Once you know that your dog is pregnant, its diet takes a special importance. A pregnant dog needs extra nutrition as its body is working hard to develop puppies in its womb. The food fed to it will determine not only its health but the health of its puppies too. However, feeding your pregnant dogs needs special care. Both overfeeding and underfeeding your pregnant dog can be harmful. Today, market is flooded with supplements suitable for pregnant dogs, but sometimes they can cause problems like abnormal puppy development and complications in delivery. So, the question remains what to feed and what not to feed your pregnant dog? Generally, it is recommended to give your pregnant dog its normal diet with slight modifications. Or you can go for a specialized diet plan for your dog. Still confused about feeding your pregnant dog? Here are some pointers, which will help you in feeding your pregnant dog.
How To Feed Your Pregnant Dog
- Gestation period in dogs is of 60 to 65 days. In the initial stages of gestation, your dog doesn’t need extra nutrition. For the first four weeks of pregnancy, you can feed your dog normally. Overfeeding during the early stages will make it obese, which can cause difficulty in delivery. In fact, just like humans, dogs also experience morning sickness, which may not allow them to eat anything. Don’t worry, this phase will pass out by third week of pregnancy. Just make sure that your dog drinks a lot of water. You can give your dog low-sodium broth, this will keep it hydrated. However, if you feel that your dog isn’t eating anything, then you should consult a vet.
- After the first six weeks of gestation, increase your dog’s diet by 25 percent each week. So, in sixth week, it will be eating twice the regular amount of food. In seventh week, increase its food again by 25 percent, making the amount bigger than what it was eating in sixth week. Follow this pattern until puppies are born.
- There is a large variety of dog food available. Most people prefer to feed kibble but cooked and raw foods are equally popular. Whatever you feed your dog, it should be well balanced, rich in vitamins and minerals. During pregnancy, metabolism of the dog increases so ensure that you are giving sufficient nutrition to your dog. Opt for puppy food or lactation dog food.
- In the fourth week of pregnancy, start feeding your dog with high calorie puppy food. However, remember to make the switch gradually. For example, if you feed your dog with a cup of dog food, then start with mixing 3/4 of a cup of regular dog food with 1/4 cup of puppy food in the first week of the change.
- As pregnancy progresses, puppies development might compress the stomach of your dog. This will limit the amount of food she can consume at a time. To deal with this problem, you can feed your dog smaller portions of meals throughout the day.
- During any stage of pregnancy, avoid overfeeding or underfeeding your dog. Over feeding your pregnant dog can result in a layer of fat developing on her reproductive organs, which could make labor difficult.
- During pregnancy, avoid giving your dog calcium supplements; rather provide the dog with highly nutritious food. If your dog is underfed during pregnancy, it can be at the risk of developing eclampsia. In enclampsia, a dog develops a very low blood calcium level. Low blood calcium can cause complications in delivery and improper puppy development.