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Dehydrated Puppies: My Puppies aren’t Getting Enough Milk (Dog Not Producing Enough Milk)

dog not producing enough milk

Summary: Knowing if your puppy is dehydrated and needs milk replacement beyond what the puppy’s mom can give is important. We cover warning signs of puppy dehydration and how to get your puppy hydrated again (dog not producing enough milk). (Disclaimer: This article contains information that is strictly the expert opinion of AskABreeder.com personnel breeders based on their experience. It should not be substituted for a veterinarian’s expert advice.)

Dog Not Producing Enough Milk, Try Puppy Milk Replacement

It is frightening if you start to see puppies go down hill. Oftentimes, it’s because they are not getting enough milk from the puppy’s mother. Dehydration can happen for a variety of reasons. Puppies are especially fragile during their first two weeks of life. If you have a puppy showing signs of dehydration, there are milk replacement products available on the market to come to the rescue and get your puppy re-hydrated!

How to Tell if Your Puppy Looks Dehydrated and Needs Supplemented?

One way to tell is if the puppies are being nursed, but they look abnormally skinny. Or if the litter is an above average size for the breed. Or if you pick up one of your puppies, gently pinch the skin behind the head on the back of the neck. If it quickly returns back to place then the puppy is generally hydrated properly; however, if the skin remains standing up you must take quick action. The puppy is dehydrated and needs some type of milk substitute for puppies. Please refer to the video clip below for a brief demo of how to do this on 1 week old puppies.



Re-hydrating a puppy involves using a supplemental milk replacer. This is available for puppies that contains the necessary nutrients to help a puppy develop. Puppy milk replacers that contain colostrums is necessary for a tiny puppy’s survival. There are milk replacements that have goat’s milk in them as well that is much easier for a young puppy to digest. There are also regular dog milk replacers along with natural pet milk replacers. Available also are specially designed dog feeding bottles and nipples to assist in giving dog milk replacement to fragile puppies.

Dog Milk Replacement Products

Some of the dog milk replacement products are a powder that needs to be mixed according to directions with water. Other dog milk replacement products are already mixed and ready-to-feed t your puppy. Most of the dog milk replacement products claim that they contain antibodies similar to that which the puppy’s mother would produce.

Amazon carries a puppy milk replacement formula called Esbilac Powder Milk Replacer for Puppies. “Esbilac Milk Replacer is the perfect partial or total mother’s milk replacement for puppies. Formulated with a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals to ensure healthy growth in puppies.” It is highly recommended by many veterinarians and comes in both powder and liquid form.


Milk Replacer for Puppies

Esbilac® Powder Milk Replacer for Puppies

If you are having to supplement your puppies, you will probably want to invest in a Nursing Kit. Amazon has a great kit available called PetAg Nursing Kit. “The next best thing to mother herself. Specially designed bottle and supplies to ensure puppies get the good nutrition they need.”


PetAg Nursing Kit

Pet-Ag Nursing Kit

WARNING: The normal nipples of the mother dog are supposed to be warm and soft. If they become hard it could be a sign of infection. The dog should be taken to a veterinarian.

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