Pregnant bitches need some care to make sure that they are healthy and their puppies as well. One of the keys to keep them healthy is proper feeding during the time of gestation. During the first few days of pregnancy, nutrition does not vary, but as fetal development progresses, the bitch’s dietary needs increases.
Feeding the pregnant female is important to provide both the mother and the future puppies with the energy and nutrients they need.
The canine pregnancy lasts between 63 and 67 days. This is a very demanding stage for the bitch, her body undergoes important changes to adapt to the puppies that grow in her belly and require food, received through the placenta. This is why it is important to feed the pregnant bitch properly so that gestation occurs in a healthy way. A pregnant female needs extra protein and lots of energy. It is advisable to use puppy food during the gestation stage, as it has many proteins and energy for the dog and its puppies. In addition, feeding with puppy food should be extended to the lactation stage.
Feeding during the first weeks of gestation.
Changes in the body of the pregnant female are not yet visible during the first two weeks. Their food must be the usual, depending on their race and size. You should also keep your normal physical activity, with your walks and games.
Canine females also suffer from pregnancy discomfort. To avoid nausea, the ideal is to provide small portions of food, dosed throughout the day, to prevent them from losing their appetite. As the pregnancy progresses you should increase the amount of food.
The development of the puppies accelerates from the fifth week of gestation, so the need to increase nutrient intake increases. For every four puppies born, the dog must increase food intake by 5% each week, increasing at the rate that small puppies do. So in the ninth week of pregnancy, the dog will require a quarter more of what she ate before pregnancy.
In the final phase of pregnancy, the appetite decreases. In the womb the puppies do not stop growing and occupy more and more space, reason why the bitch will lose the appetite remarkably. It is convenient to offer small portions of food frequently to the mother. Although the bitch does not want to eat, you must always leave food and fresh water for the dog.
Medicines and supplements for the pregnant bitch:
Nutritional and vitamin supplements are not recommended before the sixth week of gestation. An excessive and sudden influx of these supplements could cause an abnormal growth of the embryos and their exaggerated growth, endangering the mother at the time of delivery.
Medications should be avoided throughout pregnancy except for the vet’s prescription, as they may cause birth defects in puppies.
Watch the weight of the pregnant bitch.
The placenta accounts for most of the weight a pregnant bitch earns. The puppies fatten without rest inside the maternal womb, explaining the rest of kilos that catches the bitch during the pregnancy. Pregnancy may favor an abnormal overweight and can go undetected.
Obesity in a pregnant female can cause problems during pregnancy and childbirth, so it is convenient to monitor your weight throughout the process. It is important to increase weight controls and record data regularly. Should you find any anomalies or exaggerations, you should consult the veterinarian as soon as possible.
As a summary, remember the following when feeding the pregnant bitch.
Feeding should be the usual during the first two weeks of gestation. At the onset of nausea, it is advisable to give the dog small doses of food, distributing them throughout the day.
Vitamin and nutritional supplements are not recommended until the sixth week of gestation. Medications should be avoided throughout the bitch’s pregnancy. In case of problems, the veterinarian should be consulted immediately.