If your dog is pregnant, surely she will need to have more calories. To sustain healthy pups, both during pregnancy, and during lactation after giving birth, your female dog will require additional nutrition. Poor quality food or an imbalanced diet can result in malnourishment of the expectant or lactating mother and can affect the proper growth of the puppies too. Here are some healthy dog food tips to keep both the mother and her offsprings hale and hearty.
- The gestation period for female dogs is 60-68 days or approximately nine weeks. In the first half of this period, i.e., for the first four to five weeks, she can be fed her regular diet because her nutritional requirement increases only marginally during this time.
- After the fifth week, during the second half of your dog’s pregnancy, when she starts to gain weight, she can be fed up to 50% more of her typical feed. This increase would depend entirely on how many puppies she’s carrying because fetal growth considerably increases during this stage.
- If normally, even before her pregnancy, you were feeding your dog a wholesome, well-balanced diet, then simply ensuring that she has enough essential fatty acids in her food during her pregnancy would be sufficient. This would help in the proper brain development of the young ones.
- Also, easily digestible and palatable food containing the appropriate proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, and phosphorus will ensure she retains good energy, does not suffer from low blood sugar, and produces adequate and nutritious milk after her babies are born.
- You need to remember, however, that excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals can, on the contrary, be harmful to your pregnant dog and cause birth defects in the pup or can make pregnancy unpleasant for your female dog.
- Therefore, for your dog to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight gain, feed her a very high-quality growth or lactation diet that contains at least 20% protein and 15% fat. An all-life stage puppy food or an active adult dog food would be an excellent choice.
- Make sure you feed your pregnant dog more times than normal every day, and toward the end of her pregnancy, right when she gets ready to give birth, allow free-choice feeding, and make fresh drinking water available for her at all times. This is one of the most crucial healthy dog food tips.
- Having said all that, you must not attempt to force-feed your pregnant dog if she does not eat for a day or two when she’s whelping. That is what bitches typically do as an instinctive preparation before giving birth. Allow her to decide how much, or whether she wants to eat based on her body requirements.
- Normally, female dogs, after giving birth to puppies, eat at least three to four times more food than when they did before becoming pregnant. This is because the puppies are growing and derive their nutrition entirely from her nursing.
- When the puppies are three or four weeks old, they might start exploring the food that their mother is feeding on. Gradually, when they are weaned and lactation stops, your adult female dog can be transitioned to her pre-pregnancy diet over a few days.
These healthy dog food tips will help with the process of delivering a healthy litter and keeping the mother in good shape.