Generally, nursing puppies eat as much as they need to, and their mothers feed them as much as possible. A mother dog will actually deplete her own nutritional resources to an unhealthy level if need be for the sake of helping her puppies grow. To ensure that puppies grow at the rate they should without sacrificing the good health of their mother, you should feed her a quality food that your veterinarian recommends.
Helping Puppies Grow
A puppy's food intake is dependent on his mother, so make sure she gets enough food to provide herself and the litter with the nutrients they need. The American Kennel Club suggests feeding a "good-quality, highly digestible, very palatable commercial growth-and-lactation diet. It should contain at least 29 percent protein, at least 17 percent dietary fat and less than 5 percent dietary fiber." Generally, a dog's diet increases by 25 percent per puppy when she's nursing -- this allows her to maintain her own good health while passing along the nutrition that will help her puppies grow big and strong. Your veterinarian can recommend a specific brand of dog food and a feeding schedule that will maximize the health of your dog and her new litter.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.