Nutritional needs of the pregnant bitch and lactation
Changing the diet of the pregnant bitch is not mandatory during the first weeks. The mother's needs increase especially during the last third of gestation. The felicus then has a rapid growth.
At the end of gestation, the dog shows a weight gain of 15 to 25%. The last two weeks therefore require an enrichment of the ration corresponding to the sharp increase in needs, of the order of 15 to 25%. The simple quantitative increase can however pose a problem, since the dog no longer has a large digestive volume, the pregnant uterus occupying a large place in the abdomen. It is therefore preferable to give a qualitatively richer food, divided into several small meals.
From the fifth week onwards, the meal must be increased by 10% of its value per week. The felicitus needs, in order to develop, water and proteins. This will guide supplemental feeding to the female.
At the end of gestation, the protein requirements of the female are four times higher than normal. Rations must have a protein content of at least 30% of the dry matter. The elements rich in proteins are eggs, liver, dairy products. Mineral requirements are also increased
Bitch in lactation
Milk production requires a large energy intake, and especially calcium intake to prevent tetanus attacks (symptoms: the dog stiffens and breathes very It can die if a calcium injection is not done quickly). Lactation is maximal from the third to the fifth week after farrowing, then decreases to stop at the time of weaning, when the puppies are about 7 weeks.
During the peak of lactation, the energy needs of the bitch are four times higher than normal, protein requirements six times higher. The intakes of phosphorus and calcium should be multiplied by three from the third to the fifth week. It takes three times more energy, six times more protein, three times more minerals.