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Malnourishment of a Pregnant dog can occur as the result of feeding poor-quality diets, imbalanced diets or insufficient amounts of good-quality diets. It can happen at any stage of her reproductive cycle, though perhaps the danger is greatest during late pregnancy, when nutritional needs greatly increase. Improper feeding of a breeding bitch can result in impaired health of both the bitch and her offspring, can cause low conception rates and birth defects, problems carrying the entire litter to term, dystocia (labor difficulties), as well as improper mammary development, which reduces the quality and amount of the milk and colostrum produced. Avoiding malnourishment of a bitch from the pre-breeding phase to parturition is vital to the health of both the bitch and her pups.

We are all aware that good nutrition and proper prenatal care play important roles in ensuring the birth of healthy human children. The same is true in ensuring that our canine friends are born healthy. Therefore it’s more important than ever for you to make sure your dog is getting everything they needs from their food. Eating right will make sure that both mum and her puppies are happy and healthy. Although adult-formula food is great for everyday use, your dog will need an extra boost of nutrients when pregnant, especially if they’re expecting a large litter.

Caring For a Pregnant Dog

Proper care and feeding of a breeding bitch should begin long before she is actually bred and even before her estrous cycle begins. If you and your veterinarian decide a bitch is a good breeding candidate, based upon a thorough physical exam in which she is found to be in good health and free of any physical abnormalities that may jeopardize pregnancy or whelping, as well as any potentially dangerous inheritable conditions, then the real work begins. She should be evaluated and treated for internal as well as external parasites that could impair her health or be transmitted to her offspring. She should also be given all appropriate vaccinations, as determined in consultation with your veterinarian.

Feeding a Pregnant Dog During the First Few Weeks

Dogs are typically pregnant for about nine weeks. For the first six or seven weeks, food intake shouldn’t be that much higher than normal. The early stages of a dog’s pregnancy are critical to the developing embryo. During the first two and ½ weeks of pregnancy, the embryo remains in the Fallopian tubes. They remain until about 17 days when they descend and produce the placenta. There they gain their nutrition and continue to grow.

The mother’s digestive tract breaks down complex nutrients to be carried through the bloodstream to her gestating puppies. During gestation, it is crucial to keep the mother from away from chemicals and other toxins that can hurt the puppies. Discuss with your veterinarian whether certain medications and parasite control products are safe for your pregnant fur friend before giving them anything. What you feed the mother vitally affects the health of the growing puppies. That said, a normal, well-balanced adult diet is fine for both your mama dog and the puppies in the first half of gestation.

Feeding a Pregnant Dog at the Latter Stages of the Pregnancy

By week 6 it stomach capacity will shrink as the pups are growing. Hence, you will need to decrease its portion sizes and increase how often she is fed; observe how much she eats and how often she is trying to look for food, based on the action you may increase maybe four to five days a day.

At this point, you can increase the fat content, by selecting more red meat rather than white meat. Red meats include meat like duck, pork, beef compared to white meat which includes e chicken, turkey, fish. You may start reducing the bone content of the meal now by using more boneless meats.

In the last 2 weeks, most organ development is finished and the babies are now growing quickly. There is a higher demand for nutrients but definitely decreased room in the mother’s abdomen (stomach and intestines to hold it). We advise a transition to a recommended growth/lactation diet to provide the extra nutrients, all while still providing the correct vitamin/micronutrient balance

Week 9

This is the last week, you will now realize that she will begin to eat less, so gradually reduce the amount of food. A day or two beforehand some mother dogs will stop eating, do not panic, and don’t force them to eat.

Vitamin and mineral supplements For Pregnant Dogs?

If your bitch is being fed an appropriate, complete and balanced commercial diet, then no vitamin or mineral supplements are needed during pregnancy. The only exception to this would be if your vet has specifically prescribed otherwise.

In fact, supplements can be harmful. For example, over-supplementation of calcium can suppress the parathyroid gland in the bitch (the gland important to mobilize and balance calcium in the body) and lead to eclampsia (where the uterus fails to contract properly during birth).

Visiting a vet

Visit your veterinarian weekly if possible during pregnancy and nursing to check her condition and make sure her nutritional needs are being met. It’s important that you set up a specific schedule with your veterinarian to determine how often your dog should be examined during pregnancy and after puppies are born.

If your dog experiences vaginal bleeding or discharge during her pregnancy, you should contact your vet for advice. If you notice any signs of illness while your dog is pregnant, do not wait to bring her to the vet. Things that can normally wait a few days might be more serious in a pregnant dog. Complications can cause harm to the puppies and the mother dog.

Weight management for pregnant dogs

With a full litter of puppies on the way, your dog is naturally going to gain weight during her pregnancy. However, it’s essential for her continued health—and the safe delivery of her puppies – that she doesn’t put on too much weight. Depending on the size and breed of your dog, she should only put on up to 25-30% of her original weight during pregnancy. The best way to control this is to weigh her each week while she’s pregnant and adjust the portion size of her food to reflect her changing weight.

The best diet for pregnant and nursing dogs is a high-quality, nutrient-dense pet food formulated for all life stages or for growth. Although puppy diets are generally recommended for pregnant or nursing dogs, large-breed puppy formulas may not be appropriate for this use due to their adjusted energy and mineral content


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