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Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs

Karan French  Julia Ogden

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Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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&
Julia Ogden
Julia Ogden

Julia Ogden

Content Director

Julia is the content director at the Dog Food Advisor and responsible for the overall strategy of the website.

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Updated: May 8, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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What’s the best dog food for pregnant dogs?

During pregnancy, it is crucial to provide a pregnant dog with a balanced and nutritious diet to support her own health and the development of her puppies.

A pregnant dog’s energy requirements increase as the pregnancy progresses. Select a dog food that is specially designed to meet these increased calorie needs without sacrificing nutritional balance.

Protein is essential for the growth and development of the puppies and for the overall health of the pregnant dog. Ensure that the dog food you choose has an adequate amount of high-quality protein sources, such as chicken, beef, or fish.

Look for a dog food that contains essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil or flaxseed) to support brain development in the puppies, as well as vitamins and minerals for overall health and immunity.

Pregnant dogs may experience digestive sensitivity, so choose a dog food that is easily digestible. Opt for formulas that contain high-quality ingredients and avoid excessive fillers or artificial additives that could cause digestive upset.

In fact, swapping to a recipe formulated specifically for puppies can be beneficial for pregnant dogs, as these tend to be higher in protein and contain more omega-3 fatty acids then regular dog food.

Each pregnant dog is unique, and their nutritional needs can vary. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the specific dietary requirements for your dog’s stage of pregnancy and any underlying health considerations.

Below you can find a list of our recommendations of the best foods for pregnant dogs. You’ll also learn the answer to each of the most frequently asked questions we get about pregnant dogs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I feed my pregnant dog?

A pregnant dog requires a balanced and nutritious diet to support her health and the growth of her puppies. She will need more calories as her body uses more energy during pregnancy, but the food should still be nutritional.

The best dog food for a pregnant dog will contain essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids to help the puppies’ brain development, plus vitamins and minerals. It should also have high-quality ingredients and protein sources like beef, fish, or chicken.

Some pregnant dogs might experience sensitive stomachs, so an easily-digestible dog food with limited fillers and artificial additives can help with this.

You should seek advice from your vet if you are unsure what to feed your pregnant dog, particularly if your dog has existing medical conditions, as each dog has different requirements.

Should I feed my pregnant dog puppy food?

Yes, from week six of pregnancy your pregnant dog should be given high-quality puppy food or a puppy formula. You will need to slowly transition them onto this food, over the course of five days to a week, to avoid an upset stomach.

Puppy food is higher in protein, energy, and vitamins and minerals which are essential for puppy development, compared to adult food. Giving your pregnant dog puppy food at this stage is crucial for providing them with extra nutrients as their stomach size reduces and their appetite shrinks. The food should also be easy to digest.

Consult your vet if you need help with choosing a puppy food, and consider your dog’s breed and size — make sure you are giving small breed puppy food to a small breed, for example.

How many times a day should a pregnant dog eat?

Pregnant dogs will need more food than normal but they will also have less space in their stomach. Once you have moved your pregnant dog onto puppy food, you should also start to increase their meal times.

To accommodate for a smaller stomach, feed your pregnant dog little and often, rather than two large meals a day.

Should I increase my pregnant dog’s food?

Yes, but not straight away. For the first five weeks of pregnancy, dogs won’t need to increase their food intake. They may even experience nausea or a reduced appetite, similar to our morning sickness symptoms. However, between six and seven weeks of their pregnancy, dogs should be given 25% more food to account for their weight gain and milk production.

In week nine of pregnancy, your dog might lose their appetite, which often means the puppies are close to arrival.

Do pregnant dogs need lots of water?

Yes, fluid intake is important for pregnant dogs who are sharing food and nutrients with their growing puppies. Your dog may experience increased thirst so you should always ensure fresh water is available for them at all times.

Can I give milk to my pregnant dog?

Yes, milk is a great source of nutrients for a pregnant dog.

What are the signs that my dog is pregnant?

The signs to look out for if you think your dog might be pregnant are:

  • Swollen stomach
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced appetite or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Increased nipple size
  • Nesting behavior
  • Irritable
  • Showing more affection

Final word

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