipples are this way. It wouldn't be hypothyroidism because she is too young. I'm wondering or not if this is a false pregnancy or not? She's been sleepy and really affectionate during the day and constantly wants on the couch or our bed. Now is she trying to nest? She has an increase in appetite. She used to eat 2 cups of food throughout the day. Now she eats around 4 cups. Two in the morning two at night. She is pretty slim and healthy and i haven't noticed her tummy get bigger. She was in heat about 2-3 months ago. Our rotty would have been around 6-7 months. Can rottys mature that early? I caught them in the act of mating a couple times but i hope i stopped it in time. We wouldn't be able to keep an eye on them all the time because we live in a house with a big yard. My pitty also has been vomiting not too frequently but randomly. I haven't noticed frequent urination. If she is pregnant. What do i have to do at the time of birth to keep the puppies healthy? Is she going to die because she is pregnant too young? If it is a false pregnancy what would bring that on? Nothing has tried to suckle her. I need some advice an clarity. Any information helps.

I would say by now you would know that whether your dog is pregnant. Since it only takes 59 to 63 days to grow puppies from mating. You said you can see her belly grow and milk sacs. From that I believe, puppies should be making arrival soon. I do have a false pregnancy dog. You can tell the difference and your two, male and female dogs were left alone. 1+1 = more puppies. Next time spay one at least. Put one in a crate while you cannot keep a constant eye on them. Unless you want puppies again. Assuming you have them now. Which I kinda do assume you do. Which means I could be and ass, I know I am putting myself out there. Happy pupping. or not. Either way enjoy your dogs they are such a joy.

Add a comment to Luna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Abby
American Staffordshire Terrier
5 Years
Fair condition
-1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Weight gain
Loss of Appetite

We have a 5-year-old unaltered female and a 10-month-old unaltered male. The male is being fixed today. Our female had a heat cycle around the beginning of July, earlier than expected and this was the soonest date we could get the boy in for neutering. We tried keeping them separated while she was in heat, but I caught them tied briefly once (they broke out of their cages and scratched doors open in the middle of the night), for a few minutes as they'd just gone back to back when I got to where they were and had to wait for them to untie so as not to hurt them. It's now late August and our girl has experienced some thickening around her midsection, enlarged tears, a drop in appetite, and while she's already a very cuddly dog, she's lately very attached to me especially, following me all over the house and laying all over me. I've tried palpating her myself under the advisement of a vet, but I can't tell if I'm feeling puppies. Shes also leaking very small drops of what looks like milk from her teats. Everyrhing I've read says dogs produce no milk at all until just a week or a few days before birth, but she'd still have a full month to go based on the timing. My question is, is it possible our female is pregnant despite the male being so young and the mating being so brief, and is the fact she's leaking milk so early an indication that this is a false , or can dogs jn face leak this early on? She is seeing a vet sook but some peace of mind is appreciated

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/symptom/why-is-my-dog-producing-milk

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
It is highly likely that Abby is pregnant, yes. Your veterinarian will be able to take an x-ray in a few weeks to confirm, but everything you are describing is normal in a pregnancy.

Add a comment to Abby's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Luna
White Shepherd
6 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lactating, whining, panting,

My 6 year old white german shepherd has recently started panting, whining and today we noticed she was producing milk. Her food and water intake hasnt changed nor her bathroom habits.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
If Luna is not spayed, she may be having hormonal problems that need attention. Dogs can get uterine and mammary infections that need treatment. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, unless you think that she may be pregnant.

Add a comment to Luna's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Moana
Labrador Retriever
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

I have two female dogs, one who recently gave birth to 7 puppies. A few weeks, later my other female dog tries to nurse the puppies though she hasn't yet given birth or is currently pregnant. She is only 1 year old. I am concerned about her behavior because she keeps on nursing the puppies even when I keep her away from them. Is this bad or just natural? What should I do?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If Moana isn't pregnant or in heat, she shouldn't be able to produce milk for the puppies. It is probably just a maternal behavior and not worrisome, but it is important to make sure that the puppies are actually nursing from the dog that gave birth to them.

Add a comment to Moana's experience

Was this experience helpful?

NONE
None
6 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

SPAYING

I have a friend that had her dog spayed. few years later her dog had been stolen. we think we found her dog but the person that has her says she is feeding her pups. said it couldn't be her because she had puppies. i want to know if years down the road can she be put with puppies or kittens and start giving milk. I really wanted to know if this dog could have had spaying reversed. the person that has her hs there own vet. and might be dog selling company.
THANK YOU
ALICIA WRIGHT

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. A dog spay is not a reversible procedure, no. When we spay dogs, we remove the uterus and ovaries, so there is no way for them to get pregnant, or to have puppies.

Add a comment to NONE's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Bella and ebony
Shitzu
6 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

I have two bitch shiztue that I had mated 64 days ago. They both are leaking milk and nesting but they don’t seem to have puppies in there stomach that I can feel anyway. They have both put weight on and one has had litter before but not the other one. Does this mean a false pregnancy.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Whilst 63 days is the term pregnancy in dogs, it may be up to 67 days; symptoms of false pregnancy normally occur much earlier at around 42 days of a ‘pregnancy’. Without examining them I cannot determine whether or not they are pregnant or are having a false pregnancy, if they haven’t whelped by Monday I would recommend popping into your Veterinarian for an examination and getting an ultrasound done. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Bella and ebony's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Rosie
Boxer
5 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Producing Milk

We just got a puppy he is 7 weeks and he tries to nurse on my older dog who is 5 years now she is producing milk is this normal? The owner before us said she never had puppies but her teets are various sizes and lengths.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Milk production may occur due to stimulation of the mammary glands and hormones in the body; normally stopping the stimulation will resolve the milk production. If after stopping the stimulation the milk continues to be produced, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

my dog is 10 years old almost 11 we recently found a puppy and now my dog is producing milk

Add a comment to Rosie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Henny
Labrador Retriever
3 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Mammary Gland Enlargement
Mammary Gland Swelling
Mammary Gland Discharge

Medication Used

trifexus

My 4 year old AKC Black Lab had a false pregnancy 3 or 4 heat cycles ago. Ever since people always ask if she just had puppies because her teats have never recovered from the swelling. She had her heat a little less than two months ago and recently displaying some new behavior- nipping at the two older dogs and “humping” the air. My mother said her teats look even bigger, so I gave them a squeeze. Sure enough, the back four (of 13) are producing milk. Well, I would think it was milk. The last time I took her to the vet, she said it was only the 3rd time in 25 years as a practicing DVM that she had seen a false pregnancy. Everything I read online says it’s not that uncommon.
Is it common for an intact bitch who has not had pups but has had a false pregnancy to have another false pregnancy?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
If a dog has had one false pregnancy, they obviously have some hormonal imbalances, and it would make sense to me that they may have another. It is also possible for them to develop a uterine infection that may be a problem. Since I cannot see her, it would be a good idea to have her examined by your veterinarian to make sure that everything is okay with her.

Add a comment to Henny's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Josie
Yorkshire Terrier
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Mammary tumor
Lactating

Medication Used

Metacam
Amoxicillin

My 6 & 1/2 year old yorkie recently had a mammary tumor pop up. She had not been spayed at the time. I took her in to the vet on 7/17 to have the tumor removed & to have her spayed. She was on Amoxi for 10 days after surgery & metacam for 5. The lab report came back grade 2 with 2mm margins. While healing she had a lump between the two incisions. We didn’t think too much of it, thought it was just inflammation. I took her back in this morning to have it checked Incase it was another tumor from aggravating the first one. The lump had disappeared but we noticed that one of her mammary glands was producing milk. The doctor expressed the milk & said it was very odd but didn’t seem concerned. I’ve bugged my doctors endlessly about this for the last 3 weeks so I’d like someone else’s input as well. :) Is it unheard of that a spayed female is producing milk? Her last heat cycle was months ago & her behavior hasn’t changed at all. There are no animals around that would be trying to nurse from her. The only thing I can think of is that she’s been trying to chew at the incision & that’s what has caused the production of milk. I’m just very concerned about the mammary tumor just being removed & now this happens.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Milk production can occur in unpregnant female dogs, and hormones can take some time to leave the system after a spay. It is possible that Josie had abnormal hormone levels and it is just taking time to resolve. If the gland continues to produce milk for more that couple of weeks, or becomes firm or the milk is blood tinged, she should be seen as a recheck, but if everything seems to be healing well, you are probably fine to monitor her.

I also forgot to mention that she’s never had puppies, been bred or had a false pregnancy before.

Add a comment to Josie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Julie
mixed lab and German Shepered
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Sleeps more and a bit sluggish

My dog is producing milk from all her tities. As far as we know she had her period more or less in May of 2018. When she has been in heat we have been very careful not to let her out. She has been hiding in my closet which is very unusual. How can I tell if she is pregnant or if she has any other health problem. How long is a dog pregnancy lasts?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Gestation (pregnancy) in dogs lasts 63 days (range 58-67 days) so if Julie was in heat around mid to late may we may expect the patter of tiny paws; you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and I wouldn’t recommend that you squeeze her abdomen in case she is pregnant. A phantom or false pregnancy is also a possibility but we generally see this after six weeks or so (42 days); again it would be best to check in with your Veterinarian given the lactation, behavioural changes and timeline. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Julie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Yeska
American Pit Bull Terrier
2 Years
Mild condition
2 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Licking at Genitals
Licking

My dog has been licking herself a lot and today i noticed she kept licking the carpet where she was sitting. Well i tell her to roll over and notice what looks like milk. I’m confused because she’s never around male dogs so she’s not pregnant or at least hasn’t had puppies. What can it be? I did notice her teats getting bigger but thought it was just fat

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
False pregnancy is a possible cause for the presence of milk, other issues include different hormonal conditions or stimulation of the mammary glands. Keep an eye on Yeska for the time being and if there is no improvement over the next week you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Yeska's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Skye Bella
Shih Tzu
1 Year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Producing milk

My dog is now a little over a year old. Me and my Wife left her with a trusted ( as we thought) friend for out anniversary/birthday vacation. Leaving her with everything needed to keep my dog away from her male dog she came to me with " I think they did something" " I'm not sure about one time but the time I saw I believe she's okay but when my boyfriend saw I'm not sure" as I came home picked my daughter up ASAP and just hoped for the best and kept her monitored. her eating habits, mood and her weight ( would be there one dat and be gone the next - stomach) as well as her nipples grew a bit bigger . today my wife was rubbing her belly and notched crust on her she rubbed it off and called me to tell me milk was coming out of her. she checked her body and it has come to our attention our dog is now producing milk. I'm new to being a dog mom and will take her the vet just don't know what to do for the home care once I get home to her

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
You haven’t mentioned any time frames here, but pregnancy is possible but also false pregnancy too; if you are not wanting a litter of pups you should visit your Veterinarian immediately. However if you are not planning on breeding her you should consider having her spayed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Skye Bella's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Little
Xoloitzquitly
16 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Irritation
Itching
Swelling
Sleepy

I have a Mexican hairless (xoloitsquintly) puppy . she's about a year and a half now . she went through first heat cycle about a month-and-a-half ago close to two months now and ever since her breasts the bottom to have been just a little more plump then usual in the last couple days they've gotten a lot more swollen they're still very soft and Squishy not hard or feel like they have any type of thick liquid in them whatsoever I pressed on them a little earlier to see if milk would come out and we'll looks like a very white very thin liquid comes out which I'm guessing is milk she hasn't had any access too many male dogs other than the two in the house that are fixed is always kept Right By My Side ever since she was in heat though she has been scratching and nibbling at her bottom nipples I was guessing that the irritation is what had caused them to create or produce the milk that's coming out but I'm not really sure I don't know if it's better to try and help her get the milk out or just leave it as is and if this should get my attention enough to take her to the vet but I was leaning towards taking her and thought I would look up something like this thank you for any help you can provide me with it's much appreciated

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Milk production may occur for various reasons including pregnancy, false pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, stimulation of the nipples among other causes; it would be best to have your Veterinarian take a look to be on the safe side, but if she is rubbing her belly often it may be a case that she is stimulating milk flow that way but I cannot say for sure. False pregnancy may occur too after a heat cycle but lasts typically ten days and resolves spontaneously. Take Little to her Veterinarian to confirm that nothing more serious is occurring and in the meantime, stop her from rubbing her nipples. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My chocolate lab is about 8 years old and hasn't had puppies in 6 years. Her ties still hang as of she recently had pups. The other day I squeezed them and out came a milky substance that I surely thought was milk. Is this something I should be concerned about?

Add a comment to Little's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Bella
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
1 year
Mild condition
2 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Producing milk
Swollen nipples

Ive always rubbed my dog's belly since she was a puppy. She recently just turned one ( nov 20 ) and she started her first heat cycle at around 10 months or so. A while after she started her cycle, her nipples slowly began to swell. I thought that she was just gaining a little weight. I squeezed her nipple and a what im assuming is milk came out. It was a lightly colored bage. Her nipples get larger as you go closer to her bottom. They arent hanging so severely but about 1 or 1/2 inchen from her body. Could me rubbing her belly often be causing her to produce milk? She hasnt been around any male dogs recently and hasnt been around any long enough to attempt breeding. Could a short encounter with an intact male dog during her cycle cause this? She also isnt nesting as if she is about to give birth.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Regular rubbing on the nipples along with hormonal changes may cause milk to be produced; it can occur in any species including humans; once you stop stimulating the teats by rubbing them the milk should stop over time. However, other causes including ovarian cysts and other disorders may also be attributable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Bella's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Pepper
Dachshund
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

My 3 yr old daschund is producing milk, not pregnant at mo. Sister daschund is on heat. They are very close is it possible one dog on heat has made the other come out in sympathy with the other and produce milk as if to feed any pups that mite arrive.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Dogs may produce milk for a variety of reasons and hormonal influences from other dogs is one possible cause; I would keep an eye on her for the time being but if the milk doesn’t dry up or other symptoms present you should visit your Veterinarian for a quick check to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Pepper's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Lady
Beagle Pit
2 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Producing milk

I have a 2 year old beagle/pit mix that recently was in heat about a month ago but not mated. Now her breast are swollen and producing milk. She also has not gained any weight, if anything she has lost weight. What could this mean?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
It sounds like Lady is having a false or phantom pregnancy which is just due to a hormonal disturbance and normally resolves with ten days or so of onset; dogs which have false pregnancies may have them after each heat cycle, so it is recommended to spay any dog which is not intended for breeding. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Lady's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Crazy
Pug
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Producing milk

My little girl started producing milk, we are pretty sure she is not pregnant. The only thing that we can think off to be related to this is the new baby in the house. He is now 3 months and we allow the dogs free access to baby (always supervised of course). Can this be related?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
It is unlikely that Crazy's milk production is related to the new baby in the house, but she may be going through a false pregnancy, or she may have some hormonal fluctuations that are causing that condition. If it continues for more than a few days, or she has any other discharge or swellings, she should be seen by your veterinarian.

Add a comment to Crazy's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Milo
Mix
5 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 5 year old black lab mix always looks as if shes producing milk since her first heat when she was 1ish. Two weeks ago our neighbours dog who is not fixed tryed to mate with her but was stopped i presume before any mating could be done. They did not "lock" so i didnt think anything of it. Could she be pregnant?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Pregnancy is always a concern especially since we can never be 100% sure that there wasn’t a mating which wasn’t seen, if you’re not planning on breeding her you should have her spayed to avoid any unwanted pregnancy, pyometra etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

my two year old caucasian ovcharka recently started licking out milk though its been almost a month since she mated with a male when on heat she seems to be showing some signs of pregnancy but i dnt believe shes pregnant because same signs she showed during her last season and she never gave birth even after mating later found out its a false pregnancy i believe its repeating itself again what do you think

Add a comment to Milo's experience

Was this experience helpful?