When the female has just become a mother, she needs some extra attention and care to help her recover from the demanding requirements that motherhood entails. Specific food, hygiene, veterinary monitoring, and peace of mind are some of them:
The dog requires double or even triple the calories
Compared to other animals in adulthood, bitches that are pregnant and lactating have more demanding nutritional requirements. Therefore, their diet must adapt to this new physiological state in order to meet the new caloric demands of the female and to satisfy the supply of maternal milk to the hungry pups. The nutritional requirements of the little ones are constant since newborns can breastfeed every three or four hours day and night. This metabolic challenge from the mother is especially important in the case of large litters.
During the postpartum period, her usual maintenance feed will not be enough, which is insufficient. The specific food must be complete, rich in nutrients, and fundamentally adapted to the new energy needs since females require double or triple the calories in a maintenance situation.
When do puppies suck the most?
Peak lactation occurs three to four weeks after calving. After him, semi-solid or solid food begins to be supplied to the litter. As the puppies begin to consume it, the female’s milk production will decline.
The mother needs a high energy feed
An optimal alternative would be a feed formulated for high activity or “high energy” , with puppy food being another good option, as it is very suitable for females in the last third of pregnancy and during lactation. Low-energy food will cause poor milk production and a significant weight loss for the bitch.
The bitch needs to eat often while nursing
During lactation, the female needs to eat often, she can be offered small doses several times a day, or leave food freely available ( ad libitum ) so that she can feed when she wants. To know more, you can refer to this post.
You need to hydrate frequently
Together with the specific diet, adequate water consumption must be ensured. The mother must have fresh water available day and night, both to replenish fluid lost during childbirth and to ensure milk production.
The farrowing of the puppies and their mother
It is convenient that we spend some time choosing the right place to place the farrowing box or the mother’s “nest” before delivery.
It should be in a quiet, comfortable, and draught-free place, where they will not be disturbed by excessive noise or light, and not in a passageway in the house. Most bitches are tolerant of their owner’s presence around their puppies, but they can become very nervous and protective if all the family or friends are around, wanting to visit or hold their little ones. The reaction will depend a lot on the character and environment of each female.
The puppies and their mother must be calm
In the beginning, until the whole family gets used to this situation, it is good that they enjoy a certain peace of mind, although it is not advisable to place the farrowing pen totally isolated from the rest of the house (in a garage, in the garden or in a room, isolated ). It is beneficial that they continue to be part of the family nucleus, at home, with us, so that the puppies’ socialization is adequate.