How Much Calcium During Whelping or Nursing?
The general rule of thumb for using oral calcium during whelping or while nursing:
Small Breeds - 600 to 800mg of oral calcium - each dose
LargeBreeds - 1000 - 2000mg - each dose
Giant Breeds - 2000mgs - each dose
This is used generally after the first pup is born (please read our other files for why) or once 2nd stage labor is in full swing. IE: you have a pup down near the birth canal or you have 2 sacs coming down...etc. Oral calcium will not force puppies down nor will it cause contractions, it will only help with stronger more efficient contractions.
There are 3 types of calcium that are generally used with dogs:
Type 1) - Calcium Carbonate, which is found in most human and animal supplements. This type of calcium requires food in the stomach to work effectively and is used in most antacids ie. Calsorb, OralCal Plus, Tums.
Type 2) - Calcium Citrate, which is found in some vitamin supplements and additives. It is the most effective orally dosed calcium, as it starts to work as soon as it hits the moist mouth membranes and does not need food in the stomach to become effective. You can find it in most pharmacy sections as Citrical, or you can find it in a powder form at health food stores or on line.
Type 3) - Calcium Gluconate, which is administered IV or SubQ. It is the recommendation of the group Admins that this type of calcium is only used under strict veterinary supervision because of the potential adverse cardiac effects. It is normally done at the vets with back up monitoring due to the adverse cardiac possibilities.
Remember to not only give calcium, but to also give electrolytes and glucose too. Think of whelping as a marathon for your bitch. You must feed the muscles to keep them working productively. A good trick is to mix pedialyte with sugar to make a slurry, giving some after each puppy depending on her size. Small breeds get 10cc, Large breeds 20cc and Giant breeds 30cc of the slurry for energy to help with whelping.