Mapping: DefaultPageMap
Map Field: BottomMiddle
Ad Slot: PW1_RON_Top_Billboard
Size Mappings: top_billboard_970x250

Dog Breast Feeding Risks and Benefits

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Once a dog has puppies, breast feeding the puppies is the best way to ensure that the puppies are receiving all of their nutritional requirements. While there are risks that can occur when a dog breast feeds her litter, the benefits of breast feeding far outweigh the risks.


While over the counter puppy formulas are created to provide complete nutrition to a puppy, a puppy’s sensitive digestive system cannot always adjust to formulas. Many puppies that are placed on formula instead of breast milk develop bouts of diarrhea.

Passive Immunity

The gift of passive immunity from the mother to the puppy is also another benefit of breast feeding. Passive immunity transfers antibodies from the mother’s immune system to the puppy, and these antibodies will help to protect the puppy from developing diseases and other illnesses. It should be noted that passive immunity can only be transferred to the puppy within the first 24 hours of milk flow.

Risks of Breast Feeding

Risks of breast feeding are low, but they do happen. The highest risk of breast feeding is infected or sore nipples. This risk generally increases as the puppies grow older and develop strong claws and teeth. In some cases the mother’s nipples can become so infected that the puppies need to be placed on formula. Very rarely, a mother dog will develop a disorder called eclampsia. This disorder occurs when the level of calcium in the mother’s blood suddenly drops, and it is a life threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary treatment.

If you have a dog that will soon have a litter of puppies, remember that breast feeding is best. Keep an eye on the mother’s nipples for any signs of infection or wounds, and become familiar with the easily recognizable signs and symptoms of eclampsia.

Basic Care Topics
Mapping: DefaultPageMap
Map Field: TopRight
Ad Slot: PW1_RON_Top_Right
Size Mappings: Top_Right
Mapping: DefaultPageMap
Map Field: BottomRight
Ad Slot: PW1_RON_Btm_Right
Size Mappings: Btm_Right
Mapping: DefaultPageMap
Map Field: BottomLeft
Ad Slot: PW1_RON_Btm_Left_300x250
Size Mappings:

Dog Health Center

Lead Poisoning

Dogs can be poisoned when they ingest lead – especially if they have repeated exposure to the substance. Lead is found in a number of places and in a number of different things

Learn more about: Lead Poisoning