Puppies get all their nutrition from their moms, which means your lactating dog needs to eat for sometimes six or more. Her nutritional requirements are highest while shes nursing her pups, and her food intake must reflect that. This doesnt mean you must calculate each calorie exactly; a basic puppy food might do the trick.
Puppy food is ideal for most lactating dogs because its higher in fat, calories and nutrients such as calcium and vitamin C that your dog needs during this physically stressful time. She is going to pass nutrients from her food onto her puppies, so using a puppy food makes sure they get the right vitamins and minerals as well. Look for puppy foods that are highly digestible, which means your dog processes the calories more efficiently.
To find the best puppy food for your lactating dog, look for those that offer the right ratios of nutrients. Veterinarian Kathleen Hefner, writing for the American Kennel Club, recommends the food be 29 percent protein, 17 percent fat and 5 percent or less dietary fiber. In addition, the food should contain DHA to help the puppies brains and nervous systems develop correctly as well as extra calcium and phosphorous for their bone development.
Whichever food you pick, you must increase the amount of food you give your lactating dog. This is one time in your dogs life when you should consider keeping her food bowl full of dry food and letting her eat as much as she wants — and youre likely to be surprised by the sheer volume of food she can consume. According to Dr. Hefner, you should increase her food amount by 25 percent per puppy per day. For example, if she normally eats 2 cups of food each day and has four puppies, shell need 4 cups of food when lactating. Twenty-five percent of 2 cups is 1/2 cup, and 1/2 cup times four pups is 2 additional cups per day.
Check with your vet about the right food for you dog, and ask him about adding supplements. If your dog is already on puppy food, your vet might recommend adding a teaspoon of olive oil to the food to add some healthy fats and calories. He might also want to add calcium supplements to her diet or ask you to mix some cottage cheese with her food for additional calories and calcium.
Nulo Frontrunner Adult Dry Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Breed size:||All breeds|
|Food type:||Dry food|
|Special diet:||High-protein, low-glycemic, with grains|
Vets recommend this food because it is suitable for nursing dogs and contains a blend of complex carbohydrates like ancient grains, along with turkey and trout protein. The high fiber content helps to regulate digestion, while the antioxidants support overall health. The spelt in the formula also helps to improve skin and coat condition. This formula can provide sustained energy for nursing dogs and their puppies. The food also contains turkey and trout, which are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are beneficial for nursing dogs and puppies.
Additionally, the food is supplemented with probiotics to support a healthy digestive system. Proteins derived from animal sources provide amino acids that support lean muscle mass and a healthy heart in puppies. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids contribute to their healthy coat and skin. For additional reassurance, this product has been designed to meet the nutrient profiles established by AAFCO for dog food. Pros
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs
Dogs have a number of specific nutritional needs while nursing. One is that they need a diet that is high in protein to help them produce milk. They also need plenty of water, as nursing dogs can consume up to three times more than usual. Nursing dogs should be fed a high-quality diet to support their health and the health of their puppies.
My dog is pregnant and is getting ready to deliver her puppies. I have heard that nursing her puppies will be even more energy-intense than pregnancy. Is this true?
It is correct that during nursing (lactation), a dog needs the greatest amount of energy calories of any life stage. Optimal nutrition for a dog having puppies is essential to support:
The various stages of reproduction – heat (estrus), pregnancy, lactation (nursing), and weaning – provide unique stresses to the body. Each has specific nutritional concerns that should be addressed to maximize both mother and puppy health.
Dogs are pregnant for 63 days, plus or minus two days. The pregnancy is divided into trimesters, and a healthy, well-fed dog will gain about 15 to 20% beyond her weight at breeding.
Overfeeding can result in obesity at the end of pregnancy, increasing the risk for difficult or prolonged labor and extra stresses on the puppies. Meal feeding is the best way to control body condition and weight gain during pregnancy. A high-quality puppy formulation designed for high digestibility is generally recommended during the third trimester, and multiple small meals may be the best way to make sure the mother can eat enough calories and nutrients.
The mother’s energy requirements increase after delivery and during lactation. At her highest energy need, three to five weeks after whelping (giving birth), she may require 2-4 times the energy calories of a normal healthy adult. The mother’s energy requirement will decrease and return to normal by about eight weeks post-delivery, around the time the puppies are completely weaned. Once the puppies are born, the mother can increase her food intake, but the energy density of the food must be high enough or she will not be physically able to consume enough to sustain milk production, weight, and body condition. Periodic assessments of her body condition provide opportunities to fine-tune feedings. Just like the third trimester of pregnancy, feeding during lactation is best accomplished using a highly digestible, high-quality puppy formulation.
Free-choice feeding during the first three to four weeks of lactation, unless she only has one or two puppies, provides many advantages. The mother can eat on her own schedule, she can consume smaller amounts of food each time she eats, and the puppies can begin sampling solid food as soon as they are able (at about three weeks of age).
What should you feed a nursing dog?
- Feed a nutrient-dense diet such as puppy food.
- Without increasing the amount of food offered at a meal, increase the number of meals throughout the day.
- Free-choice feed her, offering unlimited access to dry food throughout the day.
What food is good for dogs after giving birth?
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