How to Use Calcium at WhelpingIn mammals, calcium allows the uterine muscle to slide past and shorten, resulting in effective uterine contraction. Low blood calcium leads to ineffective contractions and nervousness, often resulting in puppy loss.
If you supplement calcium before whelping, you shut down the pregnant dog's ability to fine tune the minute-by-minute demand needed for whelping and milk production. By staying away from calcium supplements pre-whelping, you can let her gear up for the needs of whelping and milking and help prevent calcium issues such as eclampsia or milk fever.
Once she's in labor, supplementation is okay - in fact, it is desirable. Fast-absorbing calcium like Breeders' Edge® Oral Cal Plus used several times during the birthing process helps keep calcium levels up. The pregnant dog will fine tune from the bone. Since she won't be eating, a small amount of gel orally is the only choice.
The pregnant dog that has had calcium issues in the past or is at a high risk for repeat eclampsia needs to be managed closely. Use Oral Cal Plus or an injectable calcium gluconate when whelping starts and six hours later. If you are seeing signs of ineffective labor, nervousness or muscle twitching, quickly give Oral Cal Plus orally or inject calcium gluconate immediately.
Post-whelping, all high risk moms and heavy milkers should get calcium supplements until weaning. Doc Roy's®Healthy Bones has two parts calcium to one part phosphorus, which is needed for effective absorption. Giving only calcium actually decreases absorption.
Have more questions? Call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751. They have the experience and knowledge to help you manage and prevent pet care challenges.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former 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.