A woman’s ability to reproduce optimally depends on:
- successful conception and pregnancy
- maximizing the amount of puppies produced by litter
- enabling the mother (bitch) to deliver her offspring as best she can
- puppies that are healthy both before and after birth
The body experiences distinct pressures during each of the several stages of reproduction, including heat (estrus), pregnancy, nursing, and weaning. To ensure the healthiest possible outcome for both the mother and the puppy, each presents particular dietary issues that should be addressed.
Are there nutritional issues that cause problems leading up to pregnancy?
Healthy eating creates the conditions for effective conception and reproduction. Both an overweight and an underweight mother will experience reproductive problems, as will her puppies.
The most prevalent nutrition-related issue in reproducing dogs is obesity. Increased estrus cycle spacing brought on by obesity can reduce a woman’s lifetime reproductive potential. Additionally, being overweight might reduce the quantity of eggs released during ovulation, which leads to reduced litter sizes. Dystocia risk rises with obesity (difficulty delivering puppies). Finally, obesity can reduce milk production during lactation, harming the growth and health of puppies. Before breeding, a dog who is overweight or obese has to shed weight. A female dog does not have any particular dietary needs when going through her heat cycle.
How should I feed my dog during her pregnancy?
Dogs normally give birth after 62 days, give or take two days. A healthy, well-nourished dog will gain roughly 15-20% more weight during pregnancy than she did at breeding. The pregnancy is separated into three trimesters. Overeating at the end of pregnancy can lead to obesity, which raises the possibility of a difficult or protracted labor and adds additional stress to the puppies. On the other hand, inadequate nutrition during pregnancy can cause embryo loss, aberrant fetal development, spontaneous abortion or stillbirth, limited litter size, and underweight puppies that do not thrive.
The mother’s nutritional needs throughout the first two trimesters of pregnancy are approximately the same as those of a young adult dog. She must maintain her weight and physical condition throughout this time, so keep an eye on them and give her more food as necessary. A dog should not grow overweight or obese as a result of overeating throughout the first and second trimesters. The greatest method for regulating body composition and weight growth during pregnancy is meal eating.
“The puppies endure their most rapid development during the third trimester, after roughly day 40 of gestation, which is also the greatest load on the expectant mother.”
The puppies’ rapid development occurs in the third trimester, about day 40 of pregnancy, and is also the most demanding on the expectant mother. Between weeks six and eight of pregnancy, the mother need the most energy. Depending on the size of the litter, her energy needs may be 30–60% greater than typical adult maintenance rations. The difficulty during the third trimester is that the abdomen is stuffed full with puppies, leaving little place for food in the gastrointestinal track, especially in the final weeks before delivery. During the third trimester, a highly digestible, high-quality puppy/growth/development formulation is typically advised, and several small meals may give the mother the ability to maintain an acceptable nutrient and calorie intake. Feeding a puppy food made for large breed puppies is not recommended since it lacks the proper calcium-phosphorus ratio to support the fetuses’ growing bones or the mother’s healthy milk production. Supplementing with folic acid and necessary fatty acids may help support developing fetuses. Regarding their use in your dog, talk to your vet.
I have heard that lactation is even more energy intense than pregnancy. Is this true?
Absolutely. The mother’s energy needs actually rise after giving birth and when nursing. Three to five weeks after whelping, when she has the greatest energy need, she can need 2-4 times as many calories as an average, healthy adult. By about 8 weeks after delivery, when the puppies have finished weaning themselves, the mother’s energy needs will decline and return to normal.
The mother can increase her food intake after the puppies are born, but the energy density of the food must be sufficient or she won’t be able to physically ingest enough to maintain milk production, weight, and body condition. It is possible to adjust feedings when her bodily state is periodically assessed. Similar to the third trimester of pregnancy, feeding puppies during lactation is best performed using high-quality puppy chow that is highly digestible.
If she has more than one or two puppies, the first three to four weeks of nursing should be spent with free-choice feeding. The mother can eat whenever she wants, she can eat less each time, and the puppies can start trying solid food as soon as they are old enough (at about 3 weeks of age). Free-choice feeding is not advised while just caring for one or two puppies since it encourages the mother to produce a lot more milk than she requires, which could put her at risk for developing mastitis (inflammation of the milk glands).
Do I need to change how I feed my dog as she weans her puppies?
Before and throughout weaning, limiting your dog’s food intake will help her milk supply taper off and increase her comfort. On the first day of weaning, deprive the puppies of her nourishment and let them feed in their absence from the mother. The puppies will take some milk that night if they are all together. The puppies are taken away from their mother on day two of weaning, and she is given about 25% of her pre-breeding amount and formulation. Increase her pre-breeding portions to her full amount over the next four to five days. During this time, the puppies shouldn’t be permitted to nurse because doing so would prevent the milk from drying up.
You may develop a nutritionally sound plan for pregnancy and nursing with a little forethought and advice from your veterinarian, laying the foundation for the birth of healthy puppies.
What should a pregnant dog not eat?
Are there any foods to stay away from when pregnant? For dogs who are expecting or nursing, raw foods are not advised. Most dogs can usually get by on a high-quality maintenance dog food, so unless your veterinarian recommends differently, you shouldn’t give your dog any additional vitamins or supplements.
What should pregnant dogs eat?
When the babies reach full term, your pet’s pregnancy is at its end. Most of their organs are finished developing during the last few weeks, and they are getting ready to survive outside the womb. The puppies require a lot of nutrition from the mother since they grow quickly. Unfortunately, since the babies have reached full size, eating can be difficult for the mother, as anyone who has ever experienced pregnancy will agree.
The AKC offers precise dietary suggestions, such as one that is calorie-dense without being overly bulky. It should contain a minimum of 29% protein, 17% fat, a lot of soluble carbs, and little fiber. It should also contain enough milk for nursing and calcium and phosphorus for the puppies’ appropriate bone development. DHA is crucial for the neurological system development of your developing puppies.
During both pregnancy and nursing, Hill’s Pet advises choosing one of their nutrient-dense Science Diet puppy feeds. Weak puppies and even fading puppy syndrome might result from underfeeding pregnant dogs due to low quality food, an unbalanced diet, or just too little calories.
Whatever you serve, encourage the expectant mother to eat little and often during the day rather than one big meal. This will significantly lessen her pregnancy discomfort. You should switch your dog to a lactation diet as the due date approaches as these diets are specifically made for nursing dogs.
Can I feed scrambled eggs to my pregnant dog?
Yes, fried eggs are beneficial for dogs! Dogs can consume scrambled or hard-boiled eggs. The eggs must be boiled in order to achieve the main goal. Dogs should not be given uncooked eggs.
Due to their rich source of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein, eggs are beneficial for dogs.
Can I give my pregnant dog milk?
No, I would not advise Baby Girl to drink any milk. Dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea in many dogs that are lactose intolerant. Feed her puppy food instead (more calories for her growing pups!) and give her access to plenty of clean water.
Can dogs who are pregnant eat chicken?
The secret to keeping both your pregnant dog and her pup in peak condition is understanding what to feed a pregnant dog. A pregnant dog’s diet should be rich in nutrients, and providing your dog with the right nutrition will help you prevent issues like eclampsia (low blood calcium), smaller litters, and a higher chance of puppy mortality. Food portions and timing will also vary.
Be aware of all the dog pregnancy phases before you build your pet’s diet. Dogs have a 9-week gestation period, and depending on the week she is in, you will need to adjust your dog’s nutrition throughout that time.
You can feed your dog normally, with regular meals, for the first four weeks without increasing the amount of food. Following that, by week 5, you should add 20–30% more food to your pregnant dog’s diet.
Her babies will start to grow around week six, and your dog’s stomach will start to get smaller. You must start feeding her more frequently and in lesser amounts as a result. It should be done at least three times every day, but you may even do it four to five times. But you should also keep progressively increasing the amount of food offered.
You should start giving your pregnant dog about 50% more food by week eight than she was before. In the final week of pregnancy, she will start refusing food and eating less due to impending labor. Some b*tches consume roughly 25% less food than they did the week before, and for the last few days, many of them will refrain from eating at all.
The specific formulas or recipes you use, as well as what to feed a pregnant dog, must constantly be kept in mind. If you feed your dog commercial dog food while you are pregnant, choose meals that are highly digestible or even dog foods for people with sensitive stomachs. With minimal danger, this can help her get the most nourishment possible from her meals. In the final three weeks of pregnancy and following delivery, premium grade dog diets are especially beneficial for canines.
Knowing what to feed a nursing dog may help her produce more milk as your dog will lose weight after giving birth but require more food. Depending on the size of the litter, nursing dogs may require two to three times as much food as usual to support their young. Additionally, you must make sure that your nursing dog has access to water at all times and drinks a lot of it because doing so can encourage her to produce more milk to feed the litter.
Before you set up a diet for your dog, it is usually wise to talk with your vet about what to feed a pregnant dog. But bear in mind that your dog will need different amounts of food at various stages of her pregnancy because her nutritional requirements may vary slightly. If you’re cooking your own homemade dog food for pregnant dogs rather than buying commercial kibble, concentrate on the foods your dog like to make sure she eats enough.
Your dog must consume protein in order to get the essential amino acids she needs to promote the growth of her puppies. When your dog is pregnant or nursing, try to provide them high-quality protein. Focus on chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and fish (as long as she isn’t allergic to any of these items) as they are the best sources of protein for dogs. Dairy and egg products are also excellent supplemental sources of high-quality protein.
Your dog’s intake of fat can be increased to meet an increased calorie need. In particular, this needs to be done by week 6 of pregnancy. When that time comes, you should consume more red meat with a higher fat content while eating less lean or white meat. Therefore, it would be best to stick with beef, lamb, or hog.
Because they help the fetal brain and nervous system develop, omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for your pregnant dog. They are advantageous to eye health as well. Salmon and other fish are the finest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but you can also give your dog fish oil supplements.
Vitamin C, vitamin D, and folate, sometimes referred to as vitamin B9, are essential vitamins for a pregnant dog. In addition to supporting the immune system and assisting with tissue growth, vitamin C can help your dog’s body absorb iron. Vitamin C is abundant in most fruits, vegetables, and organ meats.
The appropriate absorption of calcium is aided by vitamin D. Salmon, tinned mackerel, dairy goods, and eggs are some of the foods high in vitamin D.
Folate is crucial in preventing a variety of birth abnormalities. Pork, poultry, and liver are all excellent sources of folate, but you should use caution when eating liver because it also contains a lot of vitamin A, which can be harmful to unborn children in large doses. Vitamin A intake for large dogs should not exceed 5,000 mg per day, medium dogs 2,000 mg, and small dogs 1,000 mg.
Although all minerals are essential, dogs during pregnancy and breastfeeding require the most calcium, iron, and phosphorous. Red blood cell production and the prevention of anemia, which is prevalent in pregnant dogs, can both benefit greatly from iron. The finest sources of iron include animal products like beef and pork as well as organ meats such beef heart, liver, and kidneys.
The fetus’s growth of teeth and bones depends on calcium. In order for nursing dogs to produce more milk, calcium is even more crucial. Meaty bones are the richest suppliers of calcium. However, after week 7 until delivery, you should refrain from giving your dog bones since this could cause health issues like uterine inertia.
Phosphorous can also help pups’ developing bones and prevent problems with a pregnant dog’s bones because the body will take calcium from the dog’s bones if there is no calcium in the meal. All animal tissues, along with eggs and fish, are the finest suppliers of phosphorus.
Can dogs who are pregnant eat rice?
After it has been cooked, dogs can eat simple white rice or pasta. And when your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, a bowl of simple white rice with some boiled chicken may help.
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