Colostrum is very valuable to newborn puppies. But what is it exactly? Is it also suitable for adult dogs?
The first milk produced in the mother’s teats after birth is called colostrum or first milk.
Colostrum is produced by the mammary glands of bitches who have just given birth to puppies. As a rule, first milk is thicker than normal milk and a bit sticky because it is rich in proteins, fats, and energy.
How is Colostrum Good for Puppies?
The first milk is rich in energy, nutrients, and proteins. Energy and nutrients are essential for newborn puppies to make sure their blood sugar levels don’t drop too low.
Antibodies are certain proteins found in colostrum that travel through the intestinal walls into the blood, where they strengthen a puppy’s immune system. The antibodies protect the puppies from infectious diseases until the small dogs’ immune systems are fully developed. The antibodies also protect the puppies by directly binding germs in the intestines, preventing them from causing damage.
The antibodies from the colostrum can only be absorbed into their blood within a short period of time after the puppies are born (approx. 24 hours). After this period of time, the intestinal walls of the puppies can no longer absorb antibodies. It is therefore important that puppies are nursed by their mother for the first few hours of their lives.
Colostrum also contains other hormones and growth factors that encourage puppies to grow and help their organs develop.
How Are Colostrum Supplements Good For Adult Dogs?
First milk from cows contains various proteins that can influence the immune system of dogs (e.g. growth factors, antimicrobial proteins (lactoferrin), and immune-regulating microbiomes). These substances can promote intestinal health in dogs and reduce the risk of diarrhea.
What Color is a Female Dog’s First Milk?
Colostrum is cream-colored to yellowish. It is usually a little thicker and stickier than normal milk because it has a higher protein and fat content. It is only produced by a bitch in the first 48 hours after giving birth.
Can I Give Colostrum to My Dog?
It is important that all puppies get adequate first milk from their mothers. In the first few hours after giving birth, the little ones should be encouraged to suckle their mother’s teats before thinking about giving them nutritional supplements. It is very helpful to discuss the various options with a veterinarian before the puppies are born.
Does Colostrum Work Against Allergies in Dogs?
There are a few reports from dog owners that say colostrum helps treat allergies in dogs. However, it is best to discuss with a veterinarian what options you have to get your dog’s allergies under control if any.
Does Colostrum Support My Dog’s Immune System?
Colostrum boosts puppies’ immune systems. It is very important that puppies get enough first milk so that their health is protected until their immune systems are fully developed.
There is evidence that colostrum can also boost immune systems in adult dogs. For example, the results of one study show that dogs given colostrum from cows prior to vaccination respond better to the vaccine. You can discuss this method of treatment with a veterinarian if you want to find out more about it.
How Long Does It Take for Colostrum to Work in Dogs?
Colostrum works in puppies as soon as it gets into the intestines because there it can bind germs and prevent them from causing damage. It takes a little longer for antibodies to be absorbed into the blood, where they provide passive protection against disease. Usually, a healthy level of antibodies is reached about 48 hours after birth.
After this period, the passive immunity begins to decline (antibodies from the puppy’s bitch) and the puppy’s own immune system is now mature enough to begin producing its own antibodies. It is important to ensure that puppies are vaccinated around 10 weeks of age to ensure they are protected from serious illnesses such as leptospirosis, canine distemper, parvoviruses, or hepatitis.
Does Colostrum Help Treat Arthritis In Dogs?
A study in mice showed that cow colostrum was effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. In this disease, the immune system attacks the joints. However, in most cases, arthritis in dogs is caused by mechanical wear and tear on one or more joints. In this case, one does not speak of rheumatoid, but of osteoarthritis.
If you want to find out about supplements that help treat arthritis in dogs, you should seek veterinary advice.
What Questions Should I Ask a Veterinarian About Colostrum in Dogs?
If you are considering breeding dogs, it is a good idea to ask a veterinarian about how to make sure the mother’s colostrum is of the best quality possible. You should consider vaccinations and appropriate dietary adjustments for your dog.
You can also discuss with the vet whether giving colostrum from cows around the time the bitch is vaccinated could be helpful.