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Dogs/Puppy dead, queries about the mother dog ???


QUESTION: Dear mam,

My female spitz gave birth to a singleton a few days back... My dog loved her little one and used to get so perturbed when the puppy whined... Two days back, the puppy died... The death of the pup was one cause of worry and how my female dog would react was the other thing I really was worried about ... The day the puppy died, I separated her from the pup and left her in our lawn with our male dog for the whole day... We never fed her anything the whole day. That night she was very thirsty and tired and came inside ( we keep her in a cage ), had her food and slept off.. Even the next day she is acting as though such a pup never existed ... She is going on with her daily routines as usual... Although we are really happy that she is not mourning,

1) Why this unusual behavior ???

2) As the only pup that was born has died, will the milk dry out on its own or do we need to give her any injections ?? ( I have already stopped the milk producing puppy food which we gave her during pregnancy )

3) Should I do anything extra to make her feel better ????

4) She used to come into heat every 4 months, some said that its an abnormality and others said that its common with miniature dogs of some breeds... As she has delivered her first pup, do you think that the 4 months heat will get corrected and occur every 6 months from next time ??

5) ( not to breed her again ), but I am little bit curious to know when I can expect her next heat ?? I mean, should I start counting from February or leave february and start counting ( 4/6 months ) from March ??

Hi Sujatha,

Dogs really don't show excessive emotions, so there's no way of saying what they're feeling. It's good your dog is going on with her daily routines as usual, and she isn't showing signs of grief over the loss of her puppy. Signs that she was grieving would be: a lack of appetite, and either aloof behavior or demanding of more attention and affection than is usual. If your dog didn't show grief right after the loss of her puppy, it's doubtful that she would develop grief now, so there's really nothing special you need to do. Spend time with your dog, and enjoy her company, just as you've always done.

Most female dogs come into heat twice a year, or every six months. For some female small breed dogs it can be normal to have three and occasionally four heat cycles per year. If having four cycles a year is what's normal for your dog, things probably won't be changing now. It would be wise to have a veterinarian examine your dog before breeding her again, maybe bring up the issue of having four cycles a year when you're at the doctor's office, just because it's something you're concerned about.

You didn't say how often your dog has been bred. If you breed her too often the puppies may be born with defects, or they may even die shortly after birth. Frequent pregnancies can be very damaging to a female dog’s health. It's best to let your veterinarian be the one to tell you when it would be healthiest to breed your dog again. It may be best for your dog to skip a heat cycle after this pregnancy. You didn't say how old your dog is. A female dog shouldn't be bred after age six, or seven, at the oldest. At that time you might want to have your dog spayed, so there won't be a chance of her getting pregnant.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear mam,
Thanks a lot for your reply ... It was indeed very useful...


My female dog is 2 and a half years old ... She comes into heat 3 times a year, not 4 times ( once every 4 months )... I bred her on her 4th and 5th heat cycles, but she did not conceive ... This was her 6th heat and even in this, there were some complications ... The Ultrasound said 3 puppies ( on the 44th day after mating ) and the x-ray showed only 1 puppy ( on the 58th day after mating, that is 2 days before her delivery )... She finally produced only 1 puppy ( I think the other 2 got reabsorbed ) ... So, this is her first delivery and her very first ( and only ) puppy and its really unfortunate that it dint make it ...

On the day of delivery, my vet said that she has lots of milk accumulated and asked us to make the puppy feed alternatively among the different teets... What Im worried is, as the pup's no more, will the milk production stop on its own and dry up soon or do I need to give her any injections to stop the milk production  ??? Will she have any pain during this period ( like humans ) ??



Hello again,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
Good to hear that you aren't "over breeding" your dog! At least you can feel good about the fact your dog isn't suffering from the effects of being bred too often.

Unfortunately, X-rays aren't infallible in predicting how many pups will be in a litter. Sometimes because of the position of a puppy the number of pups is misinterpreted, and sometimes a puppy fetus becomes ill or even dies while still within the mother's womb and is absorbed, as you mentioned.

Yes, your dog's milk supply will dry up on it's own. Milk is produced in relation to demand, because the milk supply is not being used, your dog's body will naturally start to decrease supply and eventually stop producing milk. It should take about two weeks for her milk supply to stop. If after two weeks she's still producing milk, she should be examined by your vet. She may need hormone treatments to stop the production of milk, or other medication might be used. The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine says a veterinarian may use either the drugs Bromocriptine or Cabergoline to help stop lactation. To help the milk dry up, your veterinarian may advise you to limit water by allowing your dog access to drink for only 10 minutes no more than four times a day for a few days.

Don't touch or squeeze your dog's nipples, this will only make her body think puppies are nursing and cause her to produce more milk. Unless your dog's nipples are red, feel hot, or you see  unusual or smelly discharge, she's not in any pain (these would be signs of infected mammary glands called Mastitis, and it's a very serious condition). If you see these symptoms, don't delay in having your dog examined by your vet.

I hope your dog is continuing to act normally. I'm sorry for the loss of this puppy, and hope things will be drastically different for you, and your dog in the future.

Be well,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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