What to Feed Pregnant Dog – 9 Important Things to Keep in Mind


Similar to expectant human mothers, pregnant dogs need additional attention, especially when it comes to their health and nutrition. As your furry companion’s care provider, you have a responsibility to make sure she gives birth to healthy puppies. Curious about the best diet for a pregnant dog? This piece will provide you with guidance and some useful advice.

How to Take Care of Pregnant Dog

In all stages of your female dog’s life, pregnancy can be a wonderful time to care for her. She experiences a lot of changes in weight, behavior, appetite, and hormones. This is the time when she needs attention and affection from you.

1. Signs of Dog Pregnancy

Look for the signs of a dog’s conception for proper preparation. Be cautious so that you will not be forcing her to do strenuous activities. Consult her veterinarian for proper guidance. Consider the following signs of being pregnant in your pooch:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Abdomen swell
  • Hormonal changes
  • Less lethargic and active
  • Signs of depression

2. Dog Food Nutrition

Caring for your mama dog is significant for the nutritional and health needs of her puppies. You should know what to feed your pet. Her eating needs to increase one and a half more than a normal rate.

Never withhold food from her because she needs extra nutrition. Talk to the veterinarian for some recommendations on certain performance foods. She may eat more often but in smaller amounts.

3. Health Issues for Pregnant Dogs

Concern on certain issues like blood sugar problems and obesity are part of pregnant dogs’ caring. However, you should not place her in extreme or invasive dietary changes. Adding dietary supplements is also not a good idea. Too many pregnancy vitamins and minerals may pose risks to her health and that of her puppies.

4. Pre-birth Pregnant Dog’s Care

Your dog starts to act more thirsty, irritable, and tired as her abdomen grows. Here are some tips every owner should consider:

  • Give your dog a spot to rest free from a hectic lifestyle you may have. Provide her with a whelping box for her puppies days or weeks beforehand.
  • Keep her secluded spot from visitors and family members and keep its light low. Do not do things that may upset or startle her. Unfamiliar sounds, sights, and scents may only upset her as she prepares to whelp.
  • The household should be kept as calm and smooth as possible during the critical time of her.
  • Give her water all the time.
  • Keep yourself calm and focused during her labor and let nature take the course.
  • Make sure to post the number of the pet in a visible or prominent area during the pregnancy’s last few weeks.

5. Nutritional Requirements for Pregnant Dogs

Special consideration and care are critical when caring for and feeding your pregnant dog. This is because she needs specific nutritional needs. Her nutritional requirements differ and change in every stage before, during, and after pregnancy.

Feeding Your Dog Pregnant Fundamentals
  • It is best to feed your pregnant pal puppy food or pet food for all life stages.
  • Ensure to give food containing at least 22% protein and 1600 kcal of digestive energy for every pound of the food.
  • Feed her all her preferred food unless when she’s vulnerable to obesity already.
  • Try switching her pet food to a more nutritional alternative if she seems to lose weight or moistening it.
  • Always keep fresh water in her clean bowl.
Nutritional Adjustments During Dog Pregnancy
  • Typically, female dogs conceive for nine weeks. Their food intake should not be much higher than their normal intake in her six or seven weeks of pregnancy.
  • Cut 25% more from their pregnant dog food between their six and seven weeks in pregnancy. This is the period when their weight begins to increase.
  • Their appetite may disappear or slip in week nine. This is most likely a sign of giving birth in a day or two. Consult an expert on what events or behaviors to expect and the things to do.
Proper Nutrition for Lactation
Learn How to Wean the Puppies

Usually, a puppy is weaned between six and eight weeks. The transition from the mother’s milk production is as easy as possible through the following:

  • Never give the mother any water or food on the weaning day. Be mindful of her immune system and the puppy food when her puppies are born.
  • Provide her a quarter of her pre-pregnancy intake, half the following day, and ¾ the next day.
  • Expect her to return to her normal diet by the fifth day although increasing the amount is also good for those who lost weight during their pregnancy.

6. Switching of Food, the Right Way

Switch food you typically feed the mother at the start of her pregnancy and after the stop of her lactation. Make a gradual transition when changing food over 7-10 days. This helps her cope with the best dog food for pregnant dogs modification.

7. What to Feed Pregnant Dogs

Feed pregnant dogs the same as the other adult dogs with a few tweaks. Both veterinarians and fur parents believe in the 5:1:1:1 as the best diet for nursing dogs. This ratio represents 5 parts of raw meat, 1 part of a fresh organ (kidney, heart, liver), 1 part of raw bone, and 1 part of the vegetable.

Raw Feeding

Provide a well-balanced raw meal to your dog to build healthy puppies. Soon after, she will be needing more meat muscle for the development of the puppies’ muscles.

More bones and cartilages will help build their little frames and joints. She needs more organ meats in her food will fuel their organ construction. Also, more fat is necessary to boost energy.

A Variety of Food

Food ingredients or contents differ based on where they are grown, their season, what they are to feed upon, etc.

Each organ provides different bioactive and nutrient compounds, and each meat offers different profiles of amino acids.

Good Quality Meals

Feed her foods with various good quality ingredients for everything she needs.

Her nutrient needs likely fluctuate almost every day during pregnancy. Modify raw dog recipes or the pre-made raw foods on a regular basis, perhaps weekly whenever possible.

Feed Pregnant Dogs the Best Meat

Good food helps build good puppies so give the mother raw dog foods that are fresh and species-appropriate and those made on the best meats. Choose those with little or even no chemical content at all.

8. What to Feed a Pregnant Dog to Produce Milk

Lactating dogs should produce enough milk to feed all the litter of puppies for several weeks.

Usually, lactation or milk production in pregnant dogs starts nearly at least a week for the first-timers and approximately 1-2 days for those who have given birth before.

Quality Liquid for Mama Dogs

Always provide them with enough quality liquids which may include:

  • Chicken broth
  • Almond milk
  • Fresh water
  • Lactose-free cow milk
  • Goat milk
Treats that are Full of Nutrients

Nutritious treats are also important for nursing dogs. They include cheddar cheese, dried beef, and fresh fruits.

Consider foods that are high in calories like salmon and sweet potatoes. Chicken, eggs, and meatballs are great alternatives for sweet potatoes and salmon.

So, what exactly should you feed your mama dog?

9. Feeding Pregnant Dogs Right

The right food to provide your expectant mama dog differs in the different stages of her pregnancy. She eats normally and nothing many changes in the first half of conception. Her food must have sufficient calories for increased energy requirements. This is necessary for the development of her puppies and her milk production.

Week 5 – Start Increasing Food Quantity

This is the stage of the pregnancy that needs an increase in her food consumption. The amount of her intake should be increased to roughly 20 to 30 percent. She also starts to gain weight this time.

Week 6 – Increase Fat but Decrease Bone in Her Diet

Your dog’s stomach capacity shrinks as the puppies inside her are growing by week 6. This requires you to increase her feeding and decrease the amount of her food. Observe the amount of food she eats and her craving for it according to her action. This will give you a hint on how much to increase her meals per day.

Try to increase her fat intake – choose red meat over white meat. Red meat may include pork, duck, and duck. White meat may come from turkey, fish, and chicken. More fat in her diet satisfies higher demand for calories.

Also, use more boneless meats to lessen bone content in his meal.

Week 8 to 9 – Bone Content in Food at Nil

Food quantity should gradually increase over time. She may have been consuming 50 percent more food by week 8 than during her pre-pregnancy. Make certain that her food’s bone content should be effectively nil during this period.

Week 9 – Gradual Reduction of Food Intake

Gradually decrease her food intake as she starts to eat less in this last week of conception. High digestibility in her feeding maximizes her calorie intake from the smaller or little amounts of food given to her. You may find your pregnant dog not eating as some mama dogs stop eating one or two days beforehand.

More Nutrition

Moreover, more phosphorus and calcium are necessary for the pregnant dog’s milk production and the bone development of her puppies. More protein in her meal is also important for puppy growth. You should also know what to feed dog after giving birth.

FAQs About the Food for Pregnant Dogs

Here are some of the frequently asked questions by dog owners on “What should I feed my pregnant dog?”:

Are eggs good for a pregnant dog?
Eggs are an excellent addition to the homecooked diet of your mama dog. Veterinarians and experts recommend cooking them before feeding them to her.

Can I give my pregnant dog milk?
Yes, make sure that the milk contains phosphorus and calcium for sufficient milk for nursing.

What should you not give a pregnant dog?
According to vets, raw diets are not good for lactating or nursing dogs. Substances like steroids, aspirin, estradiol, and doxycycline are harmful to them. Also, an additional vitamin or supplement for nursing dogs should be avoided unless recommended by veterinarians.

What nutrients do pregnant animals need?
Nursing dogs should have at least 29% protein, 17% fat, and high in soluble carbohydrates, phosphorus, and calcium in their meals. However, it should be low in its fiber content.

What do pregnant dogs need?
Pregnant dogs need proper care and nutrition. Always pay attention to their health as they are carrying puppies inside them.

What to feed a pregnant dog that won’t eat?
Aside from pregnancy vitamins for dogs, the amount of food or the quality dog food is essential. Feeding a pregnant dog requires foods that are highly digestible. Nursing dogs need to boost their immune system as their puppies are born in few weeks.

Are eggs good for nursing dogs?
Yes, an egg is the best food to feed a nursing dog so go give her.

Final Remarks

Feeding and caring for nursing dogs may not be that easy but with enough knowledge, everything will just be fine. Consider this guide on what to feed a pregnant dog so you will have peace of mind throughout your pet’s journey of being a mom.

Featured image source: Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

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