How to Treat a Pregnant Dog for Milk Fever

Written by jessica kolifrath
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How to Treat a Pregnant Dog for Milk Fever
Nursing and pregnant dogs require the right amount of calcium in their diet. (hundemutti image by N. Mellenthin from

Milk fever, also known as canine eclampsia, is a problem many pregnant dogs face. It occurs when a female dog does not have enough calcium in her body to produce adequate milk for her puppies, according to the experts at Although it usually occurs during nursing, some dogs are affected while they are still pregnant. Treating milk fever during pregnancy requires veterinarian care and supervision. Eclampsia during pregnancy can cause a female dog to miscarry, or to interfere with her ability to feed her puppies when they are born.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fortified dog food
  • Milk
  • Cottage cheese

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  1. 1

    Transport the dog to your veterinarian immediately if she is unable to walk, panting heavily, or has a fever of 105F or higher. These are all serious symptoms of eclampsia state the experts at the Pet Education website, and without veterinary treatment the dog could die or miscarry.

  2. 2

    Switch the female dog to a fortified diet designed for puppies or growing dogs. Ron Hines DVM recommends this to help supplement the calcium and phosphorus levels of the pregnant dog, which can prevent eclampsia.

  3. 3

    Run cool water into a bathtub and place the dog in it while you contact a veterinarian if the dog has a high fever. This can prevent the fever from rising higher and causing permanent damage to the dog.

  4. 4

    Supplement the dog's diet with whole milk fortified with vitamin D or cottage cheese. This will help add calcium to your dog's diet with the phosphorous and vitamin D she will need to properly absorb it, according to the Lowchens Australia website.

  5. 5

    Feed the dog as much as she wants to eat, unless she belongs to a breed known for gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Ron Hines DVM states that most dogs will have a healthier pregnancy, and a lower chance for eclampsia, if they stay well fed.

Tips and warnings

  • If you feed your dog a raw or meat-only diet, consider switching to a healthy premixed dog food during pregnancy. Many raw diets do not offer enough calcium or phosphorus for a healthy pregnancy.
  • If the dog does not have eclampsia and is being fed a well-rounded dog food, do not switch to a different food in the middle of the pregnancy.
  • Avoid giving your dog calcium or vitamin supplements during pregnancy. These can actually increase your dog's chances for developing milk fever.

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