Tag: Pregnant dogs

The needs of pregnant dogs!

As in the nutritional needs of those dear creatures.

Having said in yesterday’s post that this week would be a succession of repeat posts along comes an email from Susan Combs offering a guest post. It seemed a great post to share with you all.

She describes herself as:

Susan works as a Pet Health and Safety Expert and holds expertise in the area of animal/pet care. She has over 6 years of experience in pet healthcare and is a pet parent to a dog named Chilly.
Her post has also been published over on the MyPetZilla blogsite and the following is a copy of that version.

Jul 14, 2016

How to Meet the Nutritional Needs of Pregnant Dogs

As a pet owner you should remain educated about the nutritional requirements of your dog at the time of her pregnancy. A pregnant dog needs precise nutrition and if proper care is not taken then it can lead to serious health issues.

How long does a dog’s pregnancy last?

It lasts for 63 days. The first 3-4 weeks she can be fed a regular diet, however the last weeks are important from nutrition point of view and she requires more calories. During the first 3-4 weeks, it is recommended to feed her green trippet which is made from high quality green tripe. It contains lots of digestive enzymes and ensures good health. You can mix tippet to high-quality kibble and feed to your dog.

What should I change in my dog’s diet during the 2nd half of pregnancy?

During the 2nd half of pregnancy, dog should be fed around 30-40% more calories than what she was being fed in the first half of pregnancy. Your dog’s weight should increase by 15-25% at the time of whelping in order to maintain optimal body weight after parturition, as she needs to produce sufficient quantities of milk and colostrums to support growth in the newborn pups until they are weaned.

By week 8-9, the meal should be a third more than the regular meal. Total food quantity should be divided into four or more servings per day and dog foods with minimum levels of  430 kilocalories/cup should be provided in order to supply adequate quantities of calories. If the dog is experiencing weight issues then it is recommended to consult a vet immediately.

It is absolutely okay if your dog is eating too little in one go. You can break the meal into little portions to be fed entire day. Actually, in the advanced stages of pregnancy, the stomach cannot take large quantities of food in one intake so it is better to allow eating several portions of light meal throughout the day.

How to spot potential problems?

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea then that’s an indication that you are feeding her high volumes of food. If this is the case then shift to energy dense food, preferably dry dog food.

How much should I feed her prior to parturition?

Once the bitch is ready to give birth, you should slowly increase her calorie intake to around 15 to 25 percent. It should be noted here that most bitches refuse to eat food 12 hours prior to whelping. You should keep attention and provide her to drink water in order to prevent dehydration.

How to increase the calorie intake depending on the number of puppies?

For every puppy, your dog will require a 25% increase in her caloric intake, up to 180-200% maximum increase can be done in case she has around 10-12 puppies. Increasing more than 200% is not recommended. For example, a dog eating 2 cups of a high quality dog food each day before breeding will now need about 6 cups of food a day, in order to feed herself and provide for 8-10 puppies.

What preparation do I need to do for the puppies?

Yes, there is certain preparation that you need to as a dog owner prior to the birth of the puppies. You must prepare a room for the birth to occur. Ensure that the floor should be easy to clean and the area should be calm and soothing. You should also prepare a bed for the mother to deliver the babies. Have lots of towels and encourage the mother to sit on them so they become comfortable with them and opt to use them when on labor. This would make the birth easier for both you and the mother. Also as a responsible pet owner, it is your duty to get them insured.

When should I wean the puppies?

Puppies will begin to start eating food once they achieve 3-4 weeks of age. Henceforth, weaning should be completed at 6-7 weeks of age. After 6-7 weeks, you should start giving puppy food to them.

It is important to note here that the energy content level in dog’s milk increases all the time until around day 40. After this, the level of milk drops down and this is the time when you should start feeding the pups with light puppy food.

Is puppy food different than adult food?

Yes, puppy food is different than adult food. It is high in proteins and contains higher amounts of fat soluble and water soluble vitamins, minerals, fats, and other essentials. It also has a controlled amount of calcium and phosphorus that helps in the overall growth and health of the newly born puppies.

Should I exercise my pet regularly?

Obesity is potential danger in pregnant dogs when delivery time comes so exercising should be done regularly during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy but during the later stages, light walk is preferred.

Any other precaution that I need to take?

Treatment for internal and external parasites is necessary. It is better to consult the veterinarian if there is any problem related to external parasites. Another important point to note is that soon after whelping, your dog will actually need to eat twice as much as normal – and three times the normal level during the peak lactation period, which occurs three to four weeks after whelping.

When should I visit my vet?

Visiting a vet should be a regular practice. If possible, take your dog to the vet during each week of her pregnancy. This will ensure that all her nutritional requirements are met. Your vet should also guide you regarding any complications and after pregnancy care tips.
Pregnancy is an important part in the life of your dog and making her comfortable is your duty. You should take complete care of her nutritional and emotional needs so that the pups born are healthy. Apart from healthy and nutritious food, you need to ensure that your dog is getting plenty of clean, fresh water, enough exercise and fresh air.

Introducing the Shih Tzu

A guest post from Dr. Coleman.

From time to time I receive unsolicited emails asking if I would be interested in publishing posts from this or that particular person. They always strike me as suspicious and receive, in turn, a polite ‘no thank you’.

However, a few weeks ago, the following came in:

My name is Intan and I am a community team member at ShihTzu Web, a website dedicated to providing breed-specific information just for shih tzu owners. We share articles regularly about shih tzu grooming, training, and health.

We would love to help provide some free high-quality content for the shih tzu owners in your audience with a guest blog post. We have two specialist writers for our blog: veterinarian Jill Coleman, who writes about shih tzu health topics, and Sally Gutteridge, who writes about shih tzu grooming and training.

That website ShihTzu Web clearly sets out a part commercial proposition but after thinking about the offer, I decided to accept the guest post.

So here is that guest post, authored by Dr. Jill Coleman*:

Jill Coleman
Jill Coleman


What to Do If Your Dog Is Pregnant

First things first: were you planning on your dog getting pregnant? There are many convincing arguments that until the pet overpopulation problem is under control, there should be no planned canine pregnancies. This article is not going get into that debate (although the last sentence pretty much wraps up my opinion).

Let’s first assume you did NOT mean for your dog to get pregnant. Oops! You will hear about “morning after” shots and pills. None of these are recommended because they all seem to have side effects that are far worse than having a litter of puppies. We’re talking life threatening uterine infections and bone marrow suppression– nasty stuff, so this definitely does not keep your dog healthy. An option if you are planning on spaying your dog anyway, is to have her spayed. Waiting until she is out of heat is a good idea because the surgery is considered safer when they aren’t in heat because they lose less blood.

Now we’ll assume that you either did plan on your dog getting pregnant and/or you just need advice for a pregnant dog: what should you do? Not a lot, really. Dogs have been successfully reproducing with no human intervention for many years. A good quality diet is important. For the first half of their pregnancy a normal adult, high quality diet is fine. Switch to puppy food (sometimes referred to as “growth”) for the second half of the pregnancy and the entire time she is nursing the puppies. Do NOT supplement with any vitamins. Studies have shown that not only is this unnecessary, it is detrimental. Supplementing with calcium for example can make the bitch produce less of her own and thus interfere with her normal milk production.

Dogs are pregnant for approximately 63 days. At about day 55, it’s a good idea to start taking their temperature twice a day. Rectal thermometers are more accurate, but I have never met a dog that enjoys this process. There are many non-rectal thermometers available now that work perfectly for this because even if they read a little low, what you look for is a drop from their normal temperature. So go ahead and get one and establish what “normal” is for your dog well before she is due to whelp. Dog’s temperatures drop about 2 full degrees approximately 24 hours before they give birth. This is a fantastic way to tell when they are about to give birth. A dog’s normal resting rectal temperature is 101.5*F +/- about 1*.

Go ahead and prepare a whelping box that is comfortable and tucked away in a safe, preferably familiar area to the bitch. It is important for it to be quiet to allow her to relax. The less people running around and stressing out the better. You can actually cause your bitch to go out of labor by freaking her out.

As far as exercise, she doesn’t have to be a couch potato but avoid strenuous exercise especially late in her pregnancy. Walks are fine, but be sure she doesn’t overheat. Be careful approaching other dogs, even if she has been fine with them in the past. Most dog’s personalities don’t really change significantly but some will become more aggressive during their pregnancy. (Almost all will become protective of the puppies once they are born.)

Check your flea and tick medications to be sure they are safe. You will probably have to check with your veterinarian because most flea and tick medications are not labeled for use on pregnant or lactating females because they simply didn’t conduct studies on pregnant bitches. Your veterinarian should know which ones are safe if you are having flea and tick issues.

Last but not least and possibly most important is to go ahead and put emergency numbers where you can easily find them. You don’t want to be trying to find the emergency clinics number in the middle of the night if your furry child is having problems.



*Dr. Jill Coleman, DVM, is a small animal veterinarian with 20 years of clinical experience. She graduated from Furman University with a BA in English in 1991. She graduated with honors from The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. She loves small dogs like Shih Tzu and loves writing about them. She shares her experience about Shih Tzu at ShihTzu Web.

I will leave you with this delightful photograph …


… and the following few words from me.

Namely, that I have had no dealings with Shih Tzu Web or the organisation and people behind the website. Please don’t assume that the posting of this guest post offers any endorsement, or otherwise, of Shih Tzu Web. Any relevant feedback would be most welcome.