By Robert Mueller
One of the most important duties an expectant mother has is to prepare for a successful pregnancy. The same holds true for our dogs.
The success of any breeding exercise will depend on what your bitch has been fed throughout her life. The pregnancy will be a draining experience and will draw on nutrients deposited in her body long before she became pregnant. Her past nutritional history has a dramatic impact on her ability to become pregnant, her ability to hold on to the pregnancy, the ability to produce a large, healthy litter with no birthing problems, and to be able to supply plenty of milk to support the growing litter.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, DVM, co-founder of BARF World and author of “Grow Your Pups With Bones” states in his book:
Pregnancy is a very demanding event. It is a dynamic state that produces many changes and much growth inside the mother’s body in a very short period of time. It is because of this that a mother’s nutritional needs will change dramatically.
If the bitch has been fed a nutritious raw diet throughout her life, then for the first two-thirds of the pregnancy she will have the basis for a solid pregnancy.
The last third of the pregnancy is the most important phase because this is when the pups do most of their growing. The requirements at this point will demand extra supplementation with more protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals (with the exception of calcium). If you see that your bitch has developed an increased demand for food, that is your signal that she is lacking those growth nutrients.
It is extremely important at this stage that you feed a diet that has been designed to allow growth to occur. Adjusting the amount to feed at the last third of the pregnancy will adequately allow for the growth spurt. Allowing the bitch to become fat from overfeeding will cause further complications with the birthing process. An underfed dog will have similar complications because of the reduced amount of milk production.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF Diets® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox,click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!