Prenatal Care For Dogs
Similar to humans, proper prenatal care for dogs helps improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Caring for a pregnant dog includes prenatal checkups and making sure she receives proper nutrition. Prenatal checkups are important to ensure your momma dog is healthy and help set her up for a successful pregnancy, while proper nutrition helps meet your pregnant dog’s increased nutritional needs.
Regular veterinary checkups throughout your dog’s pregnancy are important for helping ensure a healthy pregnancy and puppies. If you think that your dog is pregnant, it’s best to consult your vet right away. Your vet can use diagnostic testing (ultrasound, blood test, x-ray, or palpation) to confirm the pregnancy and check for possible complications. You can also rely on your vet to give you advice about your dog’s diet, what changes you should expect, and how to prepare for whelping.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Good nutrition plays an important role in ensuring a healthy mom and puppies. The AKC points out that malnourishment of the mom before breeding and during pregnancy is a major factor in neonatal puppy mortality. A pregnant dog draws upon nutritional reserves within her body. If the mom is malnourished, she won’t have sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals, and energy to support pregnancy.
A High-Quality Diet
You should feed your momma dog a high-quality, well-balanced diet that is highly digestible to help ensure more efficient nutrient absorption. The AKC recommends feeding a diet that contains at least 29% protein and 17% fat. The increase in fat will help supply more energy to the mom, and the protein will help nourish the healthy development of the puppies.
If your dog is healthy and receiving a good quality diet, you won’t need to significantly increase the amount of dog food she is eating during the first 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy, unless your veterinarian advises you otherwise.
As fetal growth rapidly increases during the last few weeks of dog pregnancy (around day 40 of gestation), the mom’s diet should be gradually increased, until she is consuming 15 to 25% more than usual. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals can help meet nutritional needs and ensure adequate weight gain during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Essential Nutrients for Pregnant Dogs
Pregnant dogs have elevated nutritional requirements and energy needs, which is why prenatal vitamins for dogs are so important. A supplement can help cover nutritional gaps in your dog’s diet and help support the needs of developing puppies. Here are a few important nutrients for pregnant dogs:
- Folic Acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps aid in the metabolism of amino acids. It also helps support healthy fetal development
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain development during pregnancy. It is also linked to the development and function of central nervous tissue and vision
- Iron aids in red blood cell production and helps prevent anemia
- Vitamin B12 plays an important role in normal cell division, plus it’s essential for the development of the central nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency in humans is often associated with birth defects
- Iodine helps with the fetal development of the brain and nervous system
- Zinc is needed for cell division, tissue growth, and normal fetal development
Bitch Pills: A Prenatal Supplement for Dogs
Thomas Labs® finds and develops the best healthcare solutions for pets, including solutions for breeding, pregnancy, whelping, and lactation. We understand that proper nutrition is crucial during pregnancy to help ensure a healthy mom and puppies.
That’s why we developed Thomas Pet’s Bitch Pills, an all-in-one prenatal supplement for dogs that supports the female dogs prior to breeding and throughout pregnancy, nursing, and weaning. With the help of essential vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, this prenatal for dogs helps support a healthy pregnancy and newborn development.
Prenatal care for dogs may seem overwhelming at first, but focusing on proper nutrition and prenatal checkups are great first steps!
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.