Why Do Female Dogs Produce Milk When Not Pregnant?

By Julie •  Updated: 10/14/22 •  3 min read
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Why Do Female Dogs Produce Milk When Not Pregnant?

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It can be scary to notice your female dog is producing milk when she’s not pregnant. What on earth can cause this to happen?

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Has your female dog produced milk when not pregnant? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand this can be a little bit scary.

We’ve put together some information on what can cause a female dog to produce milk even if she’s not pregnant. Let’s get started!

What Causes a Female Dog to Produce Milk When She’s Not Pregnant?

There are a few medical conditions that can cause a female dog to produce milk when she’s not pregnant, including:

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Lactation

Once a female dog gives birth to her puppies, her body starts to produce milk. She feeds her puppies with this milk for a few weeks until they’re weaned.

This is a natural biological process and is nothing to worry about. Your fur baby will stop producing milk once the puppies are weaned.

False Pregnancy

Female dogs may also produce milk when they experience something called a false pregnancy. False pregnancy is when a female dog shows all the symptoms of pregnancy. She may produce milk, build a nest or den for her and the puppies, and more. However, she is not pregnant.

Girl dogs can also produce milk when another animal sucks on their nipples, even if the dog hasn’t recently given birth. A puppy, kitten, or another animal may need the dog’s mammary glands and suck, causing the dog to produce milk. This is something that dogs developed when they lived in the wild and needed to care for orphaned puppies.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is caused when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (T4). This can cause the dog’s metabolism to slow. It can also cause a female dog’s nipples to produce a liquid that looks like milk.

Mammary Gland Tumor

Mammary gland tumors are another medical issue that can cause a female dog to produce milk when she’s not pregnant. The tumors may cause a dog’s nipples to leak something that looks like milk. The problem may be caused by hormones, toxins, household chemicals, and other issues. The dog’s nipples may produce a white liquid that looks like milk. However, it may be pus.

What to Do If Your Dog Produces Milk

If your dog starts producing milk and she is not pregnant or has not just given birth, it’s a good idea to call the vet. Your dog needs to be checked for these or other conditions that could be causing liquid to leak from her nipples.

There’s no way to prevent this problem; however, ensuring your dog is healthy and that she has regular checkups can go a long way in preventing some of the conditions that can cause your dog’s nipples to produce a milky-like substance.

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Julie

Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.
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