When you watch a dog experience pregnancy, whelping and all of the parental care that follows it, it's important to remember to not only to focus on the well-being and needs of the tiny puppies, but also of busy, frazzled mom. Dogs need to be healthy and energetic in order to properly nurture their offspring.
Give Her a Food Boost
About two to three weeks before your dog has given birth to her pups and following, give her more food than normal. This boost in feeding accommodates nursing her rapidly developing youngsters. During this time period, female dogs often consume roughly two times as much food as is typical for them, according to the experts at the Cleary Lake Vet Hospital. Speak to a veterinarian to discuss exactly how much more food your dog needs to eat in the weeks following whelping. Many factors help determine this, from a dog's basic health to litter size.
Give Her the Right Food
Not only is it important to feed new canine mothers more food, it's also important to think about what specifically they're eating. Your veterinarian can give you suggestions on appropriate foods depending on your individual pooch. She might suggest that you give your dog a more protein-rich diet, for example. She also might suggest an emphasis on docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is beneficial for young puppies' eyes and brains. It's good for pregnant dogs to receive sufficient levels of DHA, as well.
Give Her Ample Water
Tired mother dogs need to drink a lot, too. Ensure that your dog always ample clean water in her living area. You might notice her being significantly thirstier than normal. Nursing dogs are often susceptible to dehydration, as are pregnant dogs. If your dog isn't getting enough fluids and is dehydrated, you might observe symptoms such as lack of appetite, exhaustion and dry mouth. Dehydration calls for immediate veterinarian attention, no exceptions.
Provide Her With Veterinary Care
If a dog just had pups, give her prompt veterinary care, too. Make sure your dog receives a checkup from a veterinarian within two days of parturition. It's also crucial for the veterinarian to evaluate the health of the newborn puppies. A veterinarian can make sure that mom -- and the babies -- are all in glowing health and on the right track. Although a vet assessment is important, it's also important to give the mother dog your close attention after whelping. Be alert to indications that something might be amiss, such as fidgety behavior, problems nursing, runny stools, skin sores or discharge with a strong, unpleasant odor. If you notice anything of concern, notify the vet even if she already saw the new mom and pups.
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Breeding for Dog Owners
- Cleary Lake Vet Hospitals: Gestation, Whelping and Post-Natal Care in Dogs
- Hilltop Animal Hospital: Care of Mother Dogs and Puppies
- Noah's Ark Veterinary Clinic: Antenatal and Postnatal care of the Bitch
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Puppy - Raising
- ASPCA: Dehydration