Puppies rely on their mothers for milk, so it's up to you to help your mama dog get the nutrition and the environment she needs to lactate. A dog that isn't getting the proper nutrition or isn't living comfortably may not be producing milk as quickly as she could, but you can change that. By monitoring her diet and environment carefully, you actually can stimulate her milk production, helping her provide her pups with adequate nourishment.
Tip #1 - Upgrade your dog's food to a higher calorie, higher quality brand. Your dog needs to be taking in more calories to make up for the energy she loses lactating, and if she doesn't get those calories, she won't necessarily be able to produce milk. More expensive, higher quality foods generally are more nutrient dense, containing fewer of the fillers, like corn, that comprise less expensive, "grocery store" dog foods. They more easily provide your dog with the nutrition she needs to stimulate milk production.
Tip #2 - Increase the amount of food your dog consumes based on how much she already eats. During her first week of lactation, she should eat about one and a half times as much as usual every day. During week two, she should eat twice as much as usual, and during week three, she should eat three times as much as usual. According to the American Kennel Club, when she is at her peak lactation time, her food intake should have increased 25 percent for each puppy that she is nursing. If she doesn't get enough food, her body won't be stimulated into producing milk.
Tip #3 - Create a comfortable nesting place for your dog to rest with her pups. Dogs instinctively want a sheltered, dark and private space to rest with their puppies. If they don't have one, they may become uneasy to the point of not producing enough milk. Provide your dog and her pups with a clean, warm nesting area, like a crate with blankets inside and a blanket draped over the top to block out the light. A comfortable spot like this helps her relax, allowing her body to produce milk.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.