Feeding of Pregnant Bitches

 

dog

We all love our dogs, don’t we? They have always been a great companion and friend for the mankind. Several breeds of dogs having great variation in mature body weights (Chihuahua 1 kg to St. Bernard 100 kg) are kept as companion animals nowadays. Different breeds of dogs have adapted to live in variety of habitats depending on their native place of origin.

Not all of us are well verse with proper diet regimens of our pets; dogs in this case. And this confusion is even more when we have a pregnant female (bitch) in our house. Let us try and work out this problem for you.

There is lot of variation in the mature body weights of dogs; therefore, it becomes very tough to prescribe a single diet regime for all kinds of dogs. To simplify things for you, nutrient requirements of dogs can be broadly classified into two categories depending upon their life stages:-

  1. Adult maintenance
  2. Growth and reproduction

Remember following important points about breeding and nutrition of your bitch:

  • The female should be at least one year of age and in at least second heat before she is bred regardless of the breed of dog.
  • Normal gestation period of bitches in 8-9 weeks long.
  • The nutrient requirements of the female during first 6-7 weeks of pregnancy are not higher than the adult dogs at maintenance. But requirements for all nutrients will increase around 1.5-1.6 times the maintenance requirements during the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Pregnant female will eat more during the last three weeks of pregnancy and feed should be offered several times a day instead of one big diet.
  • The pregnant female may lose her appetite as whelping/parturition approaches and this is quite normal behavior.
  • In many cases, feed refusal during the 9th week is an indication that that whelping/parturition can occur within next 24-48 hours.
  • Normal appetite will return within 24 hours after whelping/parturition.
  • Fresh water in a clean utensil should be available at all the times. Changing water frequently and keeping utensils clean also encourages water intake.

Remember all these points if you have a pregnant female (bitch) at home, for there is nothing more beautiful than a healthy pup; is there? Poets may differ!


DR RAMANDEEP CHANDEL