Why is colostrum for newborn puppies necessary? Dr. Marty Greer, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, talks about what is colostrum for dogs and why it’s critical that puppies and kittens get mom’s milk or a colostrum supplement in their first few hours of life.
Is Colostrum Good for Newborn Puppies?
Why is colostrum from mom or a colostrum supplement important for newborn puppies? Puppies and kittens are born with very little immunity passed through their mothers blood stream and into their circulation. In order for these puppies and kittens to have the immunity required to keep them disease free while they are growing up, they MUST ingest colostrum, or the first milk.
Colostrum is produced for a short time at the time of whelping or queening, only for about 24 to 48 hours. And puppies and kittens must suckle or be fed this very special colostrum within the first 12 to 24 hours after birth so their gut or intestinal tract will absorb these giant-sized protein molecule antibodies. So as you can see, this system requires very specific timing to be successful.
What Happens if a Puppy Doesn’t Get Colostrum
There are circumstances where puppies and kittens may be colostrum deprived or mom’s milk just isn’t available or isn’t an option. If the dam fails to produce colostrum when the puppies are born, such as in C-sections done before lactation begins, the puppies or kittens may not receive colostrum. If the dam is sick or passes away before nursing, pups may be colostrum deprived. In large litters, the last born puppies may be colostrum deprived due to the first born pups consuming the colostrum.
What is Colostrum Supplement for Puppies
There are products on the market that contain colostrum if mom’s milk isn’t an option. This can help support the immune system but is not a substitute for the real thing – mother’s milk. Breeder’s Edge® Nurture Mate colostrum supplement, if milk isn’t available, is a supplement delivering colostrum to help newborn puppies and kittens get off to a healthy start and have a strong immune system. Because colostrum is so essential, we work very hard to help cat and dog moms produce milk and to support the puppies and kittens in their early efforts to nurse. The use of Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Momma and Metoclopramide/Reglan, a prescription drug, can be invaluable in getting our puppies off to a robust start.
If you have any questions on dog colostrum, call us at 800.786.4751.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ 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. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.