When Cats and Dogs Won't Milk

When mothers won't milk, it's critical – but quick intervention can be the remedy.


Prolactin is the hormonal stimulant that initiates lactation at birth. Females who have plenty of glands but no milk lack the prolactin stimulation to start producing milk. This is common in moms who have C-sections, as there is no birthing process to stimulate prolactin release. Bulldogs in particular struggle with this, as the puppies’ large heads often preclude them from free whelping.


Reglan (Metoclopramide) causes the release of prolactin in the postpartum bitch or queen. It's reliable and quick to effect – within hours! Reglan is mostly used to stop vomiting, so it's readily available. You can give Reglan at 0.5 mg/kg every 6 hours, with Oxytocin every 2 hours, to help get lactation started. Prolactin stimulates the gland to produce milk, and the Oxytocin lets the milk out of the gland into the duct. The empty gland asks mom for more milk production. Results usually occur within 12 hours.


Herbs are helpful and reliable when a mom's not milking or not producing enough milk. Fenugreek and Chaste tree fruit are herbal products that reliably boost milk production. Both are in Oxy Momma and dosed according to label. With very little or no milk production, we will double the dose for three days to jump start lactation. It is works and saves puppies.

Breeders' Edge® Oxy Mommais a postnatal vitamin herb chew that contains Fenugreek, Chaste tree fruit, and Motherwort in a form that quickly brings moms into milk. You can expect increased production within 72 hours. Use for 7 days before birth for queens or bitches that have had milking issues in the past or before planned C-Sections to bring Mom into milk. We don’t start before 14 days as milking before birth increases their risk of mastitis.


When you're dealing with milk production issues, keep in mind that the kittens and puppies still need nutrients! If you can't bring the milk in within 6 hours, you have to bottle feed with a kitten or puppy milk replacer every 2 hours. As the queen or bitch produces more milk, you can transition the kittens or puppies back to their mother.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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