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Canine Mastitis: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

If you have a nursing mother dog it is very important to watch for canine mastitis!

It is not hard to determine by looks and the health of your dog.

Canine mastitis is also important to catch early as it may affect the health of the puppies especially if they are very young.

Let’s take a look at the signs, causes, and treatment for canine mastitis.

Canine Mastitis: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Symptoms of mastitis in dogs

If you see excessive swelling (engorgement) and/or redness this could be a cause for concern and must be watched closely.

The breast can become red, hot, and hard to the touch.

Also, your pup may stop eating and drinking and may also run a fever.

In addition, she may avoid feeding her puppies because of the pain.

What causes mastitis in dogs?

Canine Mastitis can be caused by a stopped up milk duct just like in humans.

It can also be caused by bacteria entering from a tiny scratch, prick, or teeth mark from the puppies.

Any little open spot is an invitation for bad bacteria to enter.

How to treat mastitis in dogs

If you notice unusual swelling of the mammary glands, it is VERY important to contact your vet!

The only thing that will help is antibiotics and it is important you get them sooner rather than later!

If the infection spreads, your dog can become very sick. It is even possible for it to turn into gangrene!

Another thing that will help ease the mother dog’s pain, is warm compresses applied to the breast affected.

Some vets will instruct to try and express some milk, however, others don’t. So, that will be up to your vet.

The one thing they don’t want to happen is a blowout or rupture from the swelling.

Canine mastitis sets up kind of an abscess that can get really ugly real quick.

The most IMPORTANT thing is to call and/or see our vet!

If you allow this condition to go on, the infection can spread and can become very dangerous for your dog!

Nursing mother dog with puppies

Can pups still nurse a dog with canine mastitis?

Some dogs can still nurse with canine mastitis if the mother doesn’t reject the pups.

It may be just too painful for her.

It also depends on the quality of the milk.

With a sample, the vet can let you know if it is safe for the pups.

The vet may advise that the momma dog stop nursing.

If so, the pups may need to be supplemented with formula for a while.

If the pups are older and eating soft foods in addition to drinking water, then she can be allowed to stop nursing completely.

Debbie P

Tuesday 24th of March 2020

This was a very informative article. I hope she will be okay!

Dana Rodriguez

Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

Useful information. I have a feral that has four kittens about three weeks old. I hope Little Momma is feeling better!


Monday 19th of October 2015

That's really gross. How did it get so bad? I had gangrene once after an operation and it felt like the area affected was on fire. It's good it didn't get to that point.


Monday 19th of October 2015

She is a stray pup that had babies in an old shed of ours. We discovered her predicament and got her some help.

Nikkie Cossairt

Monday 22nd of April 2013

I am sorry to hear about Little Momma. Kisses my chihuahua just went through the same thing but it was not even close to what I see here. I held her on my lap with warm compresses and milked her. It was very painful for her :( Made very sad for her :( Anyhow, within a couple of hours she was feeding the puppies again. That was about a week ago and she hasn't had an issue since. If it didn't get better as quick as it did I would have taken her to the Vet. Thanks for the post :)


Monday 22nd of April 2013

Thank you for your post! We are trying with the warm compresses and have started the antibiotics. I have NEVER saw anything of this magnitude before :( She is in a really bad shape. I am thankful the pups are now at 5 weeks though and she can stop the nursing. It was so painful for her. I thank you for your kind words!!!

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