A dog’s pregnancy lasts for around 63 days. You might think she needs feeding up from the outset, but the puppies don’t gain much in size and weight during the first stages of gestation. 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 boost her and 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.
- Folic acid is recommended much for pregnant dogs as it is for humans.
- Calcium supplements support strong bones, which helps a dog to carry their litter with less strain on the skeleton and joints.
- Pregnancy supplements come in several forms (tablets, powder, chews) to suit all dogs.
- Supplements should always be taken alongside a healthy diet for maximum benefit.
- Dog owners should prioritize the mother's health to ensure the healthy growth of the litter in the womb.
- There are vitamins for nursing dogs, prenatal dogs, and pregnant dogs to suit their needs at the time.
A Quick Overview of Our Favorites
10 Top-Rated Supplements for Pregnant Dogs
- Product Type: Chewy pieces or meat treats
- Suitable For: Pregnant dogs and cats of all sizes, breeds, and types.
- Administration: From breeding to birthing, dogs up to 20lbs and cats: ½ per day; dogs 20-60lbs – 1 per day; dogs 60lbs+ – 2 per day
This product features the manufacturer’s own blend of vitamins, minerals, and herbs specially designed to address the unique requirements of both the expecting mother and her developing puppies. The supplement contains boosted levels of iron, zinc, and folic acid, which enhance red blood cell production and improve the flow of blood around the body. Herbal supplements such as raspberry leaf are also included, which help to improve uterine tone and assist in the birthing process.
Breeder’s Edge Oxy Mate Prenatal is suitable for use in pregnancy for both dogs and cats and offers the most complete combination of vitamins, minerals, and selected herbs to support the nutritional requirements of pregnant females and the developing pups.
Zinc, Folic Acid, Iron, Chelated Manganese, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin B12, Biotin
- Product Type: Chewable tablets
- Suitable For: All adult dogs aged 1 year+, pregnant and nursing females, dogs suffering or recovering from illness.
- Administration: Feed by weight, mixing with food or separately as a treat: ½ tablet daily for dogs under 10lbs; 1-2 tablets daily for dogs over 10lbs. For pregnant, nursing, sick and convalescing dogs under 10lbs: 1 tablet daily; over 10lbs: 2 tablets daily.
Suitable for adult dogs of any size over the age of one year, the Institute of Pet Nutrition’s VitaHealth Daily Vitamins offer a full complement of vitamins and minerals to support a healthy coat, skin, and claws. They are also formulated to strengthen immune and digestive systems, give a boost to energy levels, and promote good circulation which reduces pain, stiffness, and soreness in joints. As an added benefit, natural antimicrobials also help fight bacteria and the causes of bad breath.
They have been tested and found to be completely safe for use in pregnant and nursing female dogs, as well as those suffering from illness. VitaHealth Daily Vitamins come in a chewy form and are flavored to appeal to your dog as a treat, even if her appetite is not otherwise strong.
Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Mangeium, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, DL-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, Thaimine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Cobalt
- Product Type: Chewable tablets
- Suitable For: All adult dogs over 1 year of age, also for pregnant, nursing, sick and convalescent dogs.
- Administration: By weight; for dogs under 10lbs – ½ tablet daily, for dogs over 10lbs 0 1 to 2 tablets daily. For pregnant, nursing, sick or convalescing dogs, give twice the daily recommended dose.
NaturVet VitaPet Adult Daily Vitamins are recommended by veterinarians and have been scientifically formulated to provide a full spectrum of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for dogs over one year old. Their complete formula makes them ideally suited to supplement the diet of pregnant and nursing dogs who have greater nutritional requirements, as well as particularly active or working dogs.
The product provides effective support for a healthier coat, skin, and claws; a boost to energy levels; and improved digestion and immunity. The time-release formulation ensures a stow and steady release into the system, allowing improved absorption and greater benefit from the active ingredients included.
Linoleic Acid, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Choline, Biotin, Cobalt, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Glucosamine HCl, Menadione (Vitamin K).
- Product Type: Pump Dispenser
- Suitable For: Dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds, highly recommended for pregnant and lactating dogs, as well as those with food insensitivities, intolerances, and allergies. Also beneficial for cats.
- Administration: As with all supplements, introduce into the diet gradually. Feed by spraying lightly over food. Dosage is based on the dog’s weight, from ½ to 1 pump for dogs up to 12.5lbs to 7-8 pumps for dogs over 75lbs. Halve the smallest recommended dosage for puppies.
Containing 100% pure salmon oil from wild Alaskan Salmon, Grizzly’s All-Natural Dog Food Supplement for pregnant dogs is a hugely popular and natural fish oil supplement that brings a variety of benefits to all dogs, not least pregnant and nursing females. The high levels of antioxidants help boost your dog’s immune system, improve mobility and decrease pain and stiffness, especially in arthritic joints and promote a shining, healthy coat. It also supports a healthy heart and balances the functioning of the kidneys.
The liquid formula makes this product easy to administer to even the most cautious of dogs while allowing the body to absorb its goodness faster than in tablet form. However, the strong fishy odor may be off-putting to some canines.
Salmon Oil, Pollock Oil, Tocopherols (preservative)
- Product Type: Chewable tablets
- Suitable for: All ages, sizes, and breeds of dogs. Safe and recommended for pregnant and nursing dogs suffering from anxiety.
- Administration: Soft chews by body weight (up to 25lbs: 1 per day; 26-75lbs – 2 per day; &5lbs+ – 3 per day)
From time to time, all dogs may experience stress in unfamiliar situations; some dogs exhibit nervousness, hyperactivity, or aggression during thunderstorms, in crowded spaces, or when left alone (separation anxiety). It’s especially essential to keep your pet calm and stress-free throughout her pregnancy, both for her own health and that of her puppies.
Zesty Paws Calming Soft Chews work to relieve the symptoms of anxiety through the administration of natural, organic ingredients including Suntheanine®, a pure form of L-Theanine, which promotes relaxation. The formula is non-drowsy and turkey-flavored, tasty enough to tempt any dog.
Organic Hemp Powder, Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Organic Chamomile, Valerian Root, Organic Passion Flower, Suntheanine® (L-Theanine), Organic Ginger Root, L-Tryptophan, Magnesium Citrate, Hemp Extract, Palm Fruit Oil, Peanut Flour, Pea Flour, Sweet Potato, Flaxseed Meal, Natural Peanut Butter Flavoring, Sunflower Lecithin, Coconut Glycerin, Rosemary Extract, Mixed Tocopherols, Sorbic Acid (Natural Preservative).
- Product Type: Gel
- Suitable for: Puppies, pregnant female dogs
- Administration: Smear a small amount of gel on the nose or mouth to accustom the puppy to its flavor. Subsequent dosage is ¼ – ⅓ teaspoon per pound of body weight daily.
Tomlyn NutriCal Puppy Dietary Supplement is ideal for pups that are ill, off their food, or fussy eaters. The product is rich in calories at 28kcal per teaspoon and is designed to supplement the diet while stimulating the appetite. It’s intended for short-term use only but can help give a boost to puppies suffering from stress and separation anxiety (if removed prematurely from the nursing mother) or sickness. It’s also recommended for pregnant dogs to address the growing calorific requirement as their pups develop.
It comes in a gel form rather than the more usual chewy treat or tablet, making it easy to administer to even the smallest puppy. Specially formulated by veterinarians, this dietary supplement is tasty as well as is high in the nutrition your pups need for their energy requirements.
Corn Syrup, Soybean Oil, Malt Syrup, Cod Liver Oil, Cane Molasses, Methylcellulose, Water, Gelatin By-Products, Dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Manganese Sulfate, Ferric Ammonium Citrate, Thiamine Hci, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate (Source of Calcium and Pantothenic Acid), Magnesium Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hci, Potassium Iodine (Source of Iodine and Potassium), Riboflavin 5′-Phosphate Sodium (Source of Vitamin B2 and Phosphorus), Vitamin A Palmitate and D Supplement, Folic Acid and Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12). Also a Source of Linoleic, Linolenic, Eicosapentanoic Acid, Docosahexanoic Acid and Omega-6 & Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
- Product Type: Chewable Tablets
- Suitable for: All ages, sizes, and breeds of dogs, especially recommended for pregnant dogs, active puppies, aging dogs, or working dogs.
- Administration: As a treat just before feeding or can be broken up and sprinkled over food. For dogs under 10lbs, ½ tablet daily, for dogs over 10lbs, 1 tablet daily.
Pet MD Canine Tabs Plus is a natural, one-a-day supplement for pregnant dogs, rich in vitamins and minerals which increase energy levels and promote health in dogs. Ideal for pregnant and nursing dogs that need a nutritional boost, these tablets also contain levels of protein from a high-quality source (liver powder) in order to support healthy skin and coat; and to promote and rebuild tissues and muscles. They’re easy for your pet to digest and the tasty flavor makes feeding them these tablets a breeze.
Produced in regulated manufacturing facilities in the US in small batches to maintain freshness and quality, they’ve also been tested as safe from harmful microbiological pathogens such as E-Coli, Salmonella, Yeast, Staphlococcus Aureus, and Coliforms.
Dicalcium Phosphate, Cellulose, Molasses (Sucrose), Liver Powder, Ascorbic Acid, Stearic Acid, Choline Bitartrate, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Natural Flavor, Safflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Ferrous Fumarate, Potassium Iodide, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Acetate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, D-Biotin, Folic Acid.
- Product Type: Chewable Treats
- Suitable for: dogs of any age, breed, or size
- Administration: By weight, 1 soft chew per day for dogs 0-25lbs; 2 per day for dogs 26-75lbs; 3 per day for dogs 76lbs+.
Cranberry Bladder Bites from Zesty Paws are designed to assist with urinary tract problems in dogs. Organic Marshmallow Root and Astralagus are the ingredients that can help flush any build-up of toxins from the bladder and kidneys. Cran-Max Cranberry Concentrate is also added to provide antioxidants that balance urinary pH levels to support proper function of the bladder (preventing urinary tract infections), aid digestion, and boost the immune system.
The product also contains Vitamin C antioxidants, which help promote healthy skin and a stronger immune system. The supplement is suitable for longer-term and daily use and is entirely free from corn, wheat, artificial colors, or preservatives, so even the most sensitive or intolerant digestions can benefit.
Cran-Max, Organic Marshmallow Root, D-Mannose, Organic Astragalus, Organic Licorice, Nettle Seed.
- Product Type: Chews
- Suitable for: All ages, sizes, and breeds with emphasis on the support of healthy skin and coat.
- Administration: 1/2 chew daily for dogs under 30 lbs, 1 chew daily for dogs weighing 30-60 lbs, 2 chews daily for dogs over 60 lbs.
Multivitamins are essential for the daily maintenance of your dog, especially for females likely to be bred. By keeping up your dog’s overall health, you can ensure that they are fit and in peak condition when the time comes for them to breed. The best supplements for pregnant dogs don’t only ensure the health of the fetuses, but the health of the mother as she carries her puppies to term.
The use of calcium in this recipe with help to strengthen her bones – something that a female dog very much needs in high-quality prenatal supplements to encourage a healthy pregnancy and support her body when she is carrying the weight of a litter. The phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and magnesium are all ideal ingredients to bolster the immune systems and cognitive development of the puppies as they form.
10 mg Calcium, 112 mg Phosphorus, 56 mg Potassium, 10 mg Magnesium, 5 mg Iron, 3 mg Copper, 0.3 mg Manganese, 1 mg Zinc, 3 mg Iodine, 0.05 mg Vitamin A, 1000 IU Vitamin D3, 100 IU Vitamin E, 15 IU Thiamine (Vitamin B1), 0.2 mg Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), 1 mg Pantothenic Acid, 4 mg Niacin, 5 mg Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), 0.4 mg Folic Acid, 0.08 mg Vitamin B12, 0.008 mg*Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
- Product Type: Chewable tablets
- Suitable For: Pregnant pets, aging dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.
- Administration: As a treat or can be sprinkled over food. Dosage is by weight: ½ tablet daily for pets up to 10lbs; 1 tablet for pets between 10 and 50lbs; 2 tablets for animals over 50lbs.
This multivitamin from Makondo is perfectly balanced to meet the needs of aging or otherwise vulnerable dogs, notably those who are pregnant or nursing, and puppies. The formula is also suitable for cats, making it ideal for households with multiple pets! This daily vitamin supplement also includes multi-minerals with Amino Acids along with natural components, all designed to complement and enhance the general health and wellbeing of pets, as well as improve energy levels and strengthen the immune system.
The product also enhances appetite, perfect for pregnant females who need to consume a regular daily diet to maintain the development and growth of healthy puppies. Altogether, this multivitamin offers top-level support for muscles, joints, and bones, eyesight, skin and coat, the reproductive and hormone production systems, the brain, heart, and metabolism. The flavorsome beef liver taste will appeal to all small domestic animals.
Multivitamin: Vitamins A, C, D3, E, B Complex ( B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 ); Multimineral: Calcium, Chloride, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Sodium, Zinc; Amino Acids: Lysine, Methionine, Threonine, Cysteine
Best Supplements for Pregnant Dogs: Buying Guide & FAQs
Supplements such as those above can perfectly complement a diet of high-quality dog food in pregnant and nursing females, as well as assist 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 their bodies. 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 needs. 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.
Check out our article on dog food for pregnant dogs and learn what to feed your pup.
Benefits of Supplements in Dog Pregnancy
Supplement fill the gaps in your pregnant dog’s nutritional requirements to help keep them at peak health until the litter arrives. Depending on the supplements you go with, there are various benefits your dog could receive from having them added to their diet, such as:
- Better milk production
- Stronger bones and joints
- A healthier coat to reduce the risk of itching and discomfort
- Better cognitive function
- Stronger muscles
- Stronger, healthier puppies
- Healthy development of the neural tube
- Bolstered nervous system
- Better overall puppy development
What Supplements Should I Be Giving My Pregnant Dog?
There are quite a few vitamins and minerals a pregnant dog should receive in order for them to receive all of the benefits listed above. Each vitamin and mineral provides different health benefits that will assist various areas of development. The ideal supplements you should look to give your pregnant dog include:
The importance of Folic Acid at the beginning of the pregnancy cannot be overstated. Folic acid can help the puppies to avoid severe birth defects that typically form at the beginning of their development. The defects include Spina Bifida and neural tube defects that could lead to complications later in the pregnancy.
Essential fatty acids
If you want your mama dog to remain comfortable throughout her pregnancy, you should first look at her skin and coat. A bad diet can result in unhealthy skin, which can, in turn, cause them to have a coarse and brittle coat, resulting in excessive itching and discomfort. Omega fatty acids also help with the development of the fetus’ brain and retina, improving cognitive function and vision.
Magnesium is highly recommended during pregnancy as it provided key support for several systems in your dog’s body, including the immune system, nervous system, cognitive function, blood pressure regulation, and muscle function. Magnesium is also important for proper fetal development with particular emphasis on the development of their bones.
Vitamin D is an all-around helpful vitamin for your dog to consume throughout its pregnancy. It can help with bone growth, fetal growth, enamel formation, and calcium balance.
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, grapes, and raisins
- Sugar, salt
- Raw eggs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Immediately. Once you know that your dog is pregnant, they should start on their new supplements straight away. The sooner they start on the supplements the sooner the vitamins and minerals can begin to soak into her system and she can start to feel the benefit of them.
Yes. Though we would always suggest contacting your vet for advice before using supplements. As we have listed above, there is a great range of over-the-counter supplements available for pregnant dogs. If your bitch has particularly special requirements there is a chance you may need to have prescription supplements for her. But generally speaking, over-the-counter supplements will do just fine.
Yes. Folic acid supports protein absorption, strengthens the nervous system, and helps the body to create red blood cells more easily. These are all essential components during pregnancy, and so pregnant dogs benefit greatly from taking folic acid.
Yes. Fish oil provides your dog with omega-fatty acids that can help to maintain a healthy coat and healthy joints. It is recommended that pregnant dogs be given a measured amount of fish oil with their meals for them to receive these benefits.