Pregnant Dogs

Waiting for your dog to give birth? This indeed is an exciting stage where you must be wondering what is a good food for pregnant dogs.

Pregnancy in dogs spans around 63 days and requires some special efforts from the dog owner’s end. What and how you feed your dog will determine her health during pregnancy. It will prepare her to endure a seamless birthing process, and to give birth to healthy puppies.

Providing optimal nutrition to your dog should start way before pregnancy, from the breeding stage. In this post, we will discuss the nutritional requirements of pregnant dogs and how to go about it. Read on!

Nutritional requirements of a female dog in the breeding stage

Good nutrition and care of your bitch should start right from the pre-breeding stage, even before the estrous cycle starts. You can set up an appointment with your veterinarian who will conduct a thorough examination of your dog. Once the vet has ruled out any abnormalities based on all examinations, your dog is given all the necessary vaccinations

Dog Care

The dog is weighed and the vet evaluates whether it is under-weight or over-weight, as both can lead to problems during breeding and pregnancy. Thereafter, a diet plan is drawn to achieve the optimal nutritional requirements for your dog’s reproductive success. Obesity in dogs will lead to difficulty in numerous reproductive issues namely:

  • Greater duration between estrus cycles
  • Low levels of reproductive capacity
  • Lesser eggs are released during ovulation, leading to smaller litters
  • Complications in delivering puppies
  • Reduced lactation

Malnutrition in Dogs- A potential danger

Malnutrition in dogs during breeding and pregnancy could result in neonatal puppy mortality. The risk of malnutrition can exist throughout pregnancy and increases manifold during the later stage of pregnancy. Poor-quality diets or insufficient quantity of good diet could lead to problems like:

  • low conception rates
  • birth defects
  • completing the full-term of pregnancy
  • labor difficulties
  • low production of lactation and colostrum
  • adverse impact on the immune system of the mom-dog and her pups
Unhealthy Dog

Nutritional requirements during pregnancy

The Early Stages

Your dog’s nutritional requirements increase only minimally during the 1st half of the gestational period, especially if you are feeding her high-quality dog food. But you should start early. Feed your female dog with a high-quality digestible diet that contains 29% protein and 17% fat.

Optimal sources of soluble carbohydrates and low fiber content should be administered for proper energy intake and to avoid low sugar levels. Adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorous ensure proper milk production and good bone growth for the puppies.

It’s nearly time

Fetal growth gains momentum during the last three or four weeks of pregnancy. The bitch’s food must be increased by 15-25% to meet the pregnancy requirements. Her energy requirement also increases by 30-60% of an adult dog, depending upon the size of her litter. You can feed your dog frequent meals, as her appetite for bigger meals might reduce due to the growing weight of the babies. Consult your veterinarian to add folic acid and essential fatty acids to support the growing fetuses.

Lactation and weaning

Once your dog gives birth, her energy requirements will be highest at 3-5 weeks after delivery. She would require 2-4 times the calorie intake of a normal adult dog. At 8 weeks, the dog’s nutritional requirements return to normal when the puppies are weaned.

An expecting dog sustains not just her own body but the growing bodies of a whole litter of puppies. If you do not consider revising the diet of your pregnant dog, she (and her puppies) might miss out on essential nutrients impacting their health. Do stay in consultation with your veterinarian for your’s dog optimal diet plan and other health checkups throughout her pregnancy phase.