Congratulations! Your pup is pregnant, and soon you and she will welcoming her puppies into your home. We all want to do the best for our pets, so this article looks at her specialist needs during pregnancy.
A dog’s pregnancy lasts for around 63 days. You might think she needs feeding up from the outset, but during the first stages of gestation, the puppies don’t gain much in terms of size and weight. So from mating to about day 35, the ideal goal is to maintain your dog’s regular weight. It’s not considered healthy for her to pile on the pounds at this stage. However, throughout the whole period from mating to giving birth and subsequent nursing, good nutrition is of the utmost importance to support her changing body and the health of her pups.
Many owners therefore choose to supplement their pregnant dog’s diet with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to give her a boost and to add specific benefits, both in terms of handling her increased metabolism during this special time and for the puppies’ health and wellbeing. Here, we offer a round-up of the best and most popular on the market.
Best Supplements For Pregnant Dogs Buying Guide
Supplements such as those above can perfectly complement a diet of high quality dog food in pregnant and nursing females, as well as assisting in addressing specific requirements such as a loss of appetite or an existing medical condition. Which you choose to give your dog will very much depend on her own individual needs. It’s always worth seeking your veterinarian’s advice when you first find out your dog is expecting, and of course at regular intervals throughout the pregnancy, especially if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Below, we answer some of the more frequently asked questions about dogs in pregnancy.
What Are The Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy in Dogs?
As noted, female dogs do not really gain much weight in the first half of their pregnancies, so this may not provide the visual clue you need! However, if you’re aware your dog has mated and are alert to possible signs, you may notice some or all of the following:
- Behavioral changes, such as increased territorialism, ‘nesting’, lethargy and above average sleepiness;
- A larger appetite than usual;
- Enlarged nipples and/ or a firm abdomen;
- Clear discharge from the vagina and/ or more frequent urination.
Like humans, some dogs also suffer from morning sickness, which is caused by the changes in the hormones and hormone levels in her body. Unlike many humans, though, this morning sickness doesn’t last long – only a few days! Look for it around the third or fourth week, when she may vomit, act tired and listless and lose her appetite for a day or two. If this persists for longer than a week, though, it’s important to seek your vet’s advice.
Does My Pregnant Dog Need Supplements?
Unsurprisingly, a pregnancy places increased demands on a dog’s nutritional requirements. Many of these can be ordinarily addressed through feeding her the usual high quality food, but especially from around day 35, her calorific intake and weight gain will increase.
Towards the end of your pet’s pregnancy, the puppies will have grown to such an extent that she will have little space left in her abdomen to take in her usual quantities of food. It’s advisable to feed her little and often during this late stage, so she can consume sufficient to keep her going without becoming uncomfortable. While she’s nursing her pups after the birth, huge demands are placed on the body by lactation.
Many owners therefore choose to fortify pregnant dogs’ diets with supplements to address these increased needs. And of course, young puppies, older dogs and any canines with pre-existing medical conditions will also benefit from the boost offered by such formulas.
What Should I Avoid Feeding My Pregnant Dog?
While there are no specific foods that should be avoided by pregnant dogs, there are some forbidden foods that should never be given to canines. These include:
- Caffeine, coffee and chocolate;
- Chives, garlic and onions;
- Macadamia nuts; peaches, plums and apricots; rapes and raisins;
- Sugar; salt
- Raw eggs;
- How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?, American Kennel Club
- Signs Your Dog Is Pregnant, WebMD
- 5 FAQs about feeding your pregnant or lactating bitch, MedicAnimal
- People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets, ASPCA