Feeding Requirements of a Dog During Pregnancy

The best dog breeders know that female dogs must be provided with optimal nutrition during gestation. This is because whatever the dam is fed, the litter ingests. Canine owners should be knowledgeable about the feeding requirements of a bitch during every stage of her pregnancy so that she does not experience any complications, such as difficulty in giving birth. In addition to proper nutrition, dog owners should consider using the best dog GPS tracker to ensure their pet’s safety and well-being. 

If you think your dog is expecting puppies, you should know the dog pregnancy week by week breakdown. There are also the following feeding recommendations to take into account:

Weeks One to Six

A female dog is typically pregnant for about nine weeks, divided into trimesters. During the first six weeks, it is recommended that her food intake stays essentially the same so she does not lose or gain a lot of weight. This is because her embryos are still slowly developing. If a bitch is underfed, she may lose an embryo, experience a stillbirth, or deliver puppies with low birth weights. Similarly, if she is overfed, she may have a long and hard time giving birth.

As a canine owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you control your dam’s weight by monitoring her body condition regularly and sticking to the general recommended feeding guide for pregnant dogs. Additionally, give your bitch a complete, balanced, and high-quality diet every time. If you are uncertain about what to feed your canine, you can always consult with your veterinarian.

Sometimes, you may see irregularities in your female dog’s appetite. This is a normal thing that should not cause you any alarm, as she is simply experiencing hormonal changes. However, if she seems to be losing or gaining weight quickly, it is recommended that you have your canine examined by your vet.

During your bitch’s fifth to sixth week of gestation, she will start getting hungrier than ever. It is advised that you increase the number of times you feed her in a day so that she gets to meet her energy and nutritional needs. However, this doesn’t mean that her food portions should be increased as well. The general feeding guide for pregnant dogs recommends that a dam’s food portions should be slightly decreased because her stomach capacity will have shrunk by this time due to her growing foetuses.

Weeks Six to Eight

At six weeks of pregnancy, you can start increasing the fat content in your canine’s diet. Give her more human-grade red meats than white meats as she will need an energy boost especially if she is expecting a large litter. You can also switch your dam to puppy food to make sure she has all the calories and nutrients needed to grow her puppies. Do not worry if she starts gaining weight during this time.

It is recommended that you gradually feed your canine 25 per cent more food than usual between weeks six and seven. This way, she will already be eating half more of what she used to consume before gestation by the eighth week.

The best dog breeders are aware that on the dam’s eighth week of gestation, she is already exhausted and should no longer participate in any tiring activities. Otherwise, she might experience premature birth. Furthermore, reputable sellers know that this is the time when they should start preparing a place for their bitch to whelp.

woman with pregnant dog
Feeding Requirements of a Dog During Pregnancy 2

Week Nine

On the final week of a dam’s pregnancy, it is expected for her to want to eat less. Do not fret if your female dog’s appetite disappears, as this may be a sign that she is about to give birth in a day or so. It is suggested that you gradually decrease her food intake and increase the number of cooked vegetables she takes in. This way, she can easily empty her bowels in preparation for giving birth. If you are a first-time breeder or pet owner and worried about your canine and your breeder puppies, feel free to consult with your veterinarian, as this is a crucial time in your pregnant dog’s life.

About Supplements

Even the best dog breeders make the mistake of giving their bitch vitamin and mineral supplements during gestation to prevent calcium depletion after giving birth. However, these are not necessary if the dam is being fed a complete and balanced meal during her pregnancy. The only time she will need to be given supplements is when her veterinarian prescribes some to her. Otherwise, her uterus may fail to contract properly during whelping.


Caring for a pregnant dog and raising puppies is a serious and careful endeavour. If you’re planning on puppy breeding, make sure you register as a dog breeder with RPBA so that we can guide you on how to go about breeding in a safe and ethical way.