Do Dogs Produce Milk When In Heat – Things To Know

Dogs are mammals, so it’s normal to have milk from their nipples. However, in some cases, this situation can also lead to a lot of anxiety for owners.

Do dogs produce milk when in heat? Is it harmful to health? What should I do?

Join us to find the answers to these questions.

What Is A Dog Producing Milk? 

do dogs produce milk when in heat

This ability is a characteristic that characterizes the class of mammals compared to other types of animals. It is a condition in which the nipples swell and secrete a milky liquid.

All owners look forward to this after their female dog gives birth. Breast milk is always the most valuable source of nutrition for puppies before they can digest other foods.

It is generally a normal physical function. However, this phenomenon may sometimes not be related to normal milk production during pregnancy or lactation.

Dogs are special animals because they can secrete milk even when not pregnant.

This is not inherently a disease but can be a sign of underlying problems like hypothyroidism, breast tumor, phantom pregnancy, etc.

At this point, you need to bring it to the vet for a checkup quickly.

Do Dogs Produce Milk When In Heat?  

The mechanism of lactation in dogs is unique because it can occur in heat. This phenomenon usually only occurs with the offspring of reproductive age.

When she is about 10 months old, there will be obvious signs of heat. The heat cycle of pets lasts from 9-14 days, sometimes up to 25 days. 

The main reason is a hormonal imbalance, especially after going through the first estrous cycle.

Typical symptoms are a bloated stomach and milky breasts, and she suddenly becomes more moody than usual.

You should not worry too much as this will usually go away on its own in about two to three weeks. It also causes a lot of pain and pressure for your pet.

If the condition persists, take them to the vet to avoid being uncomfortable for too long.

Can A Dog Produce Milk Without Being Pregnant? 

dog is producing milk

It is natural for females to produce milk during pregnancy and lactation. However, sometimes your dog can still experience this pregnancy sign, but there is no puppy at all.

Experts call this phenomenon pseudocyesis (false pregnancy or phantom pregnancy).

False pregnancy is common at reproductive age due to either not mating or mating without fertilization.

This phenomenon is often accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal distension, nipples developing after 14 days of estrus, lactation, changes in personality and shape, restlessness, taking toys back to the nest, etc.

After about 2 months, your dog also tends to go into labor but can’t give birth because there is no pregnancy in the belly.

The cause of this phenomenon is due to hormonal changes, a decrease in the hormones progesterone and prolactin.

The phenomenon of pseudocyesis can disappear after the animals mate again.

In case your pet has a prolonged false pregnancy and does not show any signs of recovery, take your dog to see a veterinarian immediately for a timely examination.

Why Can Dogs Produce Milk Without Having Puppies? 

As noted above, non-pregnant lactation can be due to many reasons.

They can be normal physiological manifestations but also be a warning for some dangerous diseases related to the mammary glands. Here are some of the most common:

Thyroid Issues

The thyroid gland is essential in the body, making several hormones, including T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine). Both are necessary for metabolism in the body.

Thyroid diseases are not only present in humans but also in animals. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are the two most common conditions.

This is due to the production of too much or too little hormone levels that increase metabolism in the body.

The disease is common in medium- to large-sized and breeding dogs such as goldendoodle, Doberman pinschers, great Danes, Irish setters, etc.

The condition usually presents with the following clinical signs:

  • Lack of activity, moodiness, fatigue
  • Hair loss, dull and dry hair
  • Unexplainable weight gain
  • Dogs vomiting like symptoms of pregnancy
  • Diarrhea
  • Or thirsty, urinating a lot
  • Peeling skin, recurrent dermatitis
  • Scare cold
  • Seizures (rare)

General Lactation

The breasts of dogs that have given birth will produce a small amount of milk in a certain cycle. This is not a serious problem but just a process of regulating hormones in the body.

Dogs not neutered can also experience this condition during estrus, even if they are not pregnant. This hormonal change can cause milk production to last 1-2 days.

Sometimes there is also the phenomenon of sucking from another dog.

When puppies or other young animals suckle from a female dog’s nipples, her body may also secrete small amounts of milk as a natural response.

It doesn’t matter that she’s not pregnant.

Mammary Gland Tumor

Breast tumors can be classified as either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are noncancerous and malignant tumors are cancerous.

Half of all breast lumps in dogs are soft, and the other half are malignant. Unfortunately, pets are also at risk of contracting this deadly disease.

It develops specifically in the mammary gland or breast tissue.

Since ones typically have 8-10 nipples on their belly, there is a lot of mammary tissue that can be affected by tumors. Symptoms of breast cancer:

  • Lumps appear under the nipple or between the nipples
  • Nipple discharge
  • Abnormally large nipples
  • Painful breasts
  • Dog tired, lethargic
  • Reduced appetite

What To Do When The Dog Is Producing Milk?

my dog is producing milk is she pregnant

Lactation while pregnant or breastfeeding is normal for true pregnancy mothers. Let your dog naturally exercise this divine instinct.

You know, breast milk is always the best source of nutrition for babies.

For the pseudo-pregnant dogs, it’s sad that the body changes fool them when no puppy is around.

But you can rest assured that this is not too serious except for discomfort when the mammary gland is swollen. To relieve pain, you can apply ice to their breast area.

Thyroid diseases or mammary gland tumors are the main health problems affecting pets.

You shouldn’t act on your own but bring them to a medical facility for definitive treatment and prevention of recurrence.


At this point, you must have found information for the topic: do dogs produce milk when in heat? Lactation can signify a false pregnancy or a serious medical condition.

To prevent possible risks, monitor this situation closely for timely handling measures.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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