Butternut Box fresh dog food meal variety Butternut Box fresh dog food meal variety

Best Food for Pregnant Dogs

Read time: 5 mins

08 Aug 2023

In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to make sure that a pregnant pooch gets the best nutrition possible. From signs of pregnancy to optimal feeding times and recommended meals, everything is right here for you. 

How to Tell if a Dog is Pregnant

Pregnancy in dogs can be an exciting, yet sometimes overwhelming process. As a pet parent, knowing the signs of pregnancy will help you provide your pup with the best care and nutrition possible. Here are some of the physical and behavioural changes to look out for if you suspect that your dog might be pregnant:

Behavioural changes

Pregnant dogs may exhibit a range of changes in their behaviour, such as increased appetite, lethargy, restlessness, or even depression. If you’re noticing any changes in your pup’s behaviour that seem unusual for them, it could be a sign that they’re expecting. 

Weight gain

Weight gain is another common sign of pregnancy in dogs. Monitor your pup’s weight regularly throughout the gestation period to make sure they’re getting enough food and nutrients. 

Enlarged or reddened nipples

Keeping an eye on your dog’s nipples is also important during this time. If they become enlarged or redder than usual, this could be a sign that she is pregnant. The nipples will continue to enlarge as the puppies develop over time. 

Visible stomach swelling

Another indication of pregnancy is visible swelling around your dog's stomach area. If you notice any signs of swelling here, then it could indicate that she is indeed expecting. This will become more pronounced near the end of her pregnancy. 

Discharge from vulva

Finally, one last thing to watch out for is signs of discharge from the vulva - this can indicate that she is close to giving birth.

When Can a Dog Get Pregnant?

So, female dogs can actually get pregnant pretty soon after they've hit that stage of sexual maturity, which typically happens when they're somewhere between six to twelve months old. However, it is not recommended that you breed a female dog until they are between 2 and 3 years old.

Now, when it comes to pregnancy in dogs, they go through something called an "estrus" or "heat" cycle about every six to twelve months. This cycle has four stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus 1, and diestrus 2. But the big deal is the "estrus" phase. It's around day nine of this cycle when a female dog becomes fertile.

This fertile period is relatively short, usually lasting just 24 hours and so mating has to happen during this window. 

The female dog might drop some hints too, like being extra affectionate towards male dogs, presenting her backside whilst walking away, or standing still with her legs spread apart. Once the mating has happened, it’s important to keep an eye on her health during the pregnancy journey. You want to make sure everything goes smoothly for a safe delivery of healthy puppies. 

How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Pregnancy in female dogs typically lasts around 63 days but can vary depending on the breed (usually between 58 to 68 days). During this time, it's crucial to monitor your dog's health for any changes that might affect the puppies.

Vets recommend ultrasound exams after day 45 to ensure the puppies are developing properly and to check for any issues.

About two weeks before delivery, dogs may show signs of labour like panting, restlessness, and nesting. If her appetite drops, it's likely due to stress. Provide her with a warm bed, food, and water. If you notice anything unusual, contact your vet.

What to Feed a Pregnant Dog

Pregnant pups rely on the nutrition they receive from their meals to support their developing bodies. Giving them the right kind of food is essential for ensuring they get all the nutrients they need whilst carrying puppies.

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and flaxseed, are especially beneficial since they promote healthy neural development in puppies. Protein sources, such as chicken, should also be included in each meal. A sustainable, slow-release energy source is also required to fuel your pregnant pup.

When in her third trimester, your dog may require up to three times the amount of food as usual due to her expanding belly. Keep an eye on her diet during this time and adjust as needed so she has enough energy and essential nutrients. 

Why Butternut Box is Perfect for Pregnant Dogs

At Butternut Box, we provide meals that are packed with essential nutrients tailored to support your pregnant pooch's health and vitality. Our recipes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids from ingredients like flaxseed, promoting brain development in her growing pups and maintaining a glossy coat and healthy skin. 

With high-quality protein sourced from fish, chicken, and lamb, our meals support muscle development and repair, ensuring strong, healthy pups and maintaining your dog's own muscle health. 

Ingredients like quinoa and pearl barley serve as wholesome energy sources, keeping her fueled throughout the day. They are also gentle on the digestive system, ensuring that she receives the nutrients she needs without any unnecessary stress.

You can easily let us know when your dog’s weight changes during her pregnancy journey by making changes to her profile in your account. We will then adjust her portions accordingly to make sure she's getting the right amount of nutrition to support her and her growing pups.

Additionally, our in-house vet team is always here to lend a paw. If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your pregnant pooch, feel free to reach out to our team of experts. They're dedicated to providing personalised advice and support to help you navigate this journey with confidence.

Convenience is another great feature of Butternut Box; the subscription service makes sure that you never run out of food when you need it most. Fresh meals are delivered directly to your doorstep so that your pup can have access to the optimal diet needed during this special time in their life.