Breeding, Newborn Care Tips, Nutrition, Puppy and Kitten Care

Toxic Milk Syndrome in Dogs

Donald Bramlage, DVM

August 2, 2016

dog nursing puppies

Can puppies get sick from mother’s milk? The answer is yes.

Toxic milk syndrome in dogs is caused by a variety of conditions such as a nutritional issue, uterine infection, and the number one cause, mammary infection. No matter what the cause, mom needs to be treated as soon as possible to keep her in milk and her puppies healthy.

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Milk is Toxic?

Puppies don’t nurse well if the milk is off-taste. Some get sick but most will just cry a lot, dehydrate and die. This issue seems to affect large breeds more than small, but any breed can get “toxic milk.”

Check Mom for Issues

The first two weeks puppies should only eat and sleep. Anytime you see discontented puppies, check mom for infection issues. You can check for mammary gland issues by rubbing the glands to make sure they are soft and pain-free. Rubbing glands will also get her to let milk down. Express milk from nipple and see if it is normal “milk” looking. Clear, blood tinged, or chunks are abnormal and need to be treated.

How to Treat a Dog With Toxic Milk Syndrome

Get mom on an antibiotic as soon as possible. Since E.coli is the common cause, veterinarians have typically recommended giving Sulfa-Trimeth once a day. Sulfa-Trimeth is easy to use and usually clears the issue.

Caring for Newborns

Supplement babies as they are not eating enough.

  • If needed, warm the litter for 30 minutes and then feed Breeder’s Edge®Puppy Lyte. Puppy Lyte will boost energy and hydration.
  • Continue to warm at 100º F for 30 more minutes and then give milk replacer for dogs.
  • Put puppy back on mom to nurse if puppy is again thriving.
  • If a puppy is sick, an antibiotic may be needed. Consult your veterinarian for treatment.

How to Prevent Toxic Milk Syndrome

Giving mom the nutrition she needs goes a long way to avoid many health issues. You can ensure mom’s health by giving a complete daily prenatal vitamin such as Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Mate. Then, seven days before birth through lactation, give mom Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Momma to support milk production. Healthy moms have healthy babies. But when issues occur, treat mom as soon as possible and keep babies warm and nourished while mom recovers.

If you have more questions on toxic milk syndrome in puppies, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM

Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.