What should a pregnant dog be fed?

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An ideal diet for a pregnant dog is to feed her a high quality puppy food. Puppy foods are much higher in protein and nutrients—and your pregnant dog is going to need these, because undernourishment will have a devastating effect on both her and her babies.

At first she won’t have much of an appetite and may even be a little nauseous. At five weeks, though, her appetite will start to increase so you can gradually boost her portions by about 25 percent a week until the end of the pregnancy (about nine weeks.) Be careful not to add unnecessary pounds, because obesity and overweight can cause complications.

Foods high in easily digestible protein are what you need to look for. The main ingredient should be meat, and meat that you can easily recognize–such as chicken, beef, pork, fish or lamb. Avoid things like “ground animal meal.” You have no idea what that meat is, or how old it is or what it was ground with.

Avoid anything with ash or too many fillers or additives, and look for natural ingredients, with supplemental nutrition such as dried brewer’s yeast, vitamins and minerals. Dry food, or kibble, is best, although mixing it with wet food will make it a little more palatable.

Once your dog gives birth, she’ll be lactating for six weeks and your vet may recommend increasing calcium by adding a little bit of fat-free cottage cheese or other foods high in calcium to her every day food. Give her a supply of clean, filtered water every day.

Instead of feeding your dog highly processed commercial treats—that may also be high in sodium– keep her healthy by giving her all natural treats. Give her raw, cut up meat and possibly a few vegetables. Most dogs love carrots, apples broccoli, mangoes, honeydew melon and more.

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