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Quality nutrition is essential for all dogs, and no more so for pregnant dogs, who need the right food not just for themselves but for the growth and development of their unborn babies. A soon-to-be dog momma will have huge energy requirements, especially towards the end of her pregnancy, so giving her the very best food is key. From the type of protein and the right calorie intake, to ensuring all the essential minerals and vitamins are there, her diet will help to give her puppies the very best start in life. We take a look at some of the best dog food for pregnant dogs to keep your precious pet healthy and happy.
Grain-free and mirroring the high-protein diet canines would find in the wild, this dry puppy food is a tasty choice for your pregnant pooch as well as nursing dogs. With 32% protein this puppy food for pregnant dog uses roasted venison and bison to give that high-quality and much-needed meaty hit and has no grains or artificial additives that could irritate the later stage pregnant doggo. To help sustain her energy, you get animal fats and added omegas which also supply DHA for her pups’ development. Added to this easy to digest formula, are key vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants as well as probiotics to help her to absorb all the nutrients she needs for a healthy pre-and post pregnancy. Taste of the Wild High Prairie is one of 7 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of Taste of The Wild Dog Food.
Calorie content: 370 kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 32%
Minimum fat: 18%
Maximum fiber: 4%
Maximum moisture: 10%
Canine-specific probiotics for a healthy digestion
Grain and filler free with no artificial flavors, colors or additives
First five ingredients: buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas
With their Limited Ingredients Diet, Natural Balance aims to make things simple, while ensuring your pregnant pet gets all the nutrition they need. Grain-free with minimal carbs to keep their digestion calm, especially during the latter stages of pregnancy, the meaty taste will also keep your pet satisfied. Ideal for sensitive and nursing dogs, you get venison as the protein source, boosted by vitamin-rich sweet potato. Added flaxseed provides essential omegas and DHA for baby brain development while helping to keep your dog-momma in tip-top condition. This is a great choice for all stages of your pet’s pregnancy when protein and balanced calories are needed to keep them well-fed and healthy.
There’s nothing like a tasty bowl of comfort food and when your pregnant girl needs some mealtime soothing, this savory wet dog food from Wellness should hit the satisfaction mark. Grain-free and made with tender cuts of deboned chicken, you also get a delicious gravy to make this meal a go-to for your precious pet. Add in carrots, potatoes, peas and celery and you have a nutrient-packed meal to tempt your dog, even in the later stages of her pregnancy. The calorie count is not too high and the wet formula makes it easy to digest, while the essential vitamins and minerals help to keep your pooch in robust health, ready for the role of mom.
With a high percentage of protein – 32% – and turkey as the single protein source, your dog and her growing pups will get the boost they need for energy and lean, strong muscles. And there’s nothing in this pregnant dog food that can irritate your canine, as it’s grain free and contains limited, high quality ingredients. Low in saturated fat, the calorie amount per cup will give your dog the extra energy they need as well as a natural nutrient boost, including selenium, riboflavin and phosphorus. And, if your dog is sensitive or starting to become picky with their food as the pregnancy progresses, then this dry dog food could be your solution, as it’s carefully formulated to avoid any of the common allergens that can irritate your pet. Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our Zignature Dog Food Review.
Opting for a raw food approach to canine nutrition, this protein-packed dry dog food is a tasty alternative for your dog. Freeze-dried and combining kibble with raw-meat bites, Merrick uses deboned beef as the main ingredient, to help fuel those muscles and energy levels. You also get added salmon fish meal, for a quality hit of omega fatty acids, including DHA for puppies’ brain development. Carbs are limited but bring both nutrition and taste to the formula, including sweet potato and fiber-rich whole grains. Add in glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and this meaty dog food will be a welcome feast for your energy-burning pet. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free is one of 8 recipes included in our review of Merrick Dog Food.
Calorie content: 392 kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 38%
Minimum fat: 17%
Maximum fiber: 3.5%
Maximum moisture: 11%
Freeze-dried kibble and raw meat bites for high protein
Omegas 3&6 plus glucosamine and chondroitin
First five ingredients: deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
Our premium pick is this meaty combo of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw cage-free chicken for an energy boosting protein hit. With added probiotics to support your pet’s digestion, you also get omegas as well as antioxidants for all round health. The result is a dry dog food that is on the calorie high side, meaning it can be a great choice for the later stages of your pet’s pregnancy and for when she is feeding her new litter. We like how this dog food is minimally processed and made without corn, potato, wheat or soy for a highly digestible meal that also has a delicious, real meat taste. One of the best dry dog food for pregnant dogs in our review. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe is one of 5 dog food recipes mentioned in our review of Nature’s Variety Dog Food.
Calorie content: 508 kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 37%
Minimum fat: 20.5%
Maximum fiber: 4%
Maximum moisture: 9%
Limited ingredient formula with cage-free reared whole chicken
Omega fatty acids as well as added probiotics for digestion
First five ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, peas, chicken fat, tapioca
Made from sustainably sourced ingredients, and with 95% of the protein from cage-free chicken, freeze-dried into raw patties, this is an energy-boosting treat for your pregnant dog. The raw protein supports its digestibility, making it an easy to eat option for your dog. Each patty provides 50 calories, so are a good way of feeding your dog in the later stages of their pregnancy, if they are struggling to eat or have lost their appetite. They also contain 100% organic fruits and vegetables for balanced nutrition, are fortified with probiotics and can be rehydrated with water for even easier eating.
Calorie content: 50 kcal/patty
Minimum protein: 48%
Minimum fat: 28%
Maximum fiber: 5%
Maximum moisture: 5%
Freeze-dried meat patties that can be rehydrated with water or served dry
Made from cage-free chicken and organic fruits and vegetables
First five ingredients: chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries
As a proud pet parent, you will want to treat your pregnant girl and with Orijen, you have a tasty titbit that is grain free. These freeze-dried raw meat treats only contain the best protein, sourced from chicken and turkey as well as wild-caught monk fish, for added omegas. The freeze-drying locks in all that natural flavor, aroma and goodness designed to prick up the ears of your pet and get their taste-buds going. And, with each large kibble containing just five calories and packed with energy and nutrients, you can be sure you are giving your clever dog-mom a well-earned dog treat.
As a proud pet parent, you will want to treat your pregnant girl and with Orijen, you have a tasty titbit that is grain free. These freeze-dried raw meat treats only contain the best protein, sourced from chicken and turkey as well as wild-caught monk fish, for added omegas. The freeze-drying locks in all that natural flavor, aroma and goodness designed to prick up the ears of your pet and get their taste-buds going. And, with each large kibble containing just five calories and packed with energy and nutrients, you can be sure you are giving your clever dog-mom a well-earned treat.
Made with simple, wholesome ingredients, including wholegrains, this organic, dehydrated dog food offering all-round nutrition that is beneficial to all stages of your dog’s pregnancy. While it does have the lowest percentage of protein in our review, this is a natural formula to supply energy and satisfy your hungry dog. The moderate calories are good for their appetite and there are no by-products or preservatives. It’s also free of ‘red flag’ ingredients when it comes to sensitivities, such as corn, wheat or soy. To feed to your pet, you will need to add warm water to bring out the soothing goodness, making this a good meal for tired dogs needing some high quality comfort food.
Calorie content: 470 kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 22%
Minimum fat: 15%
Maximum fiber: 5%
Maximum moisture: 8.6%
Add warm water to serve a delicious, comforting meal
No wheat, corn, soy, GMO ingredients or artificial preservatives
First five ingredients: dehydrated turkey, organic oats, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, dehydrated carrots
With wet food one of the easiest for your girl to digest, we think Purina Beyond’s grain free formula is one of the best as a pregnancy dog food. And with this variety pack, you can keep her interested, even if her appetite is a little hit and miss. With either real beef, chicken or salmon fish meal as the number one ingredient, she will get the necessary protein to keep her energy levels fueled and topped with a rich gravy, her taste-buds will be satisfied. As well as protein, she will also get the essential omegas, vitamins and minerals to keep her healthy and strong, while supporting her fast-growing unborn puppies, up to whelping and beyond.
Calorie content: 320 kcal/cup
Minimum protein: 8%
Minimum fat: 3%
Maximum fiber: 1.5%
Maximum moisture: 82%
Delicious wet formula for satisfaction and easy digestion
Omega fatty acids plus essential vitamins and minerals
Variety pack – real beef, chicken or ocean whitefish is the #1 ingredient
Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ
Dietary Changes During Pregnancy in Dogs
A typical canine pregnancy lasts around nine weeks and for the first few weeks there’ll be no need to increase the amount your dog eats or make any drastic changes as overfeeding in the early stages can lead to obesity. A pregnant dog in the first half of their pregnancy will typically have the nutritional requirements of a young adult dog so ensure you’re feeding her a high-quality dog food that supplies a balanced diet.
It isn’t until around the 4th or 5th week of the pregnancy that you should start thinking about upping your pet’s calorie intake, by between 30% and 50% depending on how many puppies she’s having. Supplying her with more calories will help her to sustain her puppies’ development as well as her own nutritional needs. The later stages of the pregnancy can also make digesting a little harder, so a moisture and protein rich, highly digestible dog food is a good idea, fed over several smaller meals during the day.
Here are the main things to look for in dog food for pregnant dogs:
High-quality animal protein: Your pregnant girl needs support as she nurtures her unborn puppies, and protein is the natural muscle-building ingredient they all need. A quality animal protein is best as it contains all the essential amino acids she requires. The best dog food for pregnant dogs should contain no less than 29% protein, 30% or more is ideal.
Healthy fats: These are the next essential nutrient, but they must come from an animal source. Chicken fat or salmon oil are both ideal as they contain high levels of omega fatty acids, including DHA which supports brain development in growing pups.
Easy to digest formula: Carbohydrates are an excellent source of fiber, energy and essential nutrients your pregnant girl needs and so look for tasty whole grains that are easy to digest, or if your dog is sensitive, opt for a grain free formula.
Vitamins andminerals: Whatever dog food you choose, it needs to be balanced and supplies all the vitamins and minerals she needs to sustain a healthy pregnancy, including antioxidants and calcium, which will benefit both your dog and her growing pups.
Calories: Dogs in the later stages of their pregnancy will burn through much more energy than your average dog, and so need a higher calorie diet that supports the energy and growth needs of both her and her pups.
A: Managing your dog’s meals during her pregnancy will ensure she has enough food to keep herself healthy while supporting the growth of her babies. For the final half of her term, she will need between 30-50% more calories than normal, depending on the number of puppies she is producing. To help her eat in the later stages prior to whelping, her daily intake should spread over several small meals during the day to make feeding more palatable.
Q: Is a grain-free diet good for pregnant dogs?
A: A grain-free diet can be more digestible for a pregnant dog, especially in the latter stages where everything is getting a bit squashed and her digestion is put under pressure. And, if your dog is already more sensitive to grains then it makes sense to opt for a grain-free diet to make everything as easy as possible.
Q: What are the best food to help my dog produce more milk?
A: Your pregnant dog’s diet will play a key role in ensuring she’s ready with an adequate milk supply once her pups are born. Whichever dog food you choose, ensure it contains sufficient calcium (1-1.8%) and phosphorus (0.8-1.6%) to support her pups’ bone formation as well as her milk production.
Q: Why are puppy foods recommended for pregnant dogs?
A: Typically higher in calories, muscle-building protein and energy-sustaining fatty acids than adult food, puppy food can be a good choice for the pregnant dog-mom. As mothers pass on nutrients to their unborn pups, serving her puppy food can also support the healthy growth and development of her babies. However, it’s advised you gradually move your dog onto a quality high calorie puppy food and save it for the later stages of the pregnancy when her need for energy will be highest.
Our Top Pick
Packing a protein punch, Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie puppy dog food is a delicious dry formula that’s grain free. With added probiotics, it’s kind on your dog’s tum and has all the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your pet needs to sustain her energy as well as the development of her unborn pups. Ideal to use both during and after her pregnancy, this is a tasty nursing dog diet your fur baby will go wild for.