Preparing for the blessing of newborn puppies is incredibly exciting – yet daunting. It’s important to be ready for everything to come.
That means knowing all the latest tips for feeding a pregnant dog which we will go through in this guide. Always remember that if you are unsure of anything, the best thing you can do is consult with your veterinarian, as they will be able to inform you based on your dog’s needs.
Even if you know all the best food for dogs, there are still many dietary changes and areas you need to know about when feeding a pregnant dog.
Read on to learn everything you need to know to feed your pregnant dog in 2022.
Why You Should Pay Attention to What You Feed
Failing to pay attention to what you feed your pregnant dog can pose many different health-related risks. Paying close attention to nutritional requirements during pregnancy helps to:
- Ensure a successful pregnancy
- Ensure healthy litter amounts
- Produce thriving pups after birth
- Provide care for the mother during the difficult process
How Much Should You Feed a Pregnant Dog?
Knowing how much to feed your pregnant dog is usually the first question you ask yourself. Pregnancy in dogs is usually split into trimesters to understand their stages better.
A healthy dog’s body weight will gradually increase when pregnant. Not realizing this and continuously feeding the same amounts can lead to obesity at the end of the breeding period, which is known to cause several health implications.
On the contrary, feeding your pregnant dog too little during the pregnancy can cause miscarriages and weaknesses in newborn pups.
Trimesters 1 & 2 (Weeks 1-6)
During the first two trimesters (i.e., the first six weeks), the feeding process is similar to what you would feed a young adult dog, and you should continue a normal feeding routine. During this period, you must monitor their weight to ensure you are targeting that perfect sweet spot of a well-balanced, commercial diet.
It’s common during the hormonal phases for a loss of appetite to occur, so don’t be alarmed. However, if it persists, then you should talk to a vet.
Trimester 3 (Weeks 6-9)
A series of changes occur in the third trimester (i.e., weeks 6-9).
Energy and nutrient requirements increase as the growth of puppies begins to accelerate.
The space in the mother’s belly will begin to decrease as the fetuses take up more room.
The puppies will begin to experience fast development, which results in a tough time for the mother. This means your dog will require more energy and nutrients to compensate.
A digestible, high-quality diet is recommended, with many small meals throughout the day to help adjust more or less to what they need to consume. This means transitioning onto a puppy formula.
Feeding your pregnant dog puppy food will help digestion and give them additional nutrients like energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. All of this is very much required during the pregnancy period, and it’s also much easier to digest, making it easier for them to process on the way down.
Once you have transitioned to a puppy diet, you can start feeding more gradually. 10% per week is a good general guideline to stick by. As mentioned, adjust based on your dog’s needs and litter size.
If you have had a scan from the vet, you should be able to dictate how many meals the mother needs based on the size of her litter. You will want to be cautious about how much you feed if it’s a small litter. Otherwise, the fetus may become too large.
Should You Consider Supplements?
Usually, if your dog is fed a well-balanced, healthy diet during her pregnancy, there would be no need for additional supplements.
Supplements can pose risks of increased amounts of a specific nutrient. However, some supplements can be beneficial to help ease the process of pregnancy for the mother. Folic acid and essential fatty acid supplements are beneficial in helping the development process of fetuses.
Additional supplements should never be added unless specifically prescribed by your vet. If you think it’s something your dog could benefit from, then always check first.
The pregnancy process is a stressful time for both you and your dog. With correct planning and understanding, you can ease the process and make it a more pleasant time for everyone.
Breaking down the pregnancy process into weekly categories or trimesters is a great way to understand the different stages you might be at.
Do this, and you should be well prepared for a successful pregnancy. If you are concerned, always consult your vet for the best advice for your dog.