FAQ: My dog is pregnant. Should I give her milk?
No, you should not give her milk. Nor should you give her any preparation containing high levels of calcium. These types of supplementation may predispose your pet to eclampsia.
Eclampsia is common in dogs, but rare in cats. It is even more common in small breed dogs with a large litter (number of puppies born). Eclampsia is a clinical condition wherein your pet does not have enough calcium stored to support heavy milk production. How do I know my pet has eclampsia?
During pregnancy, it is really much safer to feed your pet with a high-density dog food. To meet such requirement, a ‘working adult’ diet may be given. Energy, protein & fat should be high, while calcium content should be at a correct level (1-1.5 % DM).
When giving milk during pregnancy, this will result to an increase of calcium in the blood. An increase of blood calcium levels will eventually stop the release of the parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH is believed to cause bone loss. However, recent studies have proven that its mode of action actually promotes bone formation indirectly. Calcium is then stored in the bones to support bone formation.
When your pet starts to nurse her puppies, much of the calcium needed for milk production comes from the bones. With less calcium stored due to the absence of PTH during pregnancy, your pet is very much prone to eclampsia.
Only give milk when your pet is nursing.