Feeding the Lactating Bitch
Feeding pups is the hardest job a mum can
do. That is why a lactating bitch, at peak lactation, with
a large litter of pups...can eat as much as she wants! It
is imperative that top quality food should be continually
available. By top quality food, we are referring to a diet
designed for the special requirements of a lactating bitch.
food for the lactating bitch must have all the nutrients necessary
for the repair and functioning of her body, plus all the necessary
ingredients for producing high quality milk - in vast quantities.
The food must also be very concentrated. Being a 'growth-type'
of diet it must have high levels of energy, first class protein,
first class fat, first class minerals, an abundant supply
of vitamins, and be low in carbohydrates and unnecessary components.
This is the lactation version of the BARF diet.
The whole aim is to provide
as much milk forming food as possible so that she can easily
care for her litter and not loose any condition herself. This
means not a lot of change to the basic BARF diet, but will
take into account...
- an adequate intake of liquids to make milk
- high levels of good quality protein
- a calcium rich balanced source of minerals
- a source of concentrated energy
- the B vitamins to help her use that energy
- essential fatty acids plus vitamin E to stabilize those
essential fatty acids
- vitamin C to boost the immune system and help cope with
- vitamin A for the health of her immune system and the
internal lining of her mammary glands
The foods your lactating
bitch will need the most will be...
- A complete and balanced raw diet like BARF World's BARF Diet patties and nuggets
- Fortified milk mix
Raw meaty bones
or BARF World's BARF Diet Patties must
form the basis
of the lactation diet...
because they supply the minerals needed, including
calcium and phosphorus. This is for her greatest health, best
milk production and therefore for the pup's greatest health.
High levels of protein are also essential for the production
of milk. This means that other protein supplements are an
excellent idea. Tripe, offal, eggs and cottage cheese are
great sources of protein and can become part of the diet.
Feed the raw meaty bones either whole or minced
along with Dr. Billinghurst's BARF DIET Patties as alternate
meals. Give the fortified milk mix as the main source of fluid
- if she will take her fluid this way.
formula consists of one cup or 250 ml of milk [preferably
raw], one teaspoon of honey, one or two teaspoons of flax
seed oil, one raw egg [or two egg yolks] - about 60 gm, and
one or two junket [rennet] tablets plus multi-B and C vitamins
- so long as this did not put her off drinking it. This is
blended, brought to body temperature, and kept at body temperature
for ten minutes to allow the junket tablet to work. Preferably,
you will have tried this mix on her prior to whelping so you
will know that she will drink it and that it does not cause
How much food
and how often?
These two questions are really the same question. This is
the one time in the life of your bitch that she must be permitted
to eat as much of this high quality food as she likes. There
will be no harm done by letting her eat ad lib - as much as
she likes, particularly if she has a big litter to support.
A goal you have for your bitch after the pups are born, is
that she should have the same weight or perhaps a bit more
than she had about the time she was mated. Your next aim for
her is that she should maintain this weight by the time the
pups are weaned. What this means is that she should not deplete
her own body reserves during the period of lactation.
Newly made mothers can be difficult. There
are no guarantees on what they will or will not want to eat
and/or drink. You will need to be patient and be prepared
to offer alternatives if one type of food is refused. After
the first few days, it is usual for her appetite to return.
Her demand for milk will peak at about week three and continue
for one or two more weeks, by which time you will have begun
to wean the puppies.