Nutrition for Pregnant Dogs and Puppies
This month, we want to talk to you about the nutritional needs of your pregnant females and puppies.
Let’s first start with your pregnant females. On their 35th day of pregnancy, the puppies inside her begin to turn from cells into embryos. This will increase her calorie requirement by 300% in a short period of time. Yes, you heard that right; she will need to eat 3 times as many calories from one week to the next. So she needs to eat 3 times as much feed, but also now has a bellyful of puppies. At this point I highly recommend you look at the K/cals per cup on the back of your bag of dog food. Those calories listed are the digestible calories per 8 oz cup.
Your Mama’s food should be at the minimum 420 k/cals per cup. If you do not have a calorie-dense feed, your females will physically not be able to eat enough to fulfill the nutrient requirements of the puppies that are depending on her, or worse yet she may back off on her water intake, which could lead to her becoming dehydrated.
This is why you start feeding a different food to your mamas on their 35th day of pregnancy. We at Joy have formulated a feed specifically for your pregnant females. The name of this feed is Joy Super Meal. It will provide those extra calories and provide increased available calcium and B vitamins for her to store.
Let’s discuss calcium and B vitamins. First, Calcium if balanced with phosphorus and magnesium will be able to be stored in your female’s body until they need it during the whelping and lactating processes. When a female whelps, Calcium acts as a lubricant to help her contractions happen when they should. In fact, if they do not have this available during whelping, they will even pull calcium from their bones. The B vitamins are crucial to your female’s health and her ability to care for her pups while in the womb. These are the same Prenatal vitamins that many of our wives will take while pregnant. They will also provide mama and her puppies with a real desire to thrive. B vitamins are like an energy shot, without caffeine.
Once your puppies are delivered, they should begin eating solid food between 3 and 4 weeks old. If they are hesitant, you can grind the feed to make it more palatable. This is the reason we have designed our Joy Puppy food to taste as good as possible for those young puppies. We need them to start eating young so they are happy and plump when ready to go to their new homes.
One other thing that can happen with your females after they whelp, is they may seem to back off their feed. This may happen because they just went through an extremely stressful process and may also be anxious. Try giving them a highly concentrated probiotic (preferably a paste) to help get their gut health right and calm them down. They should then return to eating with a strong appetite.
Lastly, I want to stress from her 35th day of pregnancy until your puppies are gone, you should give both mama and puppies full feed. Their bodies will tell them how much they need to eat better than we can determine for them. They are too valuable to risk problems because we are trying to predict their needs incorrectly.
If you have any questions about your dog’s nutrition, you can get in touch with us.