Dear VetBabble: How Can I Help a Nursing Dog Mom with Open Wounds on Her Breasts?
As a concerned pet owner, I’ve noticed that my 4-week-old Lab puppies are causing large open wounds on their mother’s breasts while nursing. She seems to be in pain, and only comes around to feed them, quickly leaving if more than two try to nurse. I’m worried about her wellbeing and whether all the puppies are getting enough milk. How can I give the mother a break to let her wounds heal and still provide proper nutrition for the puppies?
It’s important to ensure both the health of your nursing dog mom and her puppies in this situation. We’ve provided a comprehensive answer on how to handle this issue below, separated into three main sections:
1. Treat the Open Wounds
First and foremost, attending to the open wounds on the nursing dog’s breasts is vital to support her healing and prevent infection. We recommend carefully cleaning and treating the wounds as you would for a human, applying a proper antiseptic solution and keeping the area clean and dry. It’s also essential to seek advice from your veterinarian, who can potentially prescribe antibiotics or other necessary medications to prevent infection. For more information on treating wounds, please refer to our article on How to Treat your Dog’s Wounds at Home.
2. Assist with Feeding the Puppies
Considering some of the puppies may not be getting enough milk, it’s essential to step in and help with their feeding. Bottle feeding the puppies can provide them with the necessary nourishment and give their mother a chance to heal. Purchase a high-quality puppy formula milk and follow the recommended feeding amounts and schedules based on the puppies’ age and weight.
While bottle feeding may initially be challenging, it’s essential for their growth and development. Remember that you’re providing them with the nutrition they need while giving their mother the chance to recover from her injuries. For additional guidance on taking care of very young animals, you might be interested in our article on How to Take Care of Orphaned Kittens, which covers the basics of hand-feeding and nurturing newborn pets.
3. Monitor the Dog Mom’s Health and Behavior
During this time, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on the nursing dog mom, paying attention to her overall health and behavior. Make sure she has a comfortable and quiet space to rest and heal, away from her puppies when necessary. Also, observe whether she’s showing signs of improvement or if her wounds continue to worsen. If her injuries don’t appear to be healing or her condition deteriorates, contact your veterinarian for further advice and treatment options.
In addition to monitoring her physical health, also watch for any behavioral changes. A stressed and overwhelmed mother may become agitated or aggressive, which could affect her puppies and create additional challenges in their upbringing. One way to help ease her stress is by introducing her to the puppies gradually as she heals. Start by allowing her to nurse smaller groups of puppies at a time, ensuring she’s not overwhelmed by the entire litter at once.
By being aware and proactive, you can help make her adjustment to motherhood smoother and more manageable. Once she’s healed, it’s essential to provide support as you introduce her back into her regular routine with her puppies. For further information regarding canine motherhood and raising puppies, have a look at our article about Pregnancy in Dogs and First Night Home with a New Puppy. What to Expect.
We hope these suggestions help you, your nursing dog mom, and her puppies. With your care and attention, they can grow into healthy, well-adjusted dogs and enjoy a happy life with their loving owner.