During the gestation and lactation periods, the nutritional and energetic needs of the female dog vary.
Dog pregnancy lasts an average of 2 months. In most cases we do not know the exact date of ovulation and fertilization, so we usually consider a range of dates (between 57 and 68 days) and, as with women, we divide the pregnancy into weeks. Therefore, the pregnancy would be, at most, 9 weeks, distinguishing between a first half and a second half (as far as the management of their diet is concerned).
During the first half of gestation, the needs of the female are the same as the ones for an adult in maintenance, so her diet does not have to change, as long as it is balanced and high-quality. But from such date on, the demands derived from the rapid development of the fetuses suppose a change in the mother’s requirements. That is when it is advised to change to more energetic and concentrated recipes, nutritionally speaking.
Some pieces of advice for this stage:
- Do not supplement with minerals and vitamins if you are providing quality commercial food.
- Provide maintenance recipes until the 5th week; from then on, provide recipes with more concentrated nutrients and energy (foods with proteins of high biological value, vitamins and bioavailable minerals, and quality fats, which provide omega 3 and omega 6).
- Dietary changes should always be gradual to avoid irritating the digestive system.
- Increase the number of daily doses as the delivery approaches (with the growth of the fetuses, the dog has less space in her abdomen, so she cannot eat large quantities).
- If the female has little appetite, provide freely available product, accessible throughout the day (sometimes anorexia may appear during the embryo implantation and the days before delivery).
- Ideally, a blood test should be done at the veterinarian to ensure that there are no nutritional imbalances (if this is not possible, her body condition, muscle mass, hair, feces, mood, etc. will be monitored).
- Remember that overfeeding or malnutrition increase the risk of miscarriages, complicated deliveries and death of newborns.
- Ensure the availability of quality fresh water, especially in the hours before delivery.
- After delivery, provide very palatable wet food, warm and, if possible, avoid heating it on the microwave (if you do not provide moist food, you can provide dry foods, but moistened with warm water).
After this first phase, the mothers will have to feed their puppies with breast milk. A correct feeding of the females before and during pregnancy will contribute to the quality of breastfeeding and, therefore, to the puppies growing healthy and strong. In any case, at this time it is essential to provide a food specific for lactating females, since it is easy to fall into nutritional imbalances, which would lead to serious problems for the dog’s health.
If you have questions about how to take care of your dog during breastfeeding, we recommend:
- Carry out a veterinary check to monitor blood calcium levels (from the 2nd week of lactation). Especially if you prepare homemade diets or offer food which is not specific for this stage.
- Remember that nutritional and energy needs increase during lactation, reaching a peak at 3-4 weeks, so it is not advisable to provide maintenance recipes.
- It is advisable to offer balanced and high-quality foods with concentrated energy and nutrients (freely available or 3-4 doses/day).
- Ensure the availability of fresh water all day long.
In Dingonatura we recommend Natura diet Starter for our future moms. In the dosage table you can see the amounts of food recommended both for newborn puppies and their pregnant and nursing mothers. However, sometimes, there are owners who consider using Dingo Puppy or Natura diet puppy, given certain specific needs, with very good results.
If you have any questions, contact us and we will discuss the best option together.