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I have also given my "soon-to-be" bred and pregnant girls Malt O Meal cereal that is fortified with folic acid. It is important to make sure these girls have folic acid before pregnancy, at least two months before conception as well as during fetal growth. Calcium This mineral is needed for bone and tooth development in the fetus. It is important that the expectant mother receive this mineral in their diet, otherwise her body will leech it from her own sources bone for the puppies.
It is equally important during nursing. Home cooked diets and raw diets without bone must contain at least mg of calcium per pound of food served. Many times I have heard breeders state that they supplement extra calcium, but this can dangerous: As long as the expectant mother is on a quality diet, supplementation is unnecessary.
Further, supplementation can suppress her natural calcium releasing hormones so that when she really needs extra calcium during nursing, she will not have the proper hormone balance to get it. This can create a very dangerous situation which can easily be avoided by avoiding supplementation of calcium. This seems to lead to problems with uterine inertia, increasing the probability that a cesarean section may be necessary.
It may also contribute to the frequency of seizure problems associated with low blood calcium levels during lactation milk tetany. Iron Iron is important for the formation of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia. The best source of iron is in meat products, such as beef, beef hearts, kidney and liver. Eggs are also an excellent source of iron. Dulce a type of sea algae Dulce also contains high amounts of iron; however iron is absorbed more readily with meat products than other foods.
Vitamin C This supplement helps aid the uptake of iron into the system; it helps with collagen tissue building, and supports the immune system. Vitamin D This vitamin is important for the proper absorption of calcium. Foods that contain vitamin D include canned mackerel and salmon, eggs and dairy products. The Vitamin to Avoid: High doses of retinal can cause damage to the fetus in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Avoid a high intake of liver and do NOT give cod liver oil to a pregnant bitch.
Do not give a large dog more than 5, mg of vitamin A per day, a medium dog more than 2, and a small dog no more than 1, mg daily. The best way to achieve a healthy pregnancy and puppies is to feed a diet that contains high quality proteins that offer variety to ensure these nutrients.
Such a diet would contain animal proteins such as muscle meat, beef kidney, canned fish such as mackerel or salmon, eggs, yoghurt, goats milk AND a balance of calcium for these foods. As the pregnancy continues, most bitches will require more food after the fourth week about a third more daily with this amount increasing as the whelping date nears.
This amount will vary due to litter size. If she is carrying a large litter, smaller more frequent meals will be helpful for the decreasing room in her abdomen. Please Note Lactating females require even more food during nursing. At this time a diet high in animal protein and fat is necessary for proper milk production and to help maintain energy for the female during labor and lactation. She will burn more calories at this point than any other.
Don't forget to offer variety of foods and understand that she may desire foods other than her favorites at this time. Often my girls will want more organ meat, more dairy and raw meaty bones. Follow her lead and offer her a variety of food types.
Don't forget to keep the pregnant female in good physical shape, which would include daily walks, time in the yard and low impact exercise. This will help during the time of whelping. Remember the Necessary Nutrients Nutrients that are necessary to supplement because they are not present in most foods include: Omega 3 fatty acids salmon or fish oil. Folic acid part of most B complexes. B-Naturals carries salmon oil in capsules to meet the omega 3 fatty acid needs and two good vitamin blends that address the vitamin issues.
Other beneficial nutrients include: Red raspberry which eases labor and helps speed the delivery process and aids in producing milk during lactation. Fennel for ingestion and increasing milk production.
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