How to Know if a Mom Dog Has Milk

Raising healthy babies starts at birth.
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Some female dogs take raising pups naturally, while others lack the motherly instinct. Even though your female may have the natural inclination, if she doesn’t produce milk her puppies are at risk of dehydration and possible death. As a dog breeder, checking early and making sure the female has milk is crucial to the litter’s survival.

Step 1

Examine your female’s teats. Look for round, puffy areas under the teats. This indicates she is producing milk.

Step 2

Watch and listen while the puppies nurse. If you hear them swallowing, this is a sign they are getting milk. If they leave the teat and whine, they may not be getting any milk.

Step 3

Squeeze her teat gently by pressing each side with your thumb and first finger. A small amount of milk should appear on the end of the nipple.


  • If you feel your puppies are not getting enough milk and may be become dehydrated, contact your vet immediately. Also, if your female’s teats are red and swollen, contact the vet; she may have an infection.


  • Often birth stimulates milk production, but it may take up to 48 hours. The puppies' sucking stimulates the production, so be patient and let Mother Nature work. Check for signs of dehydration in the puppies, which include pale, dry gums and skin that is not elastic.