During pregnancy, your dog will experience many changes, including a variation of her nutritional needs. Here we show you what you should consider and how you can give the best possible start to both your dog and her litter.
Now that your dog is pregnant, it is essential to provide (and her future litter) the best possible start. In addition to preparing your home and making sure your dog is comfortable, you must provide adequate food that favors her health and that of her puppies.
Providing tailored nutrition during pregnancy can greatly influence the future well-being of your litter. For example, in a study conducted with pregnant Boston terrier dogs, to which folic acid supplements were administered during the heat period and at the beginning of pregnancy, it was observed that they had litters with fewer cases of cleft palate.1
It is likely that your dog, as well as her behavior and feeding, will change during pregnancy; So, below we tell you what you should consider and how you can make sure you provide the care you need.
Appetite and meal schedule of your pregnant dog
At the beginning of pregnancy, your dog could suffer a temporary loss of appetite. It is very normal and will return to appetite as soon as your body begins to deal with the growth of your litter.
With this in mind, it might be tempting to change your meal schedule to fit your appetite changes. However, you should not modify your pregnant dog’s meal schedule in this way. Otherwise, you could harm the dog and her future puppies, as this would not be receiving adequate or constant feeding, which could lead to certain complications, such as difficulties at the time of delivery. So, keep your usual meal schedule by introducing only a few specific changes that help pregnancy.
Nutrition of pregnant dogs
After the fifth week of gestation, your dog’s energy needs will increase by 10% each week as the puppies grow. At the same time, your ability to eat may be limited due to your physical transformation, so you cannot assimilate or digest the nutrients you need. The solution is to switch to a diet with high energy content
In the last third of pregnancy, at 42 days, you can completely switch to a diet with a high energy intake to help your dog face the last stage. You should also increase the amount of food by 10% every week until delivery, since you will need this additional supply of energy and nutrients.
An important point to keep in mind is to provide your pregnant dog with a nutritionally balanced diet with which she does not need to take any additional supplements. Some of these products that you could give your dog, such as calcium supplements, could interfere with the normal regulation of vitamins and minerals in your body during pregnancy, which would cause unwanted health problems.
Weight control of pregnant dogs
With a litter on the way, naturally your dog will gain weight during pregnancy. However, for the sake of your health and that of the puppies, it is essential that you do not get too fat. Depending on your size and race, you should not gain more than 25% or 30% of your original weight. The best way to control it is to weigh it every week while you are pregnant and adjust your rations based on your weight changes.
If you are not sure what your ideal weight is or if you want to know how to modify the portions, contact your veterinarian who will give you the best advice for the mother and the puppies.
Gestation can be a complex process, but certainly very exciting for everyone. If you closely monitor the progress of your dog and provide her with a nutritionally balanced and adapted food, you will be giving the mother and the puppies the best possible start.