It does not have to be difficult to feed a pregnant or nursing dog. This article will provide you with some suggestions to follow, but keep in mind that dogs have been doing this for a long time on their own. Even if we were not around, dogs would forage for food, become pregnant, bring puppies to term, and nurse them.
When planning a diet for a pregnant or lactating dog, keep the following dietary requirements in mind:
- Simple to digest
- Protein of high grade
- Energy that is available
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
All of these criteria may be addressed if the dog is fed natural dog food. Even if you want to trust the marketing for commercially manufactured dog meals, you should be aware that those diets are not natural. They are not easily digested, lack the necessary protein quality, have insufficient energy sources, and will be deficient in vitamins and minerals for a pregnant or nursing dog.
It is up to you to let her do what nature intended; your pregnant or nursing dog wants you to make the right decision.
Why Is It So Difficult to Digest Commercial Foods?
Even though the products you buy are largely meat, they include a lot of grains. (Another grain is rice.) Rice-based foods are equally as difficult to digest as corn-based foods.) Canned foods may include more meat, but dry foods require a lot of ingredients merely to manufacture a pellet. Of course, all grains are made of vegetative matter, and every cell in a vegetable is surrounded by cellulose.
Cows and other herbivores thrive on cellulose alone. They have a gut packed with microbes that break down the cellulose. You already know that your dog cannot thrive on grass, and if you feed her a commercial food high in cellulose, she will need to consume a lot of it to fulfill her nutritional requirements. If she has special requirements, such as a pregnant or nursing female, she may need to consume much more. Her stomach can only hold so much food each day, thus this is too much for her.
Some breeders will try to avoid this by advising many little feedings throughout the day. Many years ago, a veterinarian I used to work for put it succinctly: “It’s like cramming ten pounds of s*** in a five-pound sack.”
Can Puppy Food Give My Pregnant Dog Enough Energy?
A pregnant dog cannot get enough energy from puppy food since it is made up of grains and the energy is in a form that dogs cannot consume. It will be bonded by cellulose, much like the protein she really needs right now.
Unfortunately, they may become fat, but this is not due to an overabundance of readily accessible calories. To make puppy diets more appealing, sucrose or other low-cost sweets may be added. A pregnant dog does not need to gain more than 14 percent of her body weight, but if she consumes a lot of commercial food in quest of nutrients, she will acquire an excessive amount of weight.
What About Minerals and Vitamins?
Calcium and other vitamins are required to be added to dog kibble to make it “complete.” That does not imply that a dog can digest what is in the meal, or that certain minerals will be bonded with others during digestion.
Most veterinarians understand that these diets are insufficient and recommend that pregnant women take calcium supplements. If the pregnant dog’s owner does not, milk output may be insufficient, and the veterinarian will sell milk replacer instead.
Easy-to-digest bones, such as chicken wings and legs, can offer your pregnant dog with all of the calcium she requires during her difficult pregnancy. You do not need to give her calcium and phosphorus supplements to balance her calcium and phosphorus consumption. Her mineral requirements will also be met.
Once a week, your pregnant dog should be given an antioxidant supplement. Many dog food manufacturers would not even consider adding Vitamin C because dogs make it naturally, and some of the other vitamins are deficient.
Isn’t There Enough Protein in Commercial Puppy Foods to Meet The Needs of a Pregnant Dog?
Sure, the diet may have a sufficient amount of protein. However, not all protein is created equal. Do you believe 100 grams of eggs are equivalent to 100 grams of a higher-quality veggie protein source? It’s never the case. Even if the diet contains 5 or 10% of its high protein content in a difficult-to-digest protein, the dog food makers may still market the diet as “high protein.” It has a high protein content for a cow.
Your pregnant or nursing dog will wind up strewing “cow patties” all over your yard “too.
Is a commercial diet going to kill your puppies? No way, no how. Many pregnant dogs must subsist on commercial rations. However, if you have a small litter size, weak puppies, and high puppy mortality, you may question what is causing it.
What Should a Pregnant or Nursing Dog Eat?
A example diet for a pregnant or lactating dog is as follows:
- Approximately 65-75 percent raw meaty bones, such as chicken wings, oxtail, or rabbit.
- Approximately 15-20% additional meat sources, such as cow cheeks, pig intestine, whatever game is available, and the odd raw fish (whole).
- About 5% organ meat, primarily liver for vitamins and antioxidants.
- Approximately 5% fresh leafy vegetables (such as kale and pumpkin), mixed into a liquid and supplemented with 1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast (Vitamin B), 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (Vitamin E), a raw egg yolk (additional vitamins, antioxidants, and protein), and 1 tablespoon yogurt (probiotics). If your dog isn’t already on a natural diet and isn’t interested in the vegetable mixture, you may add liver, which has a strong odor that canines adore.
Assume that your dog will consume around one-fifth of her body weight each week; nevertheless, some pregnant dogs can be given free-choice and will not acquire excessive weight. When she is pregnant, the only method to check this is to weigh her every week for a number of months.
If you wish to offer her anything different, such as a little quantity of table scraps, don’t worry about “upsetting her diet.”” To feed organically, your dog does not require a Ph.D. in animal nutrition.
What Happens After Childbirth?
Continue the natural diet that your dog is used to after she gives birth. During early lactation, she will most likely begin eating more and will convert practically all of her food into milk for her puppies.
Her milk supply will drop after approximately a month, and you may start feeding her less. You will still want additional food, though, because the puppies will begin consuming solid food about this time.
Enjoy this time, and make certain that you are properly feeding your pregnant or nursing dog.
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