Helping mum provide the nutrients her pups need, whilst ensuring she keeps her own condition is a challenge faced by every owner during pregnancy and whelping. Here are our top tips:
1. Offer quality food
Feeding a premium quality, trusted and highly rated diet will help to ensure that mum has the best of opportunities to maintain her health and work hard to provide all the extra nutrition her puppies need from her. Our 30 years of experience in feeding mums and pups has helped us make the finest recipes and provide the best personal support to help the proud mum and new offspring be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
Trophy customer, Meg, and puppies (a few days old)
2. When to 'feed-up'
Once pregnancy is confirmed, monitor mum’s weight, aiming to maintain her healthy weight on one of our nutritionally balanced recipes. As only 2% of the total foetal mass is developed at 35 days and 5.5% at 40 days, mum does not require an excess of calories at this stage.
Initially, feed mum the same amount of her normal food (assuming that you have chosen a highly nutritious dog feed). A small increase in protein content is a good option especially if you had previously been feeding a low protein diet. She can continue on the balanced diet that had been maintaining her weight, especially if she is in good health and is maintaining a normal, good bodyweight.
3. Should mum be fed puppy food?
As the pregnancy progresses, choose to add one of the two tried and tested Trophy puppy foods. Then slowly remove the adult feed so she is just on puppy food. Larger breeds would start to be fed free-choice from week 5. Smaller breeds would be fed meals as normal and their own body weights regularly assessed. The puppy food can be introduced alongside the previous diet, but still check the mum’s weight as it would be wrong to overfeed at this time and to produce overweight puppies.
Both Trophy puppy food recipes are highly nutritious, easily digestible, and will provide her with the additional calories that she may require in order to maintain her weight. Although a pregnant mother does start to require an increase in calories at week 5 of gestation, it is during lactation that the significant increase occurs. Therefore, it is after the birth, and whilst the puppies are nursing, that energy requirements increase significantly, and hence she requires the opportunity to access more nutritionally relevant food
4. Help! Mum’s not eating…
Just before giving birth it is normal for mum to lose her appetite. This can be perfectly normal and is often because the size of the litter is becoming uncomfortable. Smaller meals, more often, is an option at this time. This is why a smaller amount of higher protein feed is suitable.
Once she has given birth, she might be reluctant to leave her puppies to start with; encourage her to eat and drink regularly, even if you have to take food and water to her. This is the time she will require feeding to her own appetite. Milk production is the time when the most calories are required and when the consumption of water is increased too.
Dinner time! Rio and puppies at 2 weeks old
Contented, sleepy puppies! Rio’s litter at 3 weeks old
5. Is mum eating too much now?
Mum’s appetite will increase whilst she’s feeding her puppies, dramatically so depending on size of the litter! Provide her with as much as she wants to eat, offering frequent meals throughout the day, and ensure fresh drinking water is always available.
Mum may remain on puppy food whilst she’s feeding her puppies, giving her the extra protein she and her puppies require. Introduce mum to her usual food once the puppies are 8 weeks old or have gone to their new homes. Feeding mum the food that her puppies will be weaned on will also help the weaning process for the puppies.
6. Great, but what about the puppies?
Look out for our next Blog in this series, coming soon. If you can’t wait that long, download our Puppy Feeding Guide via: https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/puppy-food-range/. And, don’t forget that our independently qualified nutritional advisers pride themselves on delivering you and your pets the highest standard of service, reliable advice and some of the best pet foods on the market. Find your local adviser, or order some free samples, via our website: www.trophypetfoods.co.uk.