Your pooch has given birth to a bunch of cute puppies. You can be confident that she will take care of her litter. But the question is, who will take care of her, the mother dog?
This is where you come in. Most female dogs need help when giving birth. They need peace and quiet as they deliver and take care of their newborn puppies. Furthermore, your presence is an assurance that you will be there to help her whenever necessary.
Giving your dog some tender love and care during her lactating days will ensure that she gets all her needs. Below are some useful tips to help you care for you lactating dog.
1. Feed her well
A lactating mother dog will need to continuously produce nutritious milk for her puppies even if her own health deteriorates. The challenge now is in ensuring proper nutrition for the mother dog to maintain good health.
It’s natural for her to lose weight during the lactation period. Ideally, the weight loss should not exceed 10 percent of her normal weight. This goal is easier to attain when she was already healthy before giving birth.
Good nutrition is especially crucial to ensure the well-being of both the mother and her puppies. Remember the following when feeding your lactating dog.
- Clean water – For good nutrition, it’s important to maintain the volume of blood and hydration function of the milk. Make sure there’s enough clean water available near her for consistent fluid intake.
- Food requirements – The milk production is quite an energy-consuming process for mother dogs. This is why the energy density of the mother’s food should be high. In fact, after whelping, the mother should eat twice the amount of food she usually takes.
When you give highly nutritious food to a nursing dog, you ensure optimum health for her and her puppies.
2. Keep her comfortable
It’s essential for a lactating dog to be in a peaceful and comfortable environment. Resist the urge of showing the litter of puppies to others. When too many strangers are around, it will cause stress for all, and make the dam overprotective.
It doesn’t mean that she can’t handle any visits. Just keep her place quiet and free from traffic to help lessen her anxiety. Also, prepare clean towels so that you can immediately change her bedding when necessary, and keep it clean.
3. Be watchful
To make sure that the nursing goes well, you need to closely monitor the health of the mother Puppies should be vocal, active and gaining weight. If the mother or any of her puppies aren’t in good condition, or seem to be frail, contact your local vet clinic immediately.
4. Give her some exercise
A nursing dog will be spending most of her time in the nursing box. Coax her out of the nursery several times a day so she gets a chance to stretch her legs. As you allow her to walk and sniff around, it’ll benefit her physically and mentally.
Don’t expect her to take the usual walk or run in the park because she wouldn’t like being away from her puppies yet. Short exercises are enough to improve her blood circulation and guard her body against muscle loss.
5. Show support
It’s not enough to just be there by her side 24/7. Your dog should also feel that you’re always ready to support her. Now that she has puppies to take care of, she will still have a hard time adjusting from being a carefree pooch to a responsible mother.
Encourage your dog and show your affection. Help her relax and give her assurance that everything’s fine.
Other Pressing Concerns
- If a lactating mother has a temperature of over 39.5°C , you should immediately bring her to the vet.
- It’s normal for the mother dog to have vaginal discharge up to three weeks after the birthing process. Contact the vet immediately for any abnormalities or if the discharge has an offensive smell.
- For the first 24 hours, a lactating dog will not want to leave the side of her pups. Keep food and water close by.
- Check your dog’s breasts for any discharge, pain or excessive swelling. If you notice anything unusual, contact your vet.
After a stressful delivery, your constant presence and encouragement are even more vital for your dog and her family’s well-being. So remember the tips above to be able to give the best care for your mama pooch and her babies.
Dr. Max Spicer is the Managing Partner and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. He has taken strides towards providing comprehensive service by hiring veterinarians that are flexible, approachable, and highly specialised in their respective fields.