So you’ve had puppies. How wonderful. We had puppies Christmas night. What a Christmas surprise! Nursing a litter of pups can really take a lot out of a mother dog. If certain steps aren’t taken the mother dog will begin to lose weight, and may become sick.
It is normal for a mother dog to thin out in the days after giving birth. She’ll lose her pregnancy weight and bulk. A mother dog will return to her pre-pregnancy weight and size within a week after the pups are born.
Nursing a littler of puppies isn’t easy on a mother dog. It can be uncomfortable, for one thing. It can also suck all of the nutrition right out of her. Lactating dogs are like lactating people. Additional nutrition must be consumed in order for the body to produce the milk and stay healthy.
Pregnant dogs get fed more per serving and more servings per day because they are eating for both themselves and their pups. After birth many people think that the mother dog no longer needs the additional amounts and servings of food because the pups have been born. This is not true! A lactating dog should be fed just as a pregnant dog. She still needs to supply nutrition to the pups after they’re born via nursing.
A lactating dogs body will automatically take the nutrition it receives and use it to create milk. Nursing pups eat several times per day so a lactating dogs body is continuously trying to produce that milk. If the mother dog is no receiving enough nutrition her health will fail. She will begin to lose weight.
If a lactating dog loses too much weight she will become ill. The milk supply will suffer and the health of her pups will decline as they are no longer receiving enough nutrition either. To prevent this a lactating dog must be well cared for.
Lactating dogs should be fad a higher quality of food. Serve her three to four cups four times per day of a dry food, and at least one can of a nutritious canned food. The two can be mixed together, mixing a little of the canned food with each serving of the dry food that is given. Dry food can also be served with water added. This softens the food a bit and creates a gravy effect that dogs just love. It also helps to supply fluids.
Fresh water should always be available to all dogs, especially to lactating ones. A lactating dog is constantly losing fluids through both milk production and nursing. She’ll be both needing and wanting to drink more water than if she were not lactating. This will help to keep her healthy.
Making sure that lactating dogs are both eating enough and getting enough fluids each day is the way to keep weight on them. When a lactating dog is becoming thin and her ribs are showing it is a sign that she is not receiving enough nutrition. It is not always easy to keep weight on a lactating dog. Switching to a higher quality of dog food helps by proving more nutrition per meal. The cheaper brands of dog food may just not be complete enough to keep weight on her even with extra feedings.
If your lactating dog has become thin follow the above suggestions. Also consider a supplement for her. A supplement formula gets mixed with water and looks much like a milk, or baby formula. It contains crude fats and other nutrients that are especially designed for lactating dogs. If you still cannot get weight on her after switching dog foods, increasing amounts, and using a supplement a trip to the vet may be what is needed. Thanks for reading and take care!