Nutritional Tips for Healthier Dog Nursing

Dog nursing involves providing newborn puppies with essential nutrients for their growth and survival. Pets that exclusively depend on mother's milk as nutrition also deplete the mother's nourishment and fluid levels. It's important to adjust the dietary intake of pregnant and nursing dogs so that they remain healthy and feed their puppies adequately.

Dietary Supplements

Pregnant dogs may not require dietary supplements if they are provided with high quality food. Pet owners should also understand the risk involved with increasing calcium and folic acid in the dog's diet. There are various commercial diets that provide pets with complete diets appropriate to pregnant dogs. Sometimes pet owners choose to give pets a raw meat diet because it's minimally processed and contains natural ingredients. Although this may be true, pregnant pets shouldn't be given raw food diets as it may not be a balanced meal with necessary vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Requirements and Nursing Dog Food

Nursing dog's nutritional requirements increase tremendously after the birth of puppies. Pet owners should ideally provide nursing dog's three times the amount of food she normally eats. Food should be made available throughout the day or at regular intervals. Nursing dog food should contain high quality ingredients enriched with vitamins and minerals. If the dog has a large litter, the demand for her milk is greater. Due to this, nursing dogs should also be given plenty of fresh water to nourish her puppies.

Commercially Available Dog Food Brands

  • IAMS
  • Purina
  • Hill's Science diet
  • Natura pet products

Nursing Dog Care and Weaning

Puppy diets that contain high quality, nutrient dense food are ideal for dogs that are pregnant. Nursing puppies tend to show an interest in their mothers food nearly 5 weeks after birth. Puppies may start eating normal dog food along with feeding on their mother's milk. During the period of weaning, the mother (dog) will consume less food as the need to nurse decreases. Gradually the mother returns back to the pre-pregnancy diet and regain her energy.

Pre-Pregnancy Health

Before deciding to breed a pet, care takers should be certain that the pet is in optimal health. Diet and exercise are essential to keep pets healthy during the term of pregnancy. Dogs that are underweight or obese tend to have labor related complications. Dogs should thus be fed balanced diets to support them during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and nursing schedules.

Tips to Maintain Pregnant Pets:

  • Take pregnant pets for a regular walk as regular exercise will prevent dogs from becoming obese during pregnancy.
  • All pet vaccinations should be administered before the pregnancy to prevent abortions.
  • During the last weeks of gestation, avoid taking pets outdoors and prevent contact with other pets.
  • Many dogs require help birthing their puppies. Pets should be monitored and necessary preparations should be made in advance.
  • Consider getting a whelping box and keeping clean towels ready for use.
  • Pregnant pets should be well looked after during and after pregnancy. It's best to also conduct routine vet checks to ensure pet health.