How to milk a dog

The puppies’ mother died and you don’t know how to give milk to the puppies? Or have you found a puppy and don’t know how to give it milk? This blog post will guide you on what to do in these situations. We will also talk about the importance of milk for dogs.

How to milk a dog

If you are with a puppy without the mother, you should immediately seek a veterinarian. When the young are without their mother, they must be nursed so that they do not starve to death. Very young puppies should only be fed dog milk.

Are  three possibilities of milk for puppies:

  • Industrial milk;
  • Milk recipe to make at home;
  • “Milk” mother

Industrial milk

The first is an industrial formulation of dog milk, it can come in the form of colostrum, which is the first milk of the female dog, rich in antibodies. Colostrum should be offered to puppies in the first week of life. Another commercial form of milk is the milk replacer, which should be offered to dogs from the second week of life until the fourth week.

Usually these industrial milks come in the form of a powder that must be reconstituted in water. After reconstitution the milk should be warmed and fed to puppies in bottles every 2 hours for the first 2 weeks of life and every 3 hours for the following weeks until weaning.

Milk recipe to make at home

Due to the price of industrialized milk, many people are not able to buy this type of food for their puppies. Some research shows some milk formulations that can be made at home, using lactose-free milk, egg, vitamin and calcium complexes.

But these types of milk can only be offered to puppies that have fed on colostrum. That is why it is recommended to consult the puppy before entering with any type of food. 

In this first consultation, the veterinarian can prescribe the diet for puppies. Also the vet will clarify questions about the way milk should be provided and what should be observed that may be an indication of illness in the puppies.

“Milk” mother

Giving milk to puppies is a rewarding but very tiring job, and it is often difficult to give milk to all dogs when there are many puppies. So it is indicated to get a “milk” mother.

These “milk” mothers are female dogs that have recently given birth and are nursing.These “milk” mothers can adopt the puppies that are motherless so she can milk and clean them. However, there are female dogs that will not accept motherless puppies, being aggressive with puppies that are not hers.

If the female dogs do not accept the motherless puppies, it is recommended to look for another “milk” mother or to breastfeed these puppies using a bottle.

Initial care of puppies

In addition to the periodic milk supply to the puppies, some important care must be taken, such as always keeping the bottle clean. To disinfect the bottle, wash it with soap and water and disinfect it with boiling water.

Milk should be given to puppies warm, not too hot as it can burn the puppies’ mouths. And cold milk can never be provided, as the puppies do not regulate their temperature on their own, cold milk can cause them to lose temperature, which is the motive for the puppies to stop eating and become dehydrated, which can lead to the animal’s death.

After giving the milk to the puppies, the ignial region should be stimulated with a cloth moistened with warm water. So, the puppy will be stimulated to urinate and defecate. Naturally, bitches do this type of process with newborn puppies. If puppies are not stimulated, they may stop urinating and defecating which can lead to serious health problems.

As puppies do not control their own temperature, they must remain in environments with controlled heat and humidity, ideally they should be kept in incubators for the first few weeks, thus preventing the puppies from losing heat.

About dog puppies

Puppies are born very susceptible, and the first week is the most dangerous for their lives. During this period they have to be fed constantly and should be stimulated to urinate and defecate.

Care must be taken with the temperature of the environment in this first moment, avoiding the loss of temperature by the puppies. Around 7 to 15 days the puppies start to open their eyes and ears, during this period they begin to explore the environment more and it is possible to see them playing with their little brothers.

Weaning will take place in the fourth week of life, and commercial weaning foods are recommended before introducing industrial food for puppies.


In the first week the canine puppy is very susceptible, so a lot of care must be taken. With the guidance of the veterinarian, everything becomes easier. Milk is the main food for puppies and must be made frequently in the first weeks of life, care must be taken with cleaning the bottles, with the milk temperature to be given to the puppies and after breastfeeding the puppies must be stimulated to urinate and defecate.Taking care with the temperature and quality of the milk, the puppies tend to grow strong and in the fourth week of life, milk can be replaced with commercial food for puppies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to milk a dog

When should the dog be weaned?

Generally, puppies are fully weaned between 4 to 7 weeks of age. The female dog moves away from the puppies during this period and the puppies start to socialize more with each other and with the environment, including showing interest in industrial food and water.

What to give to a weaning dog?

During the first weeks after weaning, industrial weaning food should be provided, which is a food that should be offered until the puppies are ready to be fed with industrial food suitable for puppies.

How many times a day do you feed weaning?

After the fourth week of life, the puppy can receive industrial weaning food. The amount varies depending on the weight of the puppy and the frequency should be four to five times a day.


Luz, M. R. (2012). Reprodução canina: da fisiologia à biotecnologia. Tópicos especiais em Ciência Animal I, 148.

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