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How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: December 10, 2023
How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply

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There are different circumstances in which you may need to dry up a dog's milk supply and stop them from producing more milk. This could be because she begins lactating following a false pregnancy or continues to lactate after her puppies have been weaned. It is even more necessary when the puppies die unexpectedly, are removed too early or the mother develops an illness and cannot nurse. There are different methods by which to stop a dog from producing milk, including using medication, something that should always be prescribed by a veterinarian.

In this AnimalWised article, we will explain how to dry up a dog's milk supply and in what cases it is recommended you do so. We insist on the importance of veterinary supervision to avoid causing any harm to your dog. The health and well being of the dog or her puppies should come always first.

You may also be interested in: My Dog's Mouth is Dry
  1. When should a dog's milk dry up naturally?
  2. Home remedies to dry up a dog's milk
  3. How to dry up a dog's milk during false pregnancy
  4. When to stop a dog lactating after giving birth
  5. Is a dog breast pump a good idea?

When should a dog's milk dry up naturally?

To know when does a female dog naturally stop producing milk, we need to know about weaning in dogs. In normal circumstances, a dog will stop lactating once her puppies are weaned, i.e. once they stop breastfeeding and move onto solid food. Weaning puppies from breast milk should be a natural and gradual process, and should take place between 4-8 weeks after birth.

Even when weaned, a dog mother can continue breastfeeding her litter for up to 10 weeks. However, this is not recommended because it puts a strain on her health. If the puppies are to be given up for adoption, they will need to be ready for their new homes in about two months and should start to be weaned by weeks 3-5.

If weaning is carried out correctly and with no complications, the mother dog's milk supply should begin to reduce and dry up as weaning progresses. The dog usually produces milk in response to the level of demand, or the quantity her pups need.

If you want to help the process of drying up a dog's milk, you can start by separating the pups from their mother a few hours before feeding them solid food. This will encourage them to eat more. Even if they do suckle again later, they will only drink small amounts of milk. In turn, this signals the dog's body to decrease milk production. As the puppies begin to eat more solid food they will eventually stop breastfeeding, and the mother's milk supply will dry up.

For more information about weaning and separating puppies from their mother, here is an article on weaning and diet for puppies and another one on the right age to adopt a puppy.

Home remedies to dry up a dog's milk

Before you consider how to stop a dog producing milk, a veterinarian must confirm that this measure is necessary. Under normal circumstances, it is not advisable to abruptly stop a dog's milk production. Puppies should ideally feed on breast milk during their first weeks of life. The suction caused by pups suckling on the dog's breasts stimulates the flow of milk.

The mother dog may aid this stimulation by licking her breasts. You can aid in this milk production by palpating the area. If there is no stimulation, the dog will eventually cease producing milk. This happens about three days after the stimulation stops and is a part of the natural weaning process described in the previous section.

There are rare cases where expediting the dog's milk supply drying up can be beneficial. This can be if the mother dog suffers health problems, the puppies are still born or are removed prematurely, among other reasons. Below are some remedies you can try to dry up your dog's milk faster, but you should always consult a vet before implementing them.

Reduce food and water intake

One way to help dry up a dog's milk is to reduce or restrict her food intake. During the course of a dog's pregnancy and while breastfeeding, a mother dog's daily food ration should be increased at certain times. This is because she needs more energy for milk production. Conversely, reducing food and water intake can help dry up the dog's milk supply.

While reducing food and water can help dry up milk supply, it needs to be done in a way which safeguard's the dog's health and well-being. You can withhold food for up to 24 hours, but no more. After this time, feed her half of her usual food ration. The following day feed her a little less. After day three, start to increase the food over the next couple of days until it returns to normal. Return her to her normal pre-pregnancy diet.

Use an E-collar to stop stimulation

If you notice that your dog licks her breasts excessively, continuing to stimulate the flow of milk, you can take measures to prevent this. The most effective way is to use an Elizabethan collar, also called a pet cone or E-collar. This will physically prevent her from licking her breasts. It may also provoke stress, producing hormones that help dry up her milk faster. However, if your dog is showing visible signs of stress, this can be counterproductive to her overall health.

Feed your dog parsley

Parsley is a well known natural remedy for drying up the mammary glands. It is believed to reduce prolactin levels which can help decrease milk supply in lactating humans[1]. Since prolactin is also responsible for milk production in dogs, and parsley is safe for dogs, consuming parsley for a few days could help dry up a dog's milk. Keep in mind that only leaves and stalks should be used, as parsley oil and seeds are toxic. You should always consult a veterinarian before trying natural food-based remedies. If you are wondering how to give your dog parsley, here is a recipe for dogs using carrots and parsley.

How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply - Home remedies to dry up a dog's milk

How to dry up a dog's milk during false pregnancy

False pregnancy or pseudopregnancy occurs when the dog's body believes gestation is taking place, even though this is not actually the case. This usually happens due to hormone imbalances. Dogs experiencing false pregnancy can develop maternal behavior, such as treating a toy like a puppy or even producing milk.

If false pregnancy is accompanied by lactation, you can try the home remedies described above to dry up the dog's milk supply. Keeping the dog distracted and using withdrawal dolls have also shown to be useful. The best way to prevent your dog form suffering a pseudopregnancy and unnecessary lactation is to have her sterilized.

If you want more information about false pregnancies, here is an article explaining how to diagnose, remedy and prevent phantom pregnancy in dogs.

Medication to dry up a dog's milk supply

Although pseudopregnancy can usually be resolved without further complications, it is sometimes necessary for the vet to prescribe medication to stop the dog from producing milk. These are drugs such as cabergoline that have an anti-prolactin effect and dry up milk in the mammary glands. Diuretics such as furosemide for dogs can also be given to stop milk production.

Some vets may even use mild tranquilizers to help stop a dog's milk supply. While these treatments will stop the female dog from lactating, they will not prevent false pregnancies recurring. The only definitive solution to pseudopregnancy and related milk production in dogs is to have them sterilized.

Pills to dry up a dog's milk may also be prescribed if the puppies are born dead, die suddenly or are given up for adoption before being fully weaned. Medication is not usually the first resort when you want to help a dog stop producing milk, but you should always follow the advice of a trained professional whether you decide to use clinical medications or home remedies.

When to stop a dog lactating after giving birth

In some very specific cases you may have to stop milk production in a dog that has just given birth and stop her from feeding her whelps. This is only if the mother dog suffers from a health problem. Tis could worsening her condition or pass the disease on to the pups through her breast milk. It is quite rare and only a veterinarian can decide on this measure. Unless instructed to by the vet, never stop a new mother dog from producing milk, because breastfeeding is essential for her puppies' survival.

If your dog suffers from any of the following diseases, a veterinarian may require us to stop breastfeeding and lactation:

  • Eclampsia: this disease is characterized by a decrease in calcium levels. Its onset can be very sudden, and symptoms can include panting, restlessness, spasms and even seizures. The bitch will require urgent veterinary treatment and intravenous calcium is often administered. Usually, puppies are removed until the female recovers. In some cases, breastfeeding can be continued if the dog receives oral calcium supplements. However, if the symptoms return, breastfeeding should be stopped and lactation suppressed.

  • Acute septic mastitis: mastitis in dogs is a breast infection that causes swelling in the breasts and intense pain. The milk secreted may appear different than normal. This infected milk can be toxic to the puppies, who should be removed and fed artificially. The vet will normally prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection. The milk can be gently extracted from the breasts after softening them with hot compresses. This should help decrease production, dry up the milk and help the dog recover.

  • Acute metritis: metritis is a bacterial infection in the uterus that can prove fatal. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting diarrhea, and smelly lochia. If the dog is too sick to feed her puppies, you will have to make sure that they have a proper diet. A dog with metritis usually requires hospitalization, and the infection and separation from her pups will cause her milk to dry up.
How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply - When to stop a dog lactating after giving birth

Is a dog breast pump a good idea?

Although humans use breast pumps to extract extra milk and use it for feeding, they are not commonly used in dogs. This is partly because they are used at their owner's discretion for keeping milk aside and reducing the often painful buildup of unexpressed milk. There are some very important practical reasons why a using breast pumps on dogs are not a good idea:

  • Improper equipment: a human breast pump is designed specifically for the human nipple. Dog nipples are structured differently, meaning the apparatus will not work effectively on the dog.

  • Potential harm: the apparatus will not only be ineffective, but it can cause harm if used on the dog. This could be damage to the nipples, as well as damage to the breast tissue when used excessively. Since the breast pump will not work well, guardians may use them for prolonged periods to extract more milk. Damage to any breast or nipple tissue can lead to secondary bacterial infection.

  • Incompatible for dog lactation: human and dog lactation do not function in the same way. Extracting milk with the pump will continue stimulating the dog's milk production, being counterproductive to drying up her milk supply.

For the above reasons, you cannot purchase a dog breast pump designed for canines. The closest tool might be canine breast pump syringes. These are sometimes used to extract colostrum to feed to the runt of the litter. They can be helpful when extracting small amounts, but they should not be used excessively and can result in harm if done so.

Learn more about potential harm that can occur due to a dog breast pump with our article on why my dog has swollen breasts.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.


1. Eglash, A. (2014). Treatment of Maternal Hypergalactia. Breastfeeding Medicine, 9(9). 423-425.

  • Carlson, L. D., & Giffin, J. M. (2002). Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. John Wiley & Sons.
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Lorie Prieto
My dog had puppies and now they are in for adoption but my dog still has milk in her breast.
Home remedy what can I do to help her she seems to be in pain...
Yulanda M Hall
My female dog had puppies born 9//11/20 I've still got the puppies but they still are nursing I need to know what to do to dry milk up because her boobies are getting red and irritated. Thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Yulanda,

Have you tried the advice in the article? Is there something missing?
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How to Dry Up a Dog's Milk Supply