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What To Feed A Pregnant Dog (Dietary Tips For All Stages Of Dog Pregnancy)

Key Takeaways

  • Experts highly recommend feeding a pregnant dog with a diet that has a good amount of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and fats.
  • A high-quality diet will help your pregnant dog have a less painful labor and increased milk supply.
  • Feed your pregnant dog three times a day, but you can increase this if your pup seems to be more hungry.

Getting the good news that your dog is pregnant should be a happy and exciting time, but if you are not sure what to feed a pregnant dog, I’m here to help you. The thing to keep in mind is that your dog needs high-quality diet with sufficient protein, carbs, and fats to ensure adequate energy intake and help both your mama dog and her puppies grow healthy.

I always advise pet parents to discuss a pregnant dog’s needs with the vet before breeding to help prepare them for nine weeks of gestation and understand her nutritional requirements. Knowing what to feed a pregnant dog goes a long way in determining how successful her pregnancy will be. The impact of her diet will affect her chances of pain-free labor and levels of lactation. 

Before Pregnancy

Let’s start with feeding your dog before she is pregnant. If you are planning to breed your dog, there are many factors that you need to consider as well as things you need to prepare; but one of the major things you need to take care of is your dog’s health. One way to make sure your female dog is in good shape is by giving her a high-quality feed. Today’s best fresh dog food brands are your top options for ensuring healthy meals for your pup. For specific dietary needs, subscribing to the best dog food delivery service companies helps many pet parents get proper nutrition for the mother dog—this will lay down the foundation in securing puppy health.

In the weeks and months before your dog becomes pregnant, you should consult with your vet. If she is a good candidate for breeding, your vet will provide you with advice about her cycle and proper feeding. Your vet will help with the type of food you should provide and the right amount to keep her healthy. 

A malnourished dog will struggle to become pregnant and maintain her pregnancy. This is because malnourishment during and after pregnancy leads to problems with lactation. Overweight dogs also face problems with pregnancy. This is why getting the right level and type of food will help your pup to limit problems during her pregnancy. 

The First Weeks of Pregnancy

Following a good regular feeding program will reduce the chances of gastric distress in pregnant dogs. Pet parents should be aware of the risks of pregnancy and how switching to the right diet helps avoid these. There are premium commercial food made especially for pregnant dogs, however, these are often laden with preservatives and chemicals that aren’t good for pup in the long run. So make sure to read labels carefully before buying. If you aren’t sure, I highly recommend fresh dog food delivery services as most of the meals these companies make are customized to a dog’s needs and made by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.

Did you know that the best puppy food brands contain a high level of vitamins and minerals which a pregnant bitch can also benefit from? This is another option you can try. A healthy litter will be possible when you provide premium puppy food, otherwise, malnutrition from the mother dog will likely cause fading puppy syndrome and other similar conditions. I advise not to change food intake during the first few weeks of pregnancy, because the development of the puppies is slow during the initial month. Gradually increase the meals by 25% during weeks five to six.

How Much Food Does She Need?

An overlooked aspect of pregnancy in adult dogs is the shrinking stomach space because of the growing puppies inside. This is why it is important to monitor your dog’s food intake. By week six, dog owners should be feeding pregnant dogs regular small amounts. A general rule of thumb is to feed smaller but more frequent meals. It is ideal to feed her three times a day to help provide support for her puppies throughout each day. Pet parents need to pay attention to the behavior of an expectant dog when making any change to her diet. If your pup is looking for food more than three times per day, you can expand her feeding times to five per day. During the last two weeks of pregnancy, an x-ray will determine the number of puppies in her litter. A large litter will drain the body of your pregnant dog so keep this in mind when feeding her.

What To Feed A Pregnant Dog

Week eight of her pregnancy is a difficult time when your pregnant dog may not want to move around too much. You need to take into account the size and number of puppies your dog is carrying. A 50% increase in her food intake will help your dog to remain happy and healthy over the last weeks of her pregnancy, as well as support the needs of the growing puppies inside of her.

Should I Add Supplements?

Various supplements.

Adding dietary supplements for pregnant and nursing dogs is a complex question, but here’s my general advise: A dog fed a homemade dog food diet may need the inclusion of extra milk, meat, and grains to remain healthy. A pregnant dog eating premium commercial dog food will not need extra supplements. High quality puppy food already have high levels of calcium and phosphorous to stimulate healthy development. 

Adding the best dog supplements means adding different vitamins to ensure your puppies are healthy. Knowing what to feed your pregnant dog includes providing them with the right levels of vitamins B9, C, and D—these are some of the important building blocks of life for your puppies.

A Homemade Pregnant Dog Food

There are many options for providing a healthy diet for your dog. Pet parents are constantly trying different options for keeping their dogs happy and healthy. Because the by-products in commercial dog foods have often caused allergies in dogs, many pet parents have made the switch to providing furbabies with homemade human-grade foods. In this regard, pregnant and nursing dogs provide their owners with a range of challenges. Making sure your pregnant dog gets adequate nutrition [1] from homemade dog food is difficult. Adding cream cheese, oatmeal, and molasses provides extra nutrients for the developing puppies. Flaxseed and meats will also keep your adult dog healthy during pregnancy.

Feeding a Nursing Dog

Milk production is important when your dog is nearing her due date. As soon as she has delivered her puppies, your thoughts will turn to her ability to provide milk. Healthy puppies will demand milk until they are old enough to eat solid food. In turn, your nursing dog’s puppies need her milk filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Young pups will require milk from your dog for up to eight weeks, with bottle feeding puppies an option later in puppyhood. 

German Shepherd with puppies.

To make sure she gets the right nutrients for milk production, you should continue with your pregnant dog’s puppy food diet while she is lactating. The developing puppies will also get a regular supply of nutrients and vitamins from this nutrient-dense puppy food their mother eats. 

It is tempting to load up your pregnant and nursing dog with large food quantity during lactation. However, I strongly suggest to continue to providing smaller meals long after she has given birth. Feeding her between three and five times per day will help her to remain healthy as her puppies get their milk. 

Finally, I have a few words to say about the importance of hydrating the mother dog. Dog owners faced with a litter of puppies can become obsessed with the amount of pet food they provide, but remember that a steady supply of water is equally needed to keep your dog and her litter healthy. The mother’s milk production is dependent on the amount of water she takes. If you do not provide enough, your nursing dog can become dehydrated when she is nursing and provide less milk for her litter.

I hope this articles arms you with the necessary information on how to care for your pregnant dog when it comes to her diet. Good luck!


1. What should you not give a pregnant dog?

Avoid giving your pregnant dog calcium supplements, aspirin, ciprofloxacin, steroids, and other medications as these can cause health issues to the mother and the developing litter. If in doubt, always consult your vet.

2. Is scrambled eggs good for pregnant dogs?

Cooked eggs are good for pregnant and nursing dogs in all forms. Never feed raw eggs to your dogs.

3. When should I start feeding my pregnant dog?

Continue a regular diet for the first four weeks. During the fifth week, her food intake should increase—give her smaller but more frequent meals.

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