Hello everyone! In this article, I am going to try to enlighten you with some information on the pregnancy stages for your dog and the best foods for you pregnant friend in each stage along with the benefits of each vitamin, mineral, protein etc. Let’s jump right in, shall we.
Pregnancy stages and what’s important in each one.
So, to start with, unlike human gestation period of nine months, a dog’s gestation period is only nine weeks. These nine weeks are very important as to what they need to have as far as food goes. Follow along with me here.
- The first four weeks are really not much different from their normal feeding habits. You continue to feed them as you normally would, probably twice a day.
- Week 5 – you want to increase their food intake by about 25 – 30% of their normal intake, still about twice a day.
- Week 6 – by this time, the puppies are starting to develop and your dog’s stomach capacity is decreasing, naturally with less room. At this time is where you want to start increasing their feedings to four to five times a day, no less than three, but with smaller amounts. They will still be getting more food on a daily basis, but in smaller amounts through more feedings. This is important.
- Week 8 – here, you want to increase their feedings by approximately 50% than what they had before pregnancy. Now, they may start to decrease their eating, which will be normal and by the last week of their pregnancy, they may refuse to eat at all; also normal. At this time, you want to look for foods that are labeled as easily digestible formulas or even foods specifically designed for sensitive stomachs. Always make sure they have an abundant water supply at this point as it will aid in the milk production for their offspring. After they have their litter, naturally, they will lose weight, but they still need all the nutritional values from their food. These are found in proteins, fats, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals etc.
What they need in their food
Let’s get into it.
- Protein – this is a vital source for amino acids which helps to promote healthy development of the puppies. These can be found in chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and fish, provided they are not allergic to any of these. Eggs and dairy products are a good secondary source for these as well. You will want to avoid cod liver oil as this is too rich in Vitamin A
- Fats – while red meats are a good source of protein, they are also a good source for fats like in beef, lamb and pork to be introduced more so in week six. You now, at this time, want to decrease the white meats.
- Fatty acids – these aid in fetal brain development, nerves and eyesight for the puppies. Salmon and/or fish oils are good supplements for this process.
- Vitamins – three important ones are Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Folate (a Vitamin B9). These aid in tissue building and immune system building. Vitamin C is gained from fruits, vegetables an organ meat. Organ meat consists of the hearts, liver and kidneys from beef and chicken. Vitamin D is good for calcium absorption, very important for the milk producing process for the pups. These come from salmon, canned mackerel, dairy and eggs. Don’t add too much liver in their diet as this contains high amounts of Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A can cause birth defects, smaller litters and also death in the newborns. Folate, or Vitamin B9, helps to prevent birth defects.
- Minerals – the three most important ones are calcium, iron and phosphorous. Calcium is important for teeth and bone development in the puppies and also crucial for aid in the milk production. Iron aids in the formation of red blood cells and helps to prevent anemia. Finally, phosphorous. This also helps with bone development in the pups. Good sources for this are animal tissues, eggs and fish. Dairy products also aid in this process to include different cheeses and yogurt along with cottage cheese.
A few final tips to keep in mind for the mother to be
Oats or oatmeal, flax seeds and brown rice are good grains for expecting mother. I mention brown rice as opposed to white rice, as brown rice has three times the nutrients than white rice has. Fatty fish and fish oils should be included for their Omega 3 acids. Salmon is a good source for this. As for fish oils, I previously mentioned, do not use cod liver oil. Some holistic veterinarians suggest that red raspberries are good for them as they can ease the labor and aid in a speedy delivery. Once you know your dog is pregnant, be sure to check and watch their weight. Under weight and over weight dogs can create problems with the beginning growth of the puppies as there will not be enough room for them to develop properly. High nutrient value is extremely important. Without this, complications may arise such as smaller litters and a higher risk of puppy death. There are also several supplements that can be added to their daily feeding that can aid in the prenatal growth of the puppies and subsequent milking process. There are also special foods for the newborn puppies. Additionally, if the new mother is having issues nursing, there are milk replacements that can be given to the pup that are very close to the mother’s milk. Always read the directions and dosage requirements before using.
Well, I hope I have been able to provide you with a helpful and healthy starting point for your pregnant pooch. Following these helpful hints, tips and information provided will ensure your new mommy has a happy and healthy litter of little ones to care for properly. Should you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to leave them below and I will be happy to assist you and your new furry family.