Everyone loves puppies, but where do healthy happy puppies come from? A healthy and happy pregnant mom! As diet plays a big role in the growth and reproduction of healthy dogs, it is vital to ensure your pregnant dog is receiving the appropriate nutrients to have a smooth pregnancy, leading to healthy puppies! The foundation of healthy puppies is a healthy mother and the nutrients they are receiving from her during her pregnancy and nursing. Below we will guide you in the best diet for pregnant dogs, which formula to feed, how much to feed during pregnancy, and how to ensure she will give birth to healthy pups from the very beginning of their life!
What Is The Best Diet For Pregnant Dogs?
During pregnancy, dogs need a diet containing high-quality protein, extra fat to turn to energy, and essential vitamins & minerals to assist with growth, reproduction, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
A natural raw diet consisting of fresh vegetables, high quality meat, and essential vitamins and minerals will supply your pregnant dog with the appropriate nutrition for her puppies and herself. It is important to get your dog started on a raw diet prior to her pregnancy, to ensure her immune system is working properly. If she is further than 6 weeks along, it's recommended to wait until the puppies are born to switch to a raw diet.
Fresh high quality ingredients are very important for the growth and development of the fetus, as well as promoting overall good health during the pregnancy. A high protein diet will provide her with iron, protein, and calcium. In addition, added vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids will assist your pregnant dog during her pregnancy. The bone content in a raw diet will also provide her with calcium which is vital for milk production which she will need for nursing.
Many times a calcium supplement is added to a pregnant dog’s diet during pregnancy, but with a raw diet calcium is already included from the bone content! In addition, essential fatty acids, especially omega 3 fatty acids, play a big role in the growth of the fetus as well. Fatty acids are extremely beneficial to the development of the brain, nerves, and eyes in puppies.
Choosing a raw diet that provides your pregnant dog with high quality omega 3, such as Salmon Oil, will provide your pregnant dog with these nutrients without having to give an additional supplement. A complete and balanced diet is the best for your pregnant dog and her soon to be new puppies.
What Formula Do I Feed My Pregnant Dog?
We believe in feeding a nutritious diet optimized to meet your dog’s specific current life stage. Dogs experience two different life stages that are recognized by AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials), Adult Maintenance and Growth & Reproduction. Adult Maintenance is for sedentary dog’s and Growth & Reproduction covers dogs under the age of 12 months old, up to 14 months old for large breeds, and pregnant mothers. Most pet foods are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies, as they have higher demands, and therefore are able to have the same statement “formulated to meet the nutritional profile established by AAFCO for all life stages”. By finding a diet that specializes in life state specific nutrition, you can meet the nutritional demands of your puppy, adult dog, and pregnant dog at their current life stage, optimizing their health in each one of these physiological phases.
Our Puppy Formula is the best food for pregnant dogs. It has increased Fatty Acids EPA & DHA from Salmon Oil to assist in brain development and improve cognitive learning skills. It also has ideal Calcium Levels with a Calcium:Phosphorus ratio of 1.4:1. In addition, our Puppy Formula has enhanced antioxidants and vitamins to help with improved immune response to vaccinations and immune stimulation. Lastly, increased L-Carnitine in the formula helps burn fat more efficiently and increases bone mass and bone density. All of these formulations are specific to the Puppy Formula and will assist with strengthening the pregnant mother and puppies immune systems, building a healthy gut, and meeting their high energy demands and growing needs.
How Much To Feed Your Pregnant Dog
During your dog’s pregnancy, she may experience some lack of appetite and avoid some of her favorite foods. It's important to provide a variety in her diet to ensure that she doesn’t get bored and give up on eating.
For the first half of her pregnancy, her energy levels won’t change too much from her normal state. During the 4th week going forward, you can increase the amount of food you are feeding her depending on her liter size.
Similar to feeding puppies, it's recommended to feed smaller, more frequent meals during the day to keep up with her high energy demands and provide enough nutrition to her puppies. This will also allow you to feed her the appropriate amount to meet her and her developing puppies nutritional needs, while not making her too full as she needs space for her pups!
What About Once She Gives Birth?
Once your dog gives birth to her puppies you can continue feeding her the same amount to supply her with nutrients for her nursing puppies. She will still need to consume sufficient calcium amounts to make milk for the puppies as well as smaller frequent meals to continue keeping up with her high energy demands. You can keep her on the Puppy Formula until the puppies have weaned off her and are ready to start eating a raw diet as well. During lactation, they will still be receiving these nutrients from the mother. It’s a 2 in 1! Or should we say 10 in 1 depending on the litter size!?
Read Our Puppy Raw Feeding Guide Here.
Ensuring your pregnant dog is receiving the appropriate nutrition to pass along to her growing puppies is the foundation of good canine health! By providing her with high quality protein, calcium, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals will assist her through her pregnancy as well as recovery after she gives birth. It will also promote good health in the puppies from the very beginning!