To have puppies is incredibly both exciting and exhausting for a pet owner. The greatest concern your pregnant dog needs is to meet its nutritional requirements. A healthy diet makes the duration of a dog's pregnancy and birth comfortable. 

Firstly you as a dog owner you should be aware of the signs of dog pregnancy.

Being a dog owner, you probably feel wonderful about these cute tiny puppies of your furry friend. But for the mother dog, it is going to be hard work to have babies inside the belly, giving birth, and taking care of the naughty litters.

What do you need to do to help your canine companion through her pregnancy?

It is very important to make sure that the food you provide to your dog contains all the required nutrients. Both mother and her puppies will get an adequate amount of energy with the use of a balanced diet.

We know that balanced nutrition is key to a healthy life for your canine friend.  Throughout your dog's life, you cannot keep the nutrition the same, because the nutritional needs of the pregnant dog vary from that of a lactating and non-pregnant one. Let’s take a look at some general feeding recommendations for pregnant dogs.

The energy needs of a pregnant dog differ from that of a non-pregnant adult dog

The 9 weeks of pregnancy will be a challenging time for a female dog. She faces enormous nutritional pressure. The energy requirements of your dog increases during pregnancy. In this regard, a complete and nutritious diet is of the utmost importance in keeping your pregnant dog in good health.

Veterinarians recommend dog owners feed their canines a high-energy diet during pregnancy that has adequate levels of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

You can only rely on premium-quality dog food made by some authentic manufacturers to feed your dog during pregnancy. These diets are incomparable to homemade diets fed to non-pregnant dogs. Since homemade diets don't provide the correct balance of nutrition and energy level required by a pregnant dog. In addition, these diets can work well for non-pregnant dogs only when they are supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Your dog needs a large volume of homemade diets if you start feeding them to your pregnant dog. 

The energy requirements of pregnant dogs usually increase as the animal gains weight with time. The food intake of the pregnant dog increases by 25% to 50% than normal till the pregnancy ends.

The food formulated for adult dogs is great for your usual diet but not effective during pregnancy. Especially if your dog is expecting a large litter, her energy needs become much higher than usual.

Factors that determine the energy needs of your dog:

  • The physical condition of your dog (obese or not)
  • And any other medical issue can influence the nutritional needs of your dog during pregnancy
  • Number of puppies (large litter or small litter)
  • Breed of dog (Giant dog breeds require more energy than small breeds)

Feeding a pregnant dog with puppy feed formula

If you are looking for the optimum feed for your dog during pregnancy, puppy food is second to none in this regard.

More energy and protein are the ultimate requirements for a pregnant dog, both are present in good quality puppy food. 

Feeding your pregnant dog with a formula for puppies will provide the nutritional support your dog needs during and after pregnancy.

Puppy food is highly rich in fundamental nutrients and provides more energy than food formulated for adults. In addition, it is easier to digest. It is important to keep following points in mind when feeding pregnant dogs with puppy food formula.

  • Feeding your dog with a formula for puppies from weeks 3-4 of pregnancy will help her stay strong, and pass essential nutrients to your puppies through mother's milk.
  • Puppy food is more nutritionally dense, so it can easily pass through the decreased stomach space of the mother.
  • Feeding puppy food to your dog is higher in energy, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals including calcium and phosphorus compared to adult food. All of these nutrients are important to support your dog during the latter stages of pregnancy and to help provide her puppies the nutrients they need to develop.
  • You should select a highly digestible puppy diet for your dog according to the size of the breed as small dog breed like Chihuahua will be fed on a small breed puppy diet. 
  • Once you have switched your dog's diet to puppy food, you should increase the amount gradually to make your dog habitual of this feed. Puppy food formula is increased in proportion to the weight of your dog. According to a thumb rule, 10% more energy is required for a pregnant dog every next week till birth.

Vitamin and mineral supplementation during pregnancy

If you are feeding your pregnant dog a complete diet, then you don't need to supplement any vitamins and minerals. The only exception to this would be if you are facing the following problems:

  • Lack of hunger
  • Laziness
  • Dull hair coat

Excessive use of supplements can be harmful to your furry friend. For example, over-supplementation of calcium can suppress many normal functions in its body. So always use the supplements for your pregnant dog after the veterinarian's recommendation.

Don’t ignore the diet regime of your dog before breeding

  • Many dog owners do not consider a healthy diet for their pets before they think of breeding them. 
  • Breeding should only be permitted in healthy dogs.
  • Make sure your pregnant dog always has easy access to plenty of fresh and clean drinking water to keep it hydrated, especially if he is fed on dry food formula.
  • Both obese and underweight dogs cannot carry their pregnancy well, leading to miscarriages.
  • Breeding dogs should be given a balanced diet as per the recommendation of the veterinarian. That will make the breeding cycle of a dog effective and a potential mom will be able to give healthy puppies.