Feeding a Pregnant Dog: What You Need to Know

March 29, 2018

Feeding a pregnant dog will be quite different than how you did before breeding. For one, they require more calories for their growing pups!

If you have little idea about what to feed your dog, how many meals they need daily, or after pregnancy care, keep reading.

Make sure that you talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s needs before, during, and after her pregnancy.

How Long is a Dog’s Gestation Period?

A dog’s pregnancy lasts around 63 days. She will be nursing, however, for a few more weeks.

The Importance of Nutrition

Nutrition is vital during your dog’s pregnancy. Malnutrition can cause serious health problems not only for your dog but for the health of her puppies.

Optimal nutrition is essential for:

Each stage of your dog’s pregnancy has specific concerns or needs that you need to meet for the utmost health of both mother and puppy.

Things to Consider

Make sure that you feed pregnant or nursing dogs sufficient calories. At this time, they need more energy for producing milk and growing their pups.

Food with increased fat helps them meet their higher demand for calories.

Feeding a pregnant dog easily digestible meals is important to maximize calorie intake.

Your pregnant dog needs more calcium and phosphorus as she produces milk, aiding the bone growth of her puppies.

More protein is also important for nourishing the development of healthy puppies. DHA is also crucial for helping develop her puppies’ nervous system.

Common Mistakes

Dog parents make a few common mistakes when feeding a pregnant dog.

Usually, they feed them too much early on in the pregnancy and too little during lactation. Overfeeding can cause obesity which results in a number of problems. It increases the risk of a difficult labor and extra stress on the pups. On the other hand, not feeding a pregnant dog enough can lead to embryo loss, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, abnormal fetal development, small litter size, or underweight puppies.

Many also forget to provide enough water. The mother should always have easy access to fresh, clean drinking water. Staying hydrated is a must as dehydration is seriously damaging to her health and the development of her puppies.

Feed Your Pregnant Dog Puppy Food

Ketunpet Puppy Blend

Feeding a pregnant dog puppy food, like Ketunpet Puppy Blend, ensures that they meet their nutritional requirements.

Puppy food is easily digestible and rich in major nutrients. It offers them more energy than normal adult dog food.

Although puppy food is nutritious for your pregnant dog, make sure you don’t end up overfeeding her.

How is Puppy Food Different from Adult Food?

Puppy dog food contains higher protein (27%-30%) and is best for highly active, lactating, or gestating dogs.

It’s enriched with higher amounts fat, vitamins, minerals, and other essentials your pregnant dog and her puppies need.

Most adult dog food does not contain sufficient nutrient density and calories for lactation. Sticking to her pre-pregnancy dog food and routine can cause malnutrition. You need to provide her with high-energy food specifically formulated to offer all of the necessary nutrients.

Feeding a Pregnant Dog

Source: PetMD

As week three and four of your dog’s pregnancy rolls around, she may be slightly nauseous and lose her appetite. This is similar to how humans suffer from morning sickness. If her loss of appetite or upset stomach lasts over a week, and she shows signs of listlessness, contact your veterinarian.

For the first 4-5 weeks of your dog’s 63-day gestation period, she can be fed her regular adult dog food. During the first two trimesters of her pregnancy, she needs about as much nutrition as a young adult dog would. Closely monitor her body condition and weight. It’s essential that she doesn’t lose weight during this time.

As your dog approaches the last half of her pregnancy, increase the food. You should supply around 30%-50% more calories than before. Consider the number of her puppies when measuring her food intake. During this time, her weight should increase by 15%-30%.

You can provide her with dietary supplements. However, feeding a pregnant dog high-quality food is sufficient. Some fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which can also be found in human baby formulas, are thought to aid the neurological development of puppies. Fish oil contains these fatty acids.

As day 30 of her pregnancy hits, begin to double the size of her meal portions and add more nutrition to her food intake.

After around day 40 of your dog’s pregnancy or the third trimester, the puppies will be growing fast. This means your pregnant dog’s body needs to work harder and burn more energy. She’ll need around 30%-60% more energy than normal, depending on the size of the litter.

Feeding a pregnant dog multiple small meals makes it easy on her tummy. Remember, there is little room for food (from all the puppies in her abdomen.) At the third trimester, feed her an easily digestible, high-quality puppy formulation, like Ketunpet’s Puppy Blend, to support her nutritional needs. She will need the right balance of fats and proteins.

You may experience that your dog has no appetite around 12-24 hours prior to whelping. Don’t worry. This usually happens. Don’t force her to finish her bowl. What you can do is ensure that she is well-hydrated with a bowl of clean water.

After Pregnancy

If your dog has over 8 puppies, help them get the nutrition they need by rotating them as they nurse. Weigh them every now and then to ensure that they are gaining weight. If some of them fail to increase weight, try hand feeding. Ask your veterinarian for guidance on this.

If you have been feeding the mother controlled portions daily, adopt a free feeding method. Leave food out in her bowl. This helps her have access to the calories she requires.

Keep in mind, for every puppy she has, she’ll need a 25% increase in her caloric intake. This can be up to around 200% increase in calories.

For example, if before her pregnancy she has been eating 3 cups of dog food daily, she’ll now need around 9 cups of food a day.

Over to You

Source: dogster

In feeding a pregnant dog, consider that your dog’s energy requirements will increase after delivery and especially during lactation. She’ll need energy the most around 3-5 weeks after whelping, requiring more than double the calories than usual.

After the puppies have been completely weaned, her energy requirements will return to normal. This will be at around eight weeks after delivery.

Periodically assess her body condition to fine-tune feedings. Just like during her pregnancy, you can also feed her Ketunpet’s Puppy Blend during lactation for optimal nutrition.

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