Your pooch is expecting! There’s nothing like the prospect of puppies on the scene to have you flapping and fussing over your soon-to-be mamma dog. Just like a human pregnancy, a pregnant dog has specific dietary requirements in order to be safe and healthy as she’s now feeding growing pups. She needs enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients to maintain the puppies’ development, as well as her own health and quality of life.
This can be a nerve-wracking time as a dog parent, but it needn’t be with the right guidance, a considered diet and even a few supplements, to help you and your expecting dog along the way. Read on to learn about the best supplements to give pregnant and nursing dogs.
When you receive the big news, one of the first things you might think is ‘But what do I feed a pregnant dog?’ The answer is quite straightforward - an expectant mamma dog should be fed a varied and nutritious diet packed with vitamins and minerals, with as few artificial additives as possible. High quality, digestible dog food that is easy on your dog’s body should provide her with the energy and goodness she needs at this delicate time.
What about portion sizes? Puppy foetuses grow very slowly at first, so your dog can just eat her usual amount of food (1). She may be a little nauseous or have a reduced appetite at this time, a little like humans have morning sickness (though if this seems extreme, get in touch with your vet). As time goes on and your dog’s weight increases, also increase her meal size so that she and the growing pups are sufficiently fed.
In the late stage of pregnancy (the last 3 or 4 weeks), the puppies will grow rapidly - so feed your dog meals about a quarter larger than usual. Be aware however, that she might want to eat this larger amount broken up into frequent meals throughout the day; this will be easier to digest as the space in her belly is increasingly taken up with pups (1).
As well as high-quality pet food that your dog can digest easily, it’s a smart idea to add extra supplements to her diet, as it’s super important to prioritise her nutrition at this time. The growing puppies in her tum will need vitamins and minerals that contribute to bone, brain and eye development, as well as organ and muscle growth. Also don’t forget that when a pregnant dog eats, the nutrients in her food tends to go straight to the puppies, so she’ll need a boost of vitamins to get some of the goods for herself.
For the above reasons, a pregnant dog will most benefit from a nutritional ‘all-rounder’ when it comes to supplements - one packed with a diverse range of antioxidants, probiotics, fatty acids found in fish oil (2), vitamins and minerals that will complement your dog’s diet perfectly. Pooch & Mutt’s Bionic Biotic is a great option as it contains ingredients that will support your dog’s digestion and her immune system - such as vitamin E, beta-glucans and chicory root - as well as important vitamins and minerals that benefit the pregnancy process (see below).
Soon-to-be mamma dogs definitely need a general boost of vitamins to support the extra stress and strain on their bodies during pregnancy. Folic acid is especially important in the early stages as it’s crucial for puppy development - while iodine, calcium, iron and all vitamins A, D, E, K, C and the B family will also prove important both during and after the dog’s pregnancy. You could either ensure these requirements are being met with a multivitamin, or give your dog the vitamin boost through nutritious, all-natural pet foods.
It’s important not to over supplement, however. If you’re not sure how many nutrients your dog might be getting already, check with your vet to discuss how to make the safest changes to your pregnant dog’s diet.
The puppies are here - hooray! - and they seem happy, healthy and very cute. Though the puppies are now born, they won’t be eating solid food for another few weeks, and are still dependent on mamma dog for all nutrition through her milk. With this in mind, feeding a newly nursing dog a healthy diet packed with ample nutrients is just as important as when she’s pregnant.
To ensure a nursing dog is getting all the goodness she needs to nourish herself as well as her new puppies, the requirements will be similar to when she was pregnant. Be sure to feed her a diet packed with varied, natural foods and high in all vitamins A, D, E, K, C and the B vitamins, as well as iron, iodine, calcium and folic acid. A supplement that contains all of these, such as the Bionic Biotic we offer at Pooch & Mutt, is again a great option for covering all bases for a nursing dog. In terms of choosing the right food for a nursing dog, choose a health-forward pet food that’s designed to aid digestion and immunity.
Again, if you’re not sure whether your new mother pooch is already getting enough of certain vitamins and nutrients, go over your dog’s diet with a vet before adding any supplements to her food.
If you’ve got a pregnant or nursing dog to feed, check out our range of all-natural dog foods or our daily dog supplements to ensure she's eating well. If you've got any other questions about your dog's pregnancy and/or puppy nutrition, get in touch with us today.