This is the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day! Our mothers are the ones that bring us into this world, care for us, nurture us…so it seems only right to dedicate at least one day of the year just for them. One of the most important duties an expectant mother has is to prepare for a successful pregnancy. The same holds true for our dogs.
The success of any breeding exercise will depend on what your bitch has been fed throughout her life. The pregnancy will be a draining experience and will draw on nutrients deposited in her body long before she became pregnant. Her past nutritional history has a dramatic impact on her ability to become pregnant, her ability to hold on to the pregnancy, the ability to produce a large, healthy litter with no birthing problems, and to be able to supply plenty of milk to support the growing litter.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, DVM, co-founder of BARF World and author of “Grow Your Pups With Bones” states in his book:
“If your bitch has been fed a poor commercial dry diet or even a poorly constructed home-made diet such as an all meat diet, there will be major problems as a result. The ramifications of consuming a poorly formulated nutritional recipe are that she may never become pregnant in the first place. If she does, she may abort the puppies or produce deformed or a limited number of puppies. One must keep this in mind when beginning a breeding program. Here is another important consideration. When you know your bitch is close to coming on heat, temporarily increase both the amount and the quality of the food. Following this advice, her body will respond with brilliant hormone production and a maximum number of healthy eggs shed and a maximum number fertilized. This feeding bonus at mating time will produce the optimum number of puppies, with a very good chance that they will all be healthy. Elevating the levels of kelp, vitamin E, B, and C are important. Especially vitamin C because this vitamin aids in an easy delivery.”
Pregnancy is a very demanding event. It is a dynamic state that produces many changes and much growth inside the mother’s body in a very short period of time. It is because of this that a mother’s nutritional needs will change dramatically.
If the bitch has been fed a nutritious raw diet throughout her life, then for the first two-thirds of the pregnancy she will have the basis for a solid pregnancy.
The last third of the pregnancy is the most important phase because this is when the pups do most of their growing. The requirements at this point will demand extra supplementation with more protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals (with the exception of calcium). If you see that your bitch has developed an increased demand for food,that is your signal that she is lacking those growth nutrients.
It is extremely important at this stage that you allow her to eat a diet that has been designed to allow growth to occur. Adjusting the amount to feed at the last third of the pregnancy will adequately allow for the growth spurt. Allowing the bitch to become fat from overfeeding will cause further complications with the birthing process. An underfed dog will have similar complications because of the reduced amount of milk production.
The BARF Diet will do exactly that. Following this advice, your bitch will not require larger volumes of food if fed properly.
PLEASE NOTE: The science behind proper nutritional needs for the pregnant bitch is a complicated one. It is not the intention of this article to recommend all the requirements needed for a successful pregnancy. Instead, it is designed to outline the mere basics of the event and to outline a few of the more important choices to make to produce a healthy litter.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF diets patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. He and his wife love to travel around the world with their dog, Moxie – a Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese mix. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” monthly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.