It very important to make sure your pregnant bitch is getting everything she needs. Eaten right would make sure both babies and mum remain healthy. It would also help her recover after whelping.
Pregnant mothers needs extra boost especially if she's carrying large litter. That is one of the reason why you need to take her for a scan during pregnancy so you can have an estimate of the number of expected litter. In other to meet up her protein and energy demands its best if you feed her Puppy feed.
Feeding her high quality puppy feed would help her during and after pregnancy greatly. Good milk formation, healthy puppies.
Puppy food is richer in key nutrients and provides more energy than adult-formula food. It’s easily digestible also and easier to chew giving her less stress. These are all important things to think about when feeding pregnant bitches.
If you can't afford feeding puppy formulas from start of pregnancy then start around week 6. It will help her to stay strong, and also passes nutrients to her puppies through her milk.
Your dog should be introduced to her new food in stages any way.
Giving her time to adjust would allow her tummy time to adjust. Start to introduce the puppy food into her usual formula, a little bit at a time, over the course of about a week, until the formulas have been completely swapped over. A simple thing to do is to add 25% new meal to 75 old meal for two days, then 50% new meal to 50% old meal another two days. 75% new meal to 25% old meal for another two days and then 100% new meal. This would help her to adjust smoothly and also help her against upset stomach.
Make sure she has easy access to plenty of fresh, clean drinking water so she can stay hydrated, especially if she’s on a dry-food formula during pregnancy.
It’s best to feed your pregnant bitch little and often, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, as a tummy full of puppies will mean she won’t have much room for food.
When feeding pregnant dogs, give them their usual portion sizes for the first few weeks of pregnancy. During these early stages, your bitch may go off her food or experience a little nausea and vomiting, similar to our humans having morning sickness
Start to increase her food intake, bit by bit, from around week five of her pregnancy. Gradually increase the portion size a little more each week, so that by week nine her meal size is about a third more than normal. By this time, mum’s weight should have increased by about 25%, or more if she is expecting a large litter.
Use controlled, measured portions to stop her overeating and becoming obese, as this can cause problems during pregnancy and labour.
Overweight in dogs can cause difficulties during labour such as stress which might in turn make her abandon her puppies after whelping.
It is important not to supplement her feed with calcium and bones during pregnancy. If you must supplement with any other vitamins it has to be prescribed by your vet.
Managing nutrition and the bitch’s bodyweight before, during and after pregnancy is critical to the health of her and her puppies. Malnutrition due to inadequate nutrient intake can lead to abortions or stillbirths. Excessive feeding can lead to obesity increasing the risk of dystocia and prolonged labour as i said earlier.
Importance of feeding during lactation:
Successful lactation requires good nutrition before breeding and throughout pregnancy. During lactation, energy requirements increase and are directly proportional to milk production, which in turn is directly related to the number of feeding puppies.
The food fed to the bitch during lactation should be nutrient dense and highly digestible. After whelping, the bitch’s energy requirements steadily increase and peaks between three to five weeks. This peak is two to four times higher than the bitch’s normal energy requirements. The energy requirements return to maintenance levels at about eight weeks after whelping, corresponding with the timing of weaning.
The requirement for protein increases more than the requirement for energy in the lactating bitch. Therefore the food selected needs to be high in digestible protein.
During pregnancy do not give calcium supplement like i said earlier but during lactation you should. Calcium requirements increase to two to five times normal during peak lactation.
Feed your pregnant and nursing bitch a food that is highly digestible and is high in nutrients e.g Puppy feed.
Do not increase her food No food until 42 days of pregnancy.
After week six of gestation food increase by approximately 10% a week is necessary.
During the late stage of pregnancy you should geed her 25% -50% more food
Avoid overfeeding gestating bitches. Excessive weight gain can be detrimental to the bitch and/or the puppies.
Provide several small meals per day during the latter stage of pregnancy, and during lactation. This is particularly important for bitches with large litters.
Always ensure clean, fresh water is available.
Lactating bitches have significantly increased energy and nutrient requirem
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