December 14, 2017

Help My Dog Is Expecting

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Sometimes, no matter how responsible of a dog owner you may be, you find that you have a pregnant pooch on your hands. You may also be breeding your female to produce a very planned litter of puppies or this may be a complete surprise. Regardless of a planned or unexpected pregnancy there are some feeding considerations for the mother to help her before the birth of the puppies and as long as she is responsible for their nutrition.

Many female dogs have little change in behavior or physical appearance for the first several weeks of their pregnancy. The average length of gestation is about 62-63 days or just over two months. Typically for the first couple of weeks after a successful breeding you may notice a slight drop in consumption of food and perhaps some vomiting and diarrhea, but this is not always present.

By about the end of the first month to the fifth week your pregnant female should begin to increase her food intake. Generally breeders and vets recommend that this increase should be about twenty percent of her typical food completed gradually. So, if she is a small dog and eats one cup of food per day, at this time she should be consuming a cup and a quarter. A larger dog that eats four cups a day should now be up to five. There is no need to change brands or protein levels providing you are feeding a brand that has protein from meat not from meat by-products. Hard boiled eggs can be added to the dog food for a very healthy protein source, just limit it to one or two a day depending on the size of the dog. Do not feed raw eggs on a regular basis.

After the fifth week your dog will begin to eat more and gain weight. Some females will increase their food consumption by up to thirty percent the end of this time period. It is important to carefully monitor both food intake and weight gain. It is dangerous to both the puppies and the mother if there is too rapid of a weight gain during this stage of gestation. Lots of additional fat can cause extreme pressure on the female’s joints and muscles can contribute to problems with whelping.
The last three to four weeks of the pregnancy are the most essential for the puppies as this is their rapid growth stage.

Switching the female over to a high quality puppy chow or feeding a specialized diet for pregnant or lactating dogs is essential. Keep in mind you don’t have to feed a specialized diet, just look for a good quality protein source in a puppy food. Try increasing feeding times to several smaller meals a day to keep the mother’s blood sugars level and allow her to get the quantity of food she requires. Remember her stomach area is now smaller due to the increasing size of the puppies. This is true in all breeds, but particularly important for those breeds that have the larger litters.

Article by Kerry Delfino, check out natural dog food delivery on great brands like Wellness pet food online!

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