Similar to humans, dogs need special care and consideration when they are pregnant and nursing.
Note that dogs have specific nutritional needs during pregnancy, and not getting them may lead to serious health issues, putting their puppies’ health at risk.
That’s why pregnant dogs must undergo prenatal checkups and get the proper nutrition.
Prenatal supplements are one way of making sure that your pregnant dog is getting the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed during pregnancy and even lactation.
Although many pregnant dogs would be okay without any special supplements provided that they get the proper diet, it wouldn’t hurt to consider how prenatal vitamins can make a difference.
We’ve covered below why prenatal supplements are essential for your pregnant dog.
Nutritional Needs of Dogs During Pregnancy
Giving your dog a balanced and nutritious diet is of the utmost importance when she is pregnant.
But it’s worth noting that her body will undergo changes as she goes through each stage of pregnancy.
Because of that, her nutrient intake may vary from one stage to another.
That means you must not feed her the same amount of food throughout her prenatal period.
The following are the amounts and types of nutrients your dog most likely needs during her pregnancy.
Amount of Nutrients
The first half of pregnancy, specifically the first six weeks, focuses more on maintaining your dog’s ideal weight.
Thus, they should be fed as usual to avoid birth complications associated with early weight gain.
Unless there is a demonstrated nutrient deficiency, adding more vitamins and minerals during this time may not be suitable as it can disturb her hormonal balance.
But in the second six weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, her energy and nutrient needs will increase as the fetuses also grow rapidly.
You can add more nutritious food and double the size of meal portions.
During the second half of pregnancy, higher quality and quantity of dog food with complete nutrients becomes necessary.
Special Nutrients Considerations
Although the nutrient needs of your pregnant dog may differ slightly in every stage of pregnancy, the following should not be missed in her diet.
- Protein. It’s a great source of amino acids that are important to support your dog’s pups’ healthy development.
- You can get it from chicken, fish, beef, eggs, and dairy products.
- Fats. Increasing your dog’s fat intake is necessary when there’s a higher demand for calories, which usually occurs by the sixth week of pregnancy.
- Fatty Acids. Pregnant dogs need omega-3 fatty acids for the development of the fetal brain and nerves.
- They can be richly found in fish like salmon.
- Vitamins. A pregnant dog needs vitamins, specifically vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B9.
- The amount of vitamins required for your dog depends on her weight.
- Minerals. Are essential for dogs, but calcium, iron, and phosphorus are the most necessary during pregnancy.
All these nutrients can be found in certain foods. But there might be times when your pregnant dog’s diet fails to supply the optimal levels of each necessary nutrient.
In such cases, a prenatal supplement will be essential to meet your dog’s nutritional needs during her pregnancy.
What Are Dog Prenatal Supplements?
Dog prenatal supplements are specifically designed to provide a natural boost of various vitamins and minerals to keep your pregnant dog and pups healthy.
They help support a healthy pregnancy and make the dog feel much better. Such supplements may come in an extensive range of formulas, from chewable tablets to powder ones.
Remember that dog prenatal vitamins or supplements such as these should not replace foods that are not supplying adequate nourishment to your pregnant dog.
But instead, they are only served to enhance your dog’s diet.
The Benefits of Dog Prenatal Supplements
Prenatal supplements bring several benefits to your pregnant dog as long as they are given appropriately.
Take a look at the following and see how they can particularly help your dog’s health during her pregnancy.
Compensates For Any Appetite Loss
During a tiring pregnancy, dogs might not have a strong appetite. By enhancing your dog’s overall diet, a prenatal supplement may help compensate for any appetite loss.
There are supplements made available as both appealing meat treats and tasty soft chews for your dog.
Improves Uterine Function
Some factors like stress or poor nutrition may affect the birthing process of pregnant dogs.
Hormonal disturbances and organ disruptions can also occur and, in turn, cause painful miscarriages in some.
Several prenatal supplements contain a formula that could help ease the stress of birth and improve the dog’s uterine function.
Helps With Organ Development
Prenatal supplements contain vitamins, specifically folic acid, essential for dogs’ pregnancy and fetal development.
They can reduce or prevent the risks of neural tube defects in a pregnant dog’s pups.
Supports Lactation After Birth
Pregnant dogs must produce adequate milk to nourish all of their pups.
Some prenatal supplements are designed to support lactation after a dog gives birth. They usually contain vitamins needed to bring a pregnant dog to keep milking.
Should You Give Prenatal Supplements To Your Dog?
Dogs have unique and critical nutritional needs while they are pregnant.
But though prenatal supplements bring the nutrients that your pregnant dog will need, there are essential considerations that you have to think about.
If you feed your dog with commercially produced pet food, giving them prenatal supplements might be less than necessary.
Dog foods that are produced commercially may already contain the nutrients your pregnant dog needs.
However, a prenatal supplement may be required if you make your pregnant dog’s food at home or feed her a raw food diet.
Nevertheless, you must always consult the vet before giving your pregnant dog any prenatal supplement.
They may prescribe supplements if the dog has certain conditions that require additional nutrients.
While it’s easy to get your dog a prenatal supplement, it may do more harm than good if it is not given appropriately.
It would be best to always speak to a vet to ensure that your pregnant dog gets proper nutrition and prenatal care in general.
But above all, keep giving your dog the love and care that she needs.