Feeding a pregnant bitch

Raw food is the best possible food that mums-to-be can be fed.  Mums and mums-to-be need to be fed more than other adult dogs.  Apart from this there are no necessary changes to your dogs diet as long as they are having a varied complete diet.  The 80/10/10 rule is a good guide here as the offal content is really important to provide the necessary minerals and nutrients for strong healthy puppies.  Our Day to Day bundle is the perfect choice for this as it contains a wide variety of different proteins so mum gets all the nutrients she needs.

so what should I feed before pregancy…

Make sure that your dog is at her ideal weight – not too fat, not too thin. She should have lots of energy, bright eyes, healthy skin and shiny coat and well-developed muscles.  A balanced raw diet is perfect for optimising fertility and there is no need to add anything else.

okay she’s pregnant, so what do I feed in the early days…

If you feed vegetables,  it’s best to reduce the veg content (or increase the amount you feed to compensate) so your dog is receiving maximum nutritional benefit from every meal.  In the first two thirds of her pregnancy you do not need to do anything else as long as she remains happy and healthy and you are feeding a complete raw balanced diet.

what do I feed in the later days (weeks 6-8)…

You now need to start increasing the amount your dog is eating as this is the time that the puppies will do most of their growing.  Try and feed little and often to make it easier on your dog to digest and process the optimal amount of nutrients.  You want to be increasing the amount mum eats by around 8% each week in weeks 6-8.  Mum should never look fat, she needs the extra fuel to provide all the nutrients the growing pups require.  Towards the end of week 8 start reducing the amount of bone you are feeding, as this keeps your dog comfortable and greatly reduces the risk of Eclampsia.

what do I feed just before…

In week 9 slowly reduce the amount your dog eats.  Many dogs will do this naturally.  Continue to decrease the amount of bone you are feeding in this last week and if you feed vegetables slightly increase the amount you give to have a slight laxative effect.  A day or two before the birth mum may stop eating altogether- don’t worry it’s normal!

and what do I feed after arrival…

If mum is on a balanced raw complete diet she can eat as much as she likes whilst feeding her puppies.  As you begin to wean the puppies off their mums milk you then gradually reduce the amount of food you are feeding her. You want her body to realise it no longer needs to make milk so go back to feeding her normal amount of food pre-pregnacy.

what do I feed the puppies…

In the first weeks mum will be providing everything your puppies need.  Weaning is a gradual process that starts around 3-4 weeks and continues until weeks 7-8 depending on if mum still has enough milk.  As with humans, the longer puppies drink their mum’s milk the better for their development.

At around three weeks you can begin to offer pieces of chicken wing or neck for the pups to mouth and play with. They may not eat anything but they will become familiar with the taste and texture.

Solid food should be offered around week 4.  Start by just placing down a plate of minced green tripe and see what happens.  Some owners like to moisten the tripe with a little water or bone broth to make is slightly runnier.  Following on from this gradually mix in a different protein type, as with adults dogs, once established on that protein begin to introduce the next.  If any tummy upsets occur revert to plain tripe for a few meals.  After about six or seven weeks the puppies should be nearly weaned. They may still be drinking mum’s milk, but it won’t be their main source of nutrition. Incidentally, if there are foods you want your puppies to eat when they are adults, this is a good time to introduce them.  The more protein types they are introduced to whilst very young the less likelihood of allergies in the future.

For more info on feeding puppies, please read our step by step guide.

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