Pregnant dogs require very different nutritional needs than normal dogs and it’s important to educate yourself on them, if you plan on becoming a breeder or if your pet has fallen pregnant by chance.
The stages a female canine goes through is very stressful on her and her body and will require certain steps and proper care for her journey through carrying and raising her newly born pups. Nursing is the most nutritionally challenging stage in a dog’s life time.
The stages from which you care for your pregnant dog, birthing her puppies and raising them require much involvement, cost and time for which most dog owners are not prepared for. To best guide you as a dog owner, I have listed some basic necessities a breeder must follow to properly nurture your loving mother to be.
The food you select should provide the mother with at least 1600 digestible calories per pound of food and at least 22% of protein to maintain the proper bodily functions
Unless your dog begins to put on excess weight (which shouldn’t be a problem if she is exercising regularly, continue to feed your dog as much as she wants
If you are having the opposite effect and your dog is loosing too much weight try to moisten the food or switch to a more nutritionally dense food
Always continue to provide a frequent amount of water
Adjustment During Her Pregnancy
Canine pregnancies on average, last nine weeks. For the first six to seven weeks expect food consumption to be much higher then normal
During the period between weeks six and seven, the female’s weight will increase. You should then begin to increase the output of food by 25%
As you are entering into week nine, your female’s appetite will then begin to diminish which is a beginning sign that the babies will be born within the next two days.
Feeding the Pups!
After the puppies are born, become the most nutritionally challenging time of the dog’s life
You should expect the amount of food consumption to gradually increase over the next 20 to 30 days as the puppies continue to grow and eat more
Following the pregnancy, within the first month with become a food frenzy! Your new mother will begin to eat about two to four times the amount of food she consumed while pregnant. Don’t worry! Continue to feed her as she wishes!
By the third or fourth week, the puppies will begin to venture into the mother’s hard food and begin to nibble at her dish. When this occurs begin to introduce the puppies to solid food by softening the food.
Weaning the Puppies
Between weeks six and eight, the puppies are on averaged weaned off their mother’s milk. In making the process easier for the mother begin to do the following:
- Day One: Do not give the mother any food only water
- Day Two: Give the mother ¼ of her pre-pregnancy intake
- Day Three: Increase her intake to ½
- Day Four: Increase her intake to ¾
- Day Five: Give her the normal amount of food as she took at pre-pregnancy
Following your dog’s pregnancy, you may need to switch the food you are giving her. In doing so, gradually mix the new good in with old over a two week span. This will gradually transition your dog’s bodily digestive system without completely shocking it.
See here for more information on caring for your dog during pregnancy.
Kate works as a pet writer (and pet lover!) at Pet365. At Pet365 you can find everything you need for your pooch!