After your new canine mom weans her pups, she might continue to lick her nipples. Licking her nipples was something she did while nursing to clean up the milk and improve milk flow, but now it doesn’t seem necessary. Frequent licking of her underside, even after those pups are weaned, could be a sign that she still has milk or an infection is apparent. Talk with your vet about her sudden quirk, just to make sure she is in good health.
Pressure from Milk
Even though the puppies are eating out of big-dog bowls now, their canine mamma might still be producing milk. This can make her mammary glands are swollen and painful, an abnormal side effect after weaning. She might be licking her nipples to relieve uncomfortable pressure. Help her out by gently massaging her belly and nipples with a warm moist towel. You’ll need to notify your vet still, however, since milk production after weaning can lead to an infection.
Sign of Infection
Your beloved fur ball could’ve developed a bacterial infection in one or more of her mammary glands, which is known as mastitis. She’s in pain and trying to soothe herself through licking her underside. Watch for firm nipples that may or may not excrete a pus-like fluid. Bridget may also lose her appetite, have no energy or develop a fever if she’s getting an infection. Mastitis can be very dangerous if left untreated, so you’ll need to get your fuzzy companion to the vet as soon as possible. She might require antibiotics if an infection is present.
While Bridget was ballooning up in size with that growing brood inside her, she wasn’t able to groom herself as she normally would. Then after delivery, she spent so much time taking care of her newborns, she probably had little energy to care for herself. Now that her puppies feed themselves, she’s back to her regular primping cycle. Licking her teats could just be part of her grooming regimen now, even if she never did it before. After all, her body is a bit different now than it was before conception.
If you have an unneutered male dog around, it’s certainly possible that he got his paws on your dear Bridget and now she’s pregnant again. Dogs can indeed become pregnant while nursing. Her nipples are once again becoming engorged with milk as her body is prepping for the next bunch and licking can help with pressure. If her teats are getting bigger, if she’s eating more than normal or if her weight is going up, you might have another litter on the way. Of course your vet will have to give her a thorough exam to be sure though. In the future, always keep your new mamma dog away from intact males to prevent unwanted breeding.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.