Best Foods for Pregnant Dogs

Pregnant dogs require a specialized diet to ensure puppies develop properly. Pregnant dog care needs to be a primary concern, and the dog food you choose impacts fetal health and the overall health of the pregnant dog. Sometimes, the best foods for a pregnant dog are those you make yourself.

A typical dog pregnancy lasts 63 days. During this time, dogs must increase their intake of many nutrients to help with fetal growth and to ensure the mother dog is healthy and can produce milk for her litter. Dog owners need to make sure that their pet is getting optimal amounts of necessary nutrients and extra calories.

Why a Proper Diet Critical to Pregnant dogs

Providing your dog’s normal food is high quality without fillers, preservatives or artificial colors, that dog food will be fine for the pregnancy. When the dog delivers her puppies and begins nursing them, puppy food is required because the puppies need the extra fat. Switch the mother to the new food before she delivers to allow time for her body to become accustomed to it.

A pregnant dog does go through morning sickness for a week. Your dog may not want to eat or may throw up from time to time. This is normal. Try introducing high-protein food at this time. Your dog may be willing to try a new food to ease her stomach upset.

Key Nutrients Every Pregnant Dog Needs

Pregnant dogs need to take a pregnancy vitamin. Your veterinarian can recommend safe brands and correct doses for your dog’s weight.

Protein is important to a pregnant dog care dietary plan. While most dog food brands provide the essential nutrients, make sure you choose a brand that lists meat as a first ingredient. Meat by-products are poor quality protein and should be avoided. Brands like Natural Balance provide optimal protein levels.

Boost a dog’s intake of protein by adding a hard boiled egg to her daily diet. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water during pregnancy and when she is nursing. She may drink more than usual, but that is normal.

Setting Up a Feeding Schedule for a Pregnant Dog

In any pregnant dog care routine, the amount of food she eats will increase by the fifth week of pregnancy. Experts agree that her food intake should increase by 20 percent. If your dog usually eats five cups of food per day, you will need to add an extra cup of food.

Break up the feedings for your pregnant dog. By feeding a smaller amount a few times a day, she may not deal with morning sickness at the same level and her blood sugar levels will remain balanced throughout the day helping her energy level remain stable. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the dog’s abdomen becomes cramped for space, so she will be more comfortable with less in her stomach.

Around 24 hours before a dog gives birth, she may refuse food. Do not force her to eat. She knows what is happening and follows her body’s signals.

My Pregnant Dog and Calcium

Do not give calcium supplements to pregnant dogs. Their bodies produce calcium naturally. Excessive amounts of calcium can cause eclampsia (high blood pressure) and problems with the developing puppies.