Breeding, Vet Minute, Whelping

Vet Minute: Calcium for Whelping Dogs and Cats in Labor

Marty Greer, DVM

February 19, 2020

In this Vet Minute, Dr. Marty Greer, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, talks about the importance of knowing the right time to give calcium in order to help dogs and cats in labor have effective contractions.
If you have any questions on how to use calcium for dogs in labor or need help, call us at 800.786.4751.

Calcium for Whelping Dogs and Cats

How and when to use calcium for whelping dogs and cats in labor? In both cats and dogs, calcium helps the mom have effective uterine contractions when giving birth. Ineffective contractions can lead to puppy and kitten loss. But knowing the right time to give calcium for dogs in labor is key.

If you supplement calcium too early, you shut down the pregnant dog or cat’s ability to fine-tune the demand needed for whelping and milk production. However, once she’s in labor, supplementation is okay – in fact, it is desirable.

Oral Cal Plus During Whelping

Fast-absorbing calcium like Breeder’s Edge® Oral Cal Plus Gel used several times during the birthing process helps keep calcium levels up. Oral Cal Plus is a calcium gel that can be wiped in the mouth and does not have to be swallowed to be absorbed. When the female starts nesting (early labor) or their temperature drops one degree, give mom the first dose of calcium. In dogs, the goal is to get three to four doses in mom before the first puppy is born. Repeat the dose just before or after the first puppy or kitten is born and then use when needed if labor slows. And remember, the pregnant dog or cat that has had calcium issues in the past or is at a high-risk for repeat eclampsia and needs to be managed closely. If you are seeing signs of ineffective labor, nervousness or muscle twitching, quickly give Oral Cal Plus orally or inject calcium gluconate immediately.

Calcium For Dogs After Giving Birth

Continue calcium supplements for dogs after whelping with Breeder’s Edge® Oral Cal Plus Powder, Doc Roy’s Healthy Bones, Pet Cal or Osteo-Form as a supplement.

If you have more questions on calcium for dogs in labor call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 35+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.