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Mastitis in dogs is an infection in the breast tissue that can be caused by severe scratches from the puppies’ claws, by weaning too early, or from another infection.

There are two types of canine mastitis. Galactostasis is the type that tends to show up in the later stages of pregnancy and is marked by caked breasts. Acute septic mastitis is when the bacteria have made its way into the mammary gland and caused an abscess

Make a point of checking your dog every day for signs of mastitis after she begins lactating. If your dog is lactating normally, her mammary glands (breast tissue) will be warm and will look larger than usual. She shouldn’t seem uncomfortable or in pain if you touch the breast tissue.

If you suspect your dog has mastitis, take her to the veterinarian right away. If it goes untreated, it could lead to septic shock. At the vet’s office, your dog will receive a physical exam along with a fluid analysis, complete blood count or bacterial culture. Often, the veterinarian can make a diagnosis based on the physical examination alone.

Remedies for Mastitis in Dogs

Oral medication

Prescribing antibiotics for the infection and pain medication to alleviate the discomfort is the common and effective approach to treating mastitis in dogs. This can be done on an outpatient basis so the dog can stay with its puppies at home.

Whether the dog can continue nursing is up to the vet since aggressive antibiotics and other toxins in the milk can be harmful to the puppies. And there are instances where the vet will recommend separating the puppies from its mother since just the sight and sound of its puppies can stimulate lactation in the dam.

Intravenous Fluid Therapy

If the dog’s mastitis infection is severe, the dog needs to be hospitalized. During this process, the bitch will be treated with intravenous fluid therapy as well as injectable medications to keep her stable. Fluid therapy is also needed for dogs who are having difficulties with weight management, for example. This fluid therapy will help keep her at an even weight and provide the necessary nutrients she needs for healing during the treatment.

Withholding Water and Food

As in the case of Galactostasis(caked breast), treatment will normally involve the affected dog having water withheld for 6-10 hours (of course this should only ever be undertaken through the advice of a vet).

The vet may also recommend that food is also withheld for a period up to twenty four hours. Sometimes the vet may also advise the owner to reduce the affected dog’s dietary intake for a period up to three days. Treatment may also consist of the vet prescribing a diuretic.

Topical Treatments

The breasts and nipples themselves treatment, since mastitis involves swelling and irritation that can be troublesome to the dog. Topical treatments should include natural pain-relieving ointments, topical wound cleaners and wound-healing enhancers. Any soothing remedy that you can apply at this time is useful in reducing the pain and discomfort that the mastitis causes, including warm compresses to sooth the dry, cracked and irritated skin.

Draining the mammary glands.

Ask the vet to show you how to properly drain your dog’s mammary glands by hand. Even if your dog is still nursing her puppies, you’ll probably need to encourage lactation by expressing the milk. Keeping the mammary glands drained will prevent the breast tissue from becoming hard and painful.
You can also gently massage around the teat using your index finger and thumb to help your dog lactate. The tissue should always feel soft. As soon as it starts feeling hard, that signals there is a buildup of milk that needs to be removed.

Keep the bitch clean

Keep the mother’s skin clean. Excessive hair can be carefully clipped and the skin rinsed with warm saline twice a day. That is 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 pint/500ml cooled boiled water. The skin should be patted dry afterwards.

Protecting the affected gland from trauma can be helpful. Using a t-shirt or bandage can prevent it from being knocked. Clean up the whelping box regularly, look for any objects that could possibly damage the mammary gland, and remove them from your dog’s space.

Surgery for an Abscess

If an abscess is present, it must be drained. After injection of a local anesthetic, the doctor may drain an abscess near the surface of the skin. This is done either by aspiration with a needle and syringe or by using a small incision. This can be done in the doctor’s office or emergency department.

If the abscess is deep in the breast, however, it may require surgical drainage in the operating room. This procedure is usually done under general anesthesia to minimize pain and completely drain the abscess. Antibiotics and heat on the area are also used to treat abscesses


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