Waiting for happy and healthy pups to arrive is surely exciting. However, to ensure that everything goes well and the pups thrive, the nutritional needs of pregnant dogs must be taken care of. Your mama dog needs a balanced diet all the way from conception to birth.
In different stages of your dog’s pregnancy, she will have different nutritional needs. As long as your dog is given a nutritional diet, she should be able to deliver healthy puppies.
Pregnant dogs need proper nutrition, which means that feeding them puppy food is beneficial. Not only is puppy food nutrient-dense, but it will also help your dog feel more energetic than adult dog food. The best part is that puppy food is palatable, so your mama dog will not have a problem eating it.
The real question is when you should start feeding your dog puppy food. According to research, when your dog reaches her sixth week of pregnancy, you can start to change up her diet slowly. This does not mean that you should swap your dog’s current food for puppy food immediately, as this will only upset her stomach. Instead, replace some part of the adult food with puppy food and slowly keep increasing the quantity so that by the end of the week, your dog will have shifted to eating puppy food without any digestion issues.
While taking care of the nutritional needs of pregnant dogs, you must also keep in mind that wet dog food usually contains fewer calories as compared to dry food.
This means that if your dog is accustomed to eating wet food, you need to ensure that she eats more puppy food to balance out the calorie intake. If you choose to switch your dog from a wet to dry diet, always keep water out for your dog and make sure that she is hydrated.
Instantly increasing the portion sizes of your dog’s food will not work. Just like humans, dogs also experience morning sickness. This means that you may notice your mama dog going off food or eating less during the first few weeks of pregnancy. If your dog starts to vomit from time to time, don’t worry- it is all a part of the pregnancy process. However, if she seems extraordinarily sick, consult a vet.
Wait till your dog reaches her fifth week of pregnancy, and then start increasing the amount of food you give her. However, do not increase it too much in the first attempt. Start by giving her more food slowly so that her portion size increases bit by bit every week till she reaches her ninth week of pregnancy. When your dog is nine weeks pregnant, she should start eating a third more than ordinary at every meal. Moreover, her body weight should have also increased by at least 25 percent.
Taking care of the nutritional needs of pregnant dogs can be confusing. However, you must remember not to overfeed your dog. Even though she needs good food during her pregnancy period, she still runs the risk of obesity. To ensure that your dog remains healthy and the upcoming pups are also healthy, give your dog a smaller portion size multiple times a day. As the pregnancy progresses, you need to reduce the portion size even more and feed her more often. If your dog does not get too hungry at one time, don’t worry- the puppies make eating a little harder for the mama dog.
Once your dog has given birth to a litter of beautiful pups, you need to nurse them. Moreover, you also need to take care of the mama dog because now she will start to feed her pups. Again, you need to put her on a puppy food diet. The food she consumes will be passed on to the puppies through the milk she feeds them. Moreover, your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight after she has given birth.
Instead of feeding her two meals, start feeding her three meals a day from postpartum till week three. At week four, start increasing her food from three to four meals a day. Keep in mind that as the puppies start to grow, you will have to feed your dog more food so that she can nurse them properly.
Once your dog passes the week four mark, you can slowly introduce her pups to puppy food as well. As the puppies grow up and they do not need to be fed milk anymore, you need to start reducing the amount of food given to the mama dog. Usually, mama dogs nurse their puppies for approximately seven to eight weeks. Once this time period finishes, you can switch the dog back to normal dog food.
• When your dog is pregnant, the food you give her should have approximately 22 percent protein. Moreover, it should have 1,600 kcal of digestible energy per pound of food.
• Unless your pregnant dog puts on weight easily, you can give her as much food as she wants.
• Always ensure that your dog has access to water at all times so that she does not get rehydrated.
• If your dog loses her appetite as she gets closer to labor, don’t worry.
• If your dog’s appetite increases when she is feeding her pups, don’t worry.
• Once the puppies switch to puppy food, start reducing the amount of food you give the mama dog so that she is back on her normal diet soon.
• If the dog or puppies do not eat, moisten the food to encourage them.
by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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