Understanding the right way to feed pregnant and nursing dogs is essential because they are experiencing several changes in their bodies. For this reason, they need special care. One thing to highlight if you have a pregnant or a nursing dog is their diet. This is not only important for the mother but for her puppies as well.
This article is your guide to knowing more about how to feed pregnant and nursing Dogs. So keep reading!
1- Feed Pregnant And Nursing Dogs: What To Feed Your Dog Before Pregnancy?
If you wish to breed your female dog, you need to have a plan. Being pregnant is not easy. It requires huge physical demands. If your female dog does not have ideal health, she can experience either being underweight or overweight. In the first condition, your dog will face some difficulties in consuming enough food. This will negatively affect her nutritional needs and those of her puppies. On the other hand, when your dog starts to gain weight, it can face some difficulties because of large fetuses.
Signs of Dog Pregnancy
While it is better to have a diagnostic test to tell if your dog is pregnant or not, there are other signs that may help you know about your dog’s pregnancy. These include:
- Gaining weight.
- Decreased appetite at first because of hormones changing.
- Increased appetite.
- Becomes more affectionate.
- Developing some nesting behavior.
2- Feed Pregnant And Nursing Dogs: What To Feed Your Dog During Pregnancy?
Once you are 100% sure that your dog is pregnant, you have to take good care of her. Here, food and your dog’s diet are essential topics to think of. If your dog has good quality food, there is no need to change its diet during the first 6 weeks of its pregnancy. This is because, in this stage, puppies are quiet and still small. Therefore, they do not require a lot from their mother.
During the last third of pregnancy which occurs between the 6 and 9 weeks, puppies start to grow. This will put huge pressure on the mother. Thus, you have to consider your dog’s food and lifestyle.
How to Feed Your Pregnant Dog?
The duration of your dog’s pregnancy may last for 62 days, plus or minus 2 days. Dogs who are well-fed and in good health will gain approximately 15-20% more than their normal weight.
You have to make sure not to overfeed your dog. As this will lead to obesity at the end of the pregnancy. As a result, the puppies may be sensitive to some risks such as extra stress. On the other hand, underfeeding your pregnant dog will result in some serious issues such as embryo loss, abortion, small litter size, and low birth-weight puppies.
– The First Two Trimesters
During this period, you need to keep your dog’s nutritional the same as a young adult dog. Make sure your dog does not lose or gain any additional weight during this period.
– The Third Trimester
After 40 days of gestation, the puppies start to rapidly develop. This will put much burden on the mother. The energy requirement of the mother tends to be at its highest after the 6th and 8th weeks of gestation. The true challenge in the third trimester is the final week, the time of delivery. During this stage, it is advisable to give your dog several small meals so that she can maintain adequate nutrient as well as calorie intake.
Your Dog’s Diet during Pregnancy
It is vitally important to offer your dog a balanced and nutritious diet so that her pregnancy period will pass smoothly. This will also prepare her to feed her newborn puppies.
At this stage, it is a good idea to set for your dog a high-quality diet that combines an adequate level of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You do not really need to supplement these diets.
If you prefer to provide your dog with home-cooked food, it is not recommended at this period. This is because it is highly difficult to attain the appropriate balance of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins required for pregnancy. Please note that these diets should be consumed in high volumes to meet your dog’s high-calorie requirements.
3- Feed Pregnant And Nursing Dogs: What To Feed Your Dog After Pregnancy And During Nursing?
After giving birth, you will notice that your dog will lose weight. However, their nutritional needs will be increased. Your dog will require two to three times her normal food needs so that she can nourish her puppies.
Your nursing dog needs to get enough nutrition. To help you out, try the following:
- Consider nutrient-dense like puppy food.
- Do not increase the amount of food, but do offer more meals on a daily basis.
- You can also offer free feeding. This includes no limited access to dry food the whole day.
Remember, the mother will provide her puppies with everything they need to grow and develop through her milk. Therefore, her needs will continue to rise. You need, as mentioned above, to feed the high-energy food your dog and her puppies need to remain healthy. For example, you can follow the below guide to know the amount you need to feed your dog:
The First Week: You need to feed about 150% of the usual amount on a daily basis.
The Second Week: Try to feed approximately 200% of the usual amount on a daily basis.
The Third Week to Weaning: You should feed to 300% of the usual amount on a daily basis.
Your dog is about to give birth to new pure and lovely creatures. You need to take good care of her during and after pregnancy. The first thing you should think of is here diet and nutritious needs.
Pregnancy is not easy. Your dog may be under huge pressure, especially when feeding her puppies. You have to make the process easy for her by giving her the amount of food she needs to successfully achieve her task and at the same time have a healthy and happy life with her puppies.
After understanding how to feed pregnant and nursing Dogs, make sure you check our complete guide called Dogs Food: Everything You Need to Know On How To Feed Your Dog.