Pregnancy and lactation in dogs are very important phases of the life of dogs. Therefore, being informed is essential to maintain the health of our pets. Below are a series of tips that could be followed when facing these stages.
Pregnancy in dogs
The period of gestation of a dog usually lasts approximately nine weeks. It is advised that the gestation process be guided by a specialist since as the pregnancy progresses, it will be necessary to incorporate steps into the routine.
Weight gain will not be appreciated until the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. It will be from that moment when the feeding will be modified so that the puppies receive the necessary nutrients.
For this reason, food intake will increase progressively, from the fifth week to the ninth. At that time, the ration will be one third more than usual.
Likewise, the physical state prior to pregnancy or if you suffer from any type of illness are limitations when changing the diet. Therefore, the recommendations given by the veterinarian must be followed.
It is imperative that the female stay hydrated and drink water frequently. Therefore, clean and freshwater must always be available.
In addition, if the type of food that is given is dry food, it is essential that you have an accessible water source, especially in the last weeks of pregnancy.
It is convenient for the female to perform gentle exercise throughout pregnancy. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the daily walks, although the time and distance of the walk should be reduced.
Comfort above all
When the birth date approaches, a corner with blankets or towels is usually prepared in a cardboard box called ‘nest.’ There the female can give birth quietly. The goal of the nest is to ensure that the female is comfortable and feels safe.
Breastfeeding in dogs
Newborn puppies have not completed their development and are only able to perform a few functions properly. Therefore, they need special care and intense dedication.
The following steps must be taken into account :
Keep your temperature regulated
Puppies are not able to properly regulate their body temperature. This can have serious consequences for your health.
Therefore, the puppy must be kept at a stable temperature. Avoid low temperatures since the puppy decreases its digestive activity, and its sucking reflex may disappear.
The ideal temperature is higher than 34 ºC since it will be able to suck and digest milk correctly. If it is between 32 ° C and 34 ° C, you can only suck, not digest. For this reason, it is advisable to warm the puppy to 34 ° C before feeding him.
Keep them hydrated
Puppies are made up of 82% water and lose a significant amount of water and heat. For that reason, it is convenient to keep the puppies in an environment with 60% humidity – if it falls below this level, they can become dehydrated and, if it rises, the risk of bacterial growth increases – and give them numerous daily intakes.
Control the food that is administered
Newborns do not completely regulate glucose levels. To ensure proper feeding and control blood glucose, it is advised that puppies be fed frequently and with specific proportions of nutrients.
Immature immune system
Puppies require colostrum to receive antibodies from the mother since they are not transmitted by the placenta; Your immune system has not yet matured.
To avoid health problems, hygiene must be correct, for which the puppy must be kept in a clean and disinfected environment, and administered colostrum as soon as possible.
It should also be noted that your digestive system is not functional. And they are unable to digest the starch and can not defecate as adults would.
What type of milk should you drink?
From the moment it is born until the weaning phase, the puppy will only feed on milk. However, not all types of milk are adequately assimilated by the puppy.
Cow’s milk should never be offered to puppies. The composition of cow’s milk and dog’s milk is different, which could cause intestinal problems in the puppy due to the high lactose content, as well as growth disorders as it does not have the necessary nutrient content.
If for any reason, the puppy cannot drink milk from the mother, there are different proposals in the market. You can find infant formula, which has to cover nutritional needs and protect your digestive system. On the other hand, there is usually a supplement of DHA, a fatty acid present in the milk of the dog, as well as in the retina and brain of the puppies.
Conclusion on pregnancy and lactation in dogs
It is convenient to reiterate that all these tips are indicative and that each case of pregnancy and lactation in dogs has its own characteristics, which should be discussed with a veterinarian.