Like any other mammal, when a dog gives birth, her mammary glands will expand, and her nipples will be exposed. This natural process helps the puppies suckle more easily. But if it’s your girl’s first time having puppies, you might wonder when, or if, her nipples will recede. No need to worry though, because the nipples will naturally shrink back over time.
How long does it take?
The exact timeframe can vary, but on average, the nipples should shrink back within 6-10 weeks after the puppies have been weaned. However, some dogs may take longer for their nipples to fully recede, and in some cases, they might not completely shrink back. Many factors come into play, some of which are beyond your control.
Dogs Are Different
Just like humans, each dog is unique, and their bodies react differently to pregnancy and childbirth. While the average time for nipples to recede is 6-10 weeks, some dogs may take as long as 12 months for their nipples to shrink back. And for others, their nipples may never fully recede, regardless of physical activity, diet, or other factors.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding take a toll on a dog’s body, making them tired and less active. This reduced activity, combined with the increased food intake necessary for milk production, can lead to weight gain. To help encourage nipple receding, it’s important to get your dog active again once she has weaned her puppies. Regular exercise and movement can aid in shedding excess weight, which may assist in nipple shrinkage.
The Age of Your Dog
The younger your dog is, the better chance her nipples have of receding once her puppies are weaned. However, if the dog is older and has had multiple litters, it may be more challenging for the nipples to recede. The stretching of the skin during pregnancy can contribute to this difficulty. If you have a rescue dog, knowing her history of previous litters can give you an idea of the likelihood of nipple receding.
The Number of Puppies
It’s logical that a dog with more puppies will experience greater expansion of the stomach and mammary glands. Additionally, the more puppies there are, the more tugging and pulling the nipples endure as the puppies compete for their turn to suckle. Consequently, it can be harder for a mother dog with more puppies to have her nipples return to normal.
What to do if your dog’s nipples don’t recede
Ideally, a dog’s nipples should recede naturally after her puppies have been weaned. However, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of nipple shrinkage.
Start by monitoring her diet. While it’s normal for a nursing dog to eat more, you may want to gradually transition her back to her regular portions after weaning. Additionally, make sure to reintroduce physical activity as soon as possible. Engage in active playtime and take her for brisk walks daily. These actions can help her shed excess weight, which in turn may aid in nipple receding.
There are a few remedies you can try as well. Some breeders have used vinegar to help shrink nipples. Though there is no scientific evidence to support this practice, it may be worth a try. Vinegar can also soothe sore nipples if applied after the puppies have been weaned.
Another method involves putting your dog in a snug swimsuit that acts as a body trainer, helping push back the sunken belly. However, this approach is only effective if combined with exercise and a healthy diet. Be cautious not to cause any discomfort or pain to your dog, especially if her nipples are sore. Allow time for healing before attempting this method.
Even after the nipples recede, they may become visible periodically when the dog is in heat. This is a natural response to hormones and a preparation for potential childbirth. Give it some time, and she will return to normal once she is no longer in heat.
Consider spaying your dog as a permanent solution. Spaying eliminates heat cycles and the possibility of pregnancy, preventing future concern about exposed nipples. It also reduces other health risks, such as pyometra, which increases with each heat cycle.
If your dog is older and her nipples don’t recede, don’t fret. Exposed nipples are not a flaw, and they won’t impact her quality of life. Even show dogs can give birth and eventually return to their usual selves within 12 months. Don’t let sunken nipples discourage you from adopting a great dog—they deserve love and care regardless.
Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Katten TrimSalon