Feeding a bitch during pregnancy must be more substantial in order for the puppies to develop in a healthy and strong way.
Feeding a dog during pregnancy is a very important aspect for the animal’s health and the development of its puppies. For every age, size and situation there are specific feeds, useful for providing the animal with all the nutrients it needs.
Changes during gestation
During gestation, bitches must gain weight in a percentage between 15 and 25%, while, after giving birth and during the lactation phase, they should have a weight less than 5 or 10% compared to what they they had before gestation.
If the female is excessively thin, it could expose fetuses and puppies with poor immune defenses, those affected by malformations, etc. On the other hand, if she were obese, in addition to presenting these problems, dystocia could occur or, in other words, difficult parts.
Why should I change my dog’s diet during pregnancy?
During gestation, animals need specific nutrition, because their energy needs increase, as well as the variety and quantity of nutrients they need.
In bitches, pregnancy lasts about 63 days. The energy requirement during the first two thirds of gestation is similar to that of a non-pregnant adult bitch , because the fetuses begin to grow in size after 40 days.
During this time, the female will need an additional percentage of energy between 30 and 60%. Consequently, it will be necessary to offer her a particularly energetic and highly digestible feed, especially in the case of large breeds, in which the stomach capacity is considerably reduced due to the volume occupied by the pregnant uterus. Furthermore, it is good that the animal has free access to food throughout the day.
During this period, the need for proteins also increases , which should be between 22 and 32%, while fats should oscillate between 10 and 25%.
Furthermore, 20% of the energy should come from carbohydrates . Since glucose provides 50% of the energy required by fetal development and prevents the risk of peripartum hypoglycemia, it is recommended to increase the amount of carbohydrates or carbohydrates up to 23%.
They also increase the levels of trace elements, such as calcium and phosphorus , to promote calcification of the bones of the fetuses. The need for iron and zinc also increases.
As we can see, a change in diet during gestation is entirely justified; however, it is difficult to regulate all the nutrients on our own.
For this reason, there are special foods for pregnant bitches, which are more energetic than those reserved for a normal adult dog. In addition, many pregnant bitches are fed puppy food, which is very nutritious.
Amount of food for a dog during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the daily ration is destined to increase ; to correctly adjust the doses, the specific indications for each feed must be followed. By measuring and controlling the quantities, you will avoid problems such as obesity, which, as we have said, can cause problems in childbirth.
Each week, progressively increase the size of your dog’s ration so that, as he gains weight, he exceeds his normal feed ration.
Do not introduce the new food abruptly, so as to give his digestive system time to get used to it. Instead, mix small amounts of the new food with your usual one. In the space of about a week you should have been able to complete the replacement without any problems.
Water is also very important, not only during pregnancy, but at any stage of a dog’s age. The bitch must keep herself hydrated; consequently, he must always have abundant quantities of fresh, clean water available. You can also mix dry food with wet food.
Even during the lactation period we must take into account the feeding , to offer our pet the extra energy it needs to properly feed the litter and ensure that the puppies can grow strong and healthy.