By Darlene Stott
Published: 09/13/2017, edited: 09/07/2022
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It's not only human moms that have to worry about breastfeeding! Lady canines can suffer from the same supply issues as their owners. Especially at those tender early ages, it's vital that your pooch's pups are getting enough nutrients. And because dog mommies can have over ten babies at a time, a whole bunch of lives depend on that milk being top quality.
Here, we have some ways that you can help your girl produce lots of wonderful milk for her babies. Milk-making is a whole-body task, so it requires more than just what you put into your dog, although that is super important too!
#1. Food, food, and lots of food
A nursing momma may need up to three times as much food as normal to make enough milk for her pups! To help her get enough calories, it's best to give her four or more smaller meals a day. Get her a dog food made for performance, full of high-quality calories. If you feed raw, make sure your pooch is getting lots of nutrients that are easy to digest during this period. A little bit of weight-loss is normal while your girl is nursing, but a noticeable drop could be a sign that she isn't getting enough food, so keep a close eye on her size.
#2. Bring on the water
Nursing takes a lot of moisture from your dog. Make sure that she is replacing her fluids regularly. Dehydration can decrease her milk supply fast. Give her fresh water multiple times throughout the day and make sure her dish is close so she doesn't have to leave the room to have a drink. Her water bowl must always be clean as well.
#3. Consider dog supplements
Certain products can help boost milk supply if your dog seems to be struggling. Milk thistle is one natural supplement known to help nursing mothers with their milk-making. Other dogs benefit from taking zinc while providing for their pups. In small doses, apricot can also increase milk production. Whatever you decide, it's always best to run it by your vet before you begin supplementing. A misstep can be disastrous for the many baby dogs that depend on your girl.
Considering milk thistle for your dog? Most pet insurance companies offer wellness add-ons that cover the cost of natural supplements and preventative care. Start shopping around for pet insurance plans today to find the “pawfect” option for your fur-baby.
#4. Don't forget the basics: keep your dog healthy and happy
A happy, healthy dog is going to produce better than a stressed-out fur-baby. Make sure the whelping area is clean and comfy so your girl feels happy to be there. It's good to give her a break from the puppies as well. A walk around the block can give her some fresh air and mental stimulation, something all new moms need! And don't forget to get her regularly checked out after she gives birth. If she gets an infection, it can be fatal to both her and the pups.
Bringing new life into the world is always precious. Help your dog be the best mom she can be by keeping her healthy and well fed. Make sure she's hydrated and bring her to the vet often. By taking these extra steps after delivery, you're giving both mom and pups the best chance at having a good start!