A dog’s pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days and nursing continues for a few more weeks.
A balanced and complete nutrition is crucial during these stages.
For a pregnant or nursing dog, malnutrition can lead to severe health problems and put in danger the health of her puppies.
In this critical nutritional phase you should take in consideration:
- Pregnant or nursing dogs have increased energy needs for milk production and the growth of puppies
- High digestibility is essential to maximize calorie intake from smaller quantities of food
- Puppies require more calcium and phosphorus
- The healthy development of puppies needs more protein
Pregnancy Stages in Dogs
Pregnancy in the dog lasts 9 weeks and is separated into 3 trimesters of 21 days each:
What To Feed a Pregnant Dog?
Is you have the suspicion that your dog is pregnant, this can be confirmed by your veterinarian assistant from 4 weeks after mating by physical examination, but prior using ultrasound.
1. Changes in appetite
You will notice some changes in the appetite of your dog throughout pregnancy:
- During the 1st trimester there is no need to increase the amount of food because puppies growth little
- In the 2nd trimester, your pregnant dog may lose her appetite and suffer from a little nausea.
- In the final week of 2nd trimester and during the 3rd trimester an expectant mum’s necessities to nourish herself and the developing puppies will progressively increase.
- A certain loss of appetite can occur before delivery although food and water should still be accessible.
2. Feeding during pregnancy and nursing
Puppy foods are richer in crucial nutrients, have higher energy content and are more easily digestible.
Thus foods formulated for puppies are appropriate to support your dog through all stages of the breeding cycle.
To feed your pregnant dog the basics are very simple:
- Choose a puppy food, wet or dry, suitable for your dog’s breed and size
- If your dog has a preference for wet food, it may be prudent to mix some dry food into her meals to decrease the volume of food needed, as dry food includes more calories per gram
- Always make sure a fresh bowl of drinking water is available
- Consult your veterinarian to discuss food selection
- The change to a different food formula should be done on a gradual basis
- Gradually replace a little of the new food for the old over a period of about a week, until your dog is eating just the new food
- The quantity of food your dog will need while nursing depends on her individual metabolism and the number of puppies she is nursing
Things to Remember
My advice is:
Give your pregnant dog a good nutrition and remember to:
- Feed a complete and balanced growth food – puppy food.
- Make sure your pregnant or lactating dog always has access to fresh and clean water
- Avoid giving any supplements or medications without first consulting your veterinarian
- Consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes, problems, or if you have concerns about your dog’s health
This may be the most important time in your dog’s life when it comes to specific nutrition.