In the 6th and 7th week, the mother dog should transition from her usual diet to something more suited to her late gestation and post-whelping nutritional requirements. A diet high in energy with certain vitamins and minerals including calcium and phosphorus is preferable. The diet needs at least 32% protein and a minimum of 20% fat content for postpartum recovery and lactation. During this time, try to notice the expectant mama’s eating habits and increase the frequency of her meals instead of the portion of her meals. Increase the fat content of her diet, preferably from red meat instead of white, and reduce bone content.
When the 8th and 9th week takes place, the diet consumed should be 50% more than the pre-pregnancy diet with no bone content. During this time, her appetite may slip or disappear. This is often a sign that the mother is going to start whelping very soon, which is the act of giving birth in canines.
A mother dog will put on weight during the final stages of pregnancy, it’s crucial she doesn’t become too overweight since it could lead to problems during birth. As she prepares herself for whelping, you will want to transition your dog to a lactation diet. Since the puppies develop quickly, they need a lot of nutrients from the mother. As puppy foetuses get bigger, eating can be uncomfortable for the mother.
A lactating diet should consist of ingredients with high protein, fat, and soluble carbohydrates, low fibre content with calcium and phosphorus for proper bone formation in the puppies, and adequate milk for nursing.
You can include chicken and chicken fats for muscle growth, maybe include red raspberry leaves and milk thistle to improve lactation and recovery, fibre-rich vegetables and fruits like papaya, pumpkin, and sweet potato for a stronger digestive system besides prebiotics for beneficial gut bacteria.
If you’re feeding a mother dog dry food, make sure it’s safe for starter pups to consume as well. Usually, dry food for starter pups is rehydrated with water before serving. Read the label instructions carefully and consult a vet for the right amount to feed. It’s best to give the pups what their mother was fed during pregnancy as they will already be accustomed to that food.