10 Best Dog Food For Pregnant Dogs (2020 Buying Guide)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

Being a pet parent is an awesome experience, and for many of us, our fur babies are as much a part of the family as our human kids are. An even more exciting occurrence, though, is becoming a pet grandparent – when our fur babies have babies. If you have a pregnant dog in your life, it’s essential to make sure she gets the right nutrients to keep herself and her puppies healthy, even before they are born. 

The best dog food for pregnant dogs should contain a premium quality animal protein (around 30% or higher), a minimum of 15% fat (although we recommend 20% or higher), plenty of Omega fatty acids, easy to digest carbs (whole grains or vegetables), no fillers or artificial ingredients, and an important addition is the presence of DHA, which helps puppies’ brains and eyes to develop even before they’re born. 

The important thing is that you’ll not only be choosing the best food for pregnant dogs here, but for their puppies too. We’ve made sure the foods we’ve reviewed here are healthy, balanced choices that you could feed your pregnant pup to keep her immune system up and her babies developing as they should. 

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10 Best Dog Food For Pregnant Dogs

1. Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Recipe

Best Value For Money: Very affordable

Overall Rating95%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Fat Count & Quality95%
Digestibility95%
Contains DHA95%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Quality that is on-par with higher priced foods
  • Great protein and fat levels for pregnant dogs
  • High in Omega fatty acids, and contains DHA
  • Good calorie count for pregnant dogs needing to eat more

CONS

  • Not suitable for dogs who are sensitive to chicken

There’s really no reason not to go for this food, unless your pregnant lady happens to be allergic to or intolerant of chicken. It’s incredibly priced for its quality, and the nutritional profile is just about perfect for a pregnant pup. Perfect for pup and budget-conscious owner! 

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Perfect Pregnant Nutrition 

The numbers in this food are amazing, considering its price tag. 32% protein is a great number, and it comes from chicken and chicken meal, which are the first two ingredients on the list, and fish meal, which is slightly vague but is lower down on the list. The fat count is super, at 22%, and comes from chicken fat and salmon oil, which are two premium quality sources. 

The carbs include whole grains, such as white rice and barley, and fruits and vegetables like kale, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, and blueberries and papaya. These and added probiotics make this food super digestible as well, which is a bonus because your pooch will get a lot of good stuff for a little kibble. 

Great Omegas For Health 

The Omega fatty acid levels are high, which is unexpected from a food that is so well-priced. They’re among the highest we see on a dog food label, which not only helps with digestion and keeping your pup’s joints lubricated, but it keeps her coat and skin healthy. 

Of course, part of the Omega content is made up of DHA, which is necessary to help your pup’s puppies develop well as they are growing and being nourished by mom. Between the fantastic ingredients and the added DHA and probiotics, we highly recommend giving this kibble a try for your pregnant pooch.

2. Acana Singles Range

Best Limited Ingredient: Helps reduce food allergies

Overall Rating92%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Fat Count & Quality90%
Digestibility95%
Contains DHA95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Limited ingredient helps reduce food allergies and intolerances
  • Various flavours available, so there’s one for every dog
  • High in protein (31%) and fat (17%)
  • Grain and gluten-free, as well as free from potato and tapioca
  • Biologically appropriate nutrition

CONS

  • A little on the expensive side

Pregnancy doesn’t change very much when it comes to your pup’s diet – just the nutrient levels and the addition of DHA, really. Which means that if your pooch was allergic to or intolerant of certain ingredients before and needed a limited ingredient diet, the same will be true while she is expecting. This option from Acana is the best we’ve come across in terms of a limited ingredient food.

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Premium Nutrition 

Although it varies very slightly by flavour, each one contains around 31% protein and 17% fat, which will work really well for a pup who is supporting a bunch of little ones. Each one contains a single protein source and a few carefully selected vegetables. The protein includes things like organ meat, bone, and cartilage, which is nothing to worry about. This is a supremely well-rounded, protein-rich food, and your pup’s body will soak it in and use every bit of the biologically-appropriate nutrition in it. 

Everything is on-point here, from the calcium/phosphorus level to the high Omega numbers (which vary by flavour but are high in each). DHA and EPa make this the perfect limited ingredient food for a pregnant dog. 

Various Flavours – Something For All Dogs  

There are five different flavours in this range – Beef & Pumpkin, Turkey & Greens, Duck & Pear, Pork & Squash, and Lamb & Apple. Apart from the fact that this is super for keeping pups from getting bored with food, it also means that if you want to feed your dog Acana Singles, you will certainly find a flavour that suits them, no matter what sensitivities they may have. 

Pups who are allergic to poultry still have three other flavours to choose from, and dogs who may need to avoid red meat (eg. those with hypothyroidism) can stick to duck or turkey flavours. There’s something for everyone here – whatever your pup enjoys, you’ll find in their range.

3. Orijen Puppy Dry Dog Food

Best High Protein & Fat: Great levels of DHA and EPA

Overall Rating91%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Fat Count & Quality95%
Digestibility90%
Contains DHA95%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Very high in protein and fats, perfect for pregnant dogs
  • Great levels of DHA and EPA
  • High levels of Omega fatty acids
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin for extra joint support during pregnancy
  • Premium quality ingredient list packed with whole foods
  • Fairly high in calories

CONS

  • One of the more pricey options

Orijen is known to be a high-protein dog food, and this offering is high in fat too which makes it great for puppies who may be expecting little ones. It’s filled to the brim with healthy, natural ingredients, making it highly digestible and packed with vitamins and minerals.

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High In Necessary Nutrients 

This is one of the higher protein foods, at 38%, which is great for pregnant dogs who are still fairly active or large breeds who need even more protein. The fat count sits around 20%, which is super and is made up of the natural fats in the various meats, chicken fat, and pollock oil. 

This food is biologically-appropriate, meaning it contains ingredients such as chicken heart, ground chicken bone, and chicken cartilage. All of this contains an awesome mix of nutrients that is natural and supremely healthy, so you don’t need to worry about your dog eating these ingredients. 

Chelated Minerals To Aid Digestion  

When you see ingredients that are minerals (zinc, copper, iron, etc) with an extra word tacked on (sulfate, proteinate, or chelate), this means that the minerals have been bonded to a protein or an amino acid. This may sound unnecessary, but it’s actually a process that happens naturally in your dog’s digestive system. 

By adding minerals that are already bonded to something else, it makes it easier for your pup’s body to absorb it, and they are readily available for absorption without having to go through a whole process in the body. This aids in digestion and means that the food generally is more nutrient-dense. 

4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties

Best Raw Option: Natural, organic ingredients

Overall Rating90%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Fat Count & Quality95%
Digestibility95%
Contains DHA80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • High-quality, natural, organic ingredients
  • Contains muscle meat, organ meat, bone, and fruits and vegetables
  • Variety of flavours available
  • Very high in protein and fats (varies by flavour)
  • Grain and gluten-free
  • Contains probiotics for easier digestion

CONS

  • Doesn’t contain DHA

If you’ve been raw-feeding your pooch and you don’t want to stop just because they’re pregnant, that’s okay too. These dinner patties from Stella & Chewy are super high in both protein and fat, and the only thing you’ll need to do is make sure to supplement with DHA to give both mom and pups the best head start you can.

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High Protein And Fat Counts  

There are many flavours available, and the protein and fat counts vary with each. All are high in protein though, with the highest being chicken (48%) and the lowest being venison (36%). The fat counts are similar, with the lamb, beef, and duck varieties coming in at 38%, while the chicken is the lowest at 28% (which is still far above the recommended fat level for a pregnant dog). 

You will simply need to add a supplemental dose of DHA to your fluff;s diet, which shouldn’t be hard to hide in this delicious patty.

5. Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Best Lower Protein: Perfect for dogs who need lower protein

Overall Rating89%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Fat Count & Quality90%
Digestibility90%
Contains DHA90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good levels of fats and proteins
  • Perfect for dogs who need lower protein
  • High-quality ingredient list with real meat first
  • Good Omega fatty acid levels, including DHA
  • Superfood ingredients contribute vitamins and minerals

CONS

  • Lower protein may not be suitable for all dogs
  • Recommend free-feeding for pregnant females, which may not be optimal for all dogs

This kibble is all-goodness. The ingredient list is filled with high-quality, all-natural, healthy stuff, including real meat, meat meal, slow-burning vegetables and vitamin-filled fruits. The protein and fat levels are more than adequate, although not as high they could be. If you’re looking for something well-rounded and healthy, this kibble would be a great choice for your pregnant pooch, especially if they are on a low-protein diet. 

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Good Nutrients  

At 28% protein and 17% fat, this one hits the mark with the fat but falls ever so slightly under on the protein. It’s perfect, though, for females who may generally be on a lower protein diet. The elevated protein levels will only be for a short while, and much of it will go towards the puppies, so it shouldn’t affect her health, although it is best to get her vet’s opinion beforehand. 

Lower Protein 

Dogs who suffer from chronic kidney or liver disease may be recommended a lower protein diet than average by their vet. When it comes to pregnancy, though, your pooch will need more of it as her body will be preparing for the delivery of a bunch of little pups. Not only does she need to keep herself healthy and strong, she will be delivering nutrients straight to the growing puppies. 

This level of protein should work well for the duration of her pregnancy and until the puppies are weaned.

6. Wellness Complete Health Natural Canned Puppy Food

Best Wet Food: ​​Helps in digestion

Overall Rating89%
Protein Count & Quality85%
Fat Count & Quality85%
Digestibility95%
Contains DHA95%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Contains a small amount of DHA
  • High-quality, all-natural ingredients
  • Contains chelated minerals which helps with digestion
  • High in calories, which is great for upping your pup’s intake easily

CONS

  • Contains carrageenan, which is a controversial thickening agent

Adding a wet food is a super quick and easy way to up your pup’s calorie count, which is necessary in the last 5 or so weeks of pregnancy. Not only does it add an extra dose of vitamins, minerals, and energy, it also helps make kibble a little tastier, which can be helpful in these situations.

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DHA & Chelated Minerals 

This canned food offering is not only loaded with real meat and vegetables, it also contains chelated minerals for quick and easy absorption, and a little amount of DHA, which can only help. It’s rare to see DHA in a wet dog food, so this is an added bonus! 

It contains carrageenan, which is considered to be a lower quality filler, but nothing has been proven and considering you will only likely be feeding it to your pup for a few weeks, this is really nothing to worry about.

7. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Dry Dog Food Recipe

Best Wet Food: ​​Helps in digestion

Overall Rating87%
Protein Count & Quality90%
Fat Count & Quality80%
Digestibility90%
Contains DHA90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Good nutrients for pregnant pups (in the chicken flavour more so than the beef)
  • Chicken or beef flavour for dogs who may be sensitive to one or the other
  • Both flavours contain DHA and glucosamine and chondroitin
  • High quality ingredients including fruits and vegetables

CONS

  • Slightly pricey

Here we have a quality dog food filled with a fantastic bunch of wholesome, nutritious ingredients. It comes in two flavours, so your pooch can avoid chicken if they are sensitive to it, or beef if they need to steer clear of red meat. The chicken is the more nutrient-dense of the two and has better nutrient counts, but either way, your pooch will be getting a great meal that’s packed with only healthy stuff.

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Chicken Or Beef 

The chicken flavour comes out on top in terms of nutrients, with 30% protein and 16% fat. Beef is only slightly behind, with 28% protein and 15% fat. The chicken also contains a higher amount of DHA, although the beef flavour does contain it too. 

Both have significant levels of Omega fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, which goes a long way towards helping your pregnant pup’s body and joints stay strong. 

High Quality Ingredient List 

Both flavours have real meat as their first ingredient,followed by a meat meal. Sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes are the slow-burning carb sources, which are super healthy and digestible. Blueberries also make an appearance further down both lists, which add a dash of antioxidants and vitamins.

8. American Journey Landmark Trailhead Blend Puppy Food

Best High Protein: Highest protein kibble on this list

Overall Rating87%
Protein Count & Quality95%
Fat Count & Quality90%
Digestibility85%
Contains DHA85%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • Highest protein kibble on this list (40%)
  • Good fat level for a high protein food (15%)
  • Low fiber count which helps digestibility
  • Contains good levels of DHA and EPA
  • Nice levels of Omegas and glucosamine and chondroitin

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Not suitable for pups who are sensitive to poultry

This food is big on the protein and less so on the fat. This is great for pregnant dogs who are already a bit on the weighty side and need to be quite careful not to put on more, or if your large breed pooch is not very active and can make do with less readily-available energy in the form of fat. 

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Hgh Protein, Moderate Fat 

40% protein is a high number, and is best suited to large breeds. Generally, high protein meals contain a large amount of fat too, but this one keeps the fat count moderate, at 15%. This is right in the zone for dogs who may be slightly overweight already and trying to lose some pounds (although bear in mind they will put some on during pregnancy), or for dogs who are not active and don’t need the extra energy. 

Extra Additions 

You’ll also find a good DHA and EPA level, glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints tough, and high levels of Omega fatty acids.

9. Solid Gold Leaping Waters Sensitive Stomach Formula

Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Sensitive stomach formula 

Overall Rating87%
Protein Count & Quality85%
Fat Count & Quality85%
Digestibility90%
Contains DHA90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Sensitive stomach formula
  • Holistic dog food
  • Very good protein sources
  • Grain-free, contains good quality vegetables
  • Fruits provide great vitamins and minerals

CONS

  • Slightly lower in protein than preferred

Just because your dog is now pregnant it doesn’t mean she is going to eat anything and everything. If she was sensitive to certain things before, she is likely to be just as sensitive to them now – perhaps even more so, considering what her body is going through. This kibble is especially formulated to counter tummy sensitivities and keep your pup as comfortable and well-nourished as possible.

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Holistic Food  

The quality of this food is high and health-promoting, and they make sure to include only the best in their recipe. They’re all natural, grain and gluten-free, contains a single-source protein, and is packed with superfoods to provide as healthy and nutritious a formula as possible, that soothes your pup’s stomach as she eats. 

Lower In Protein 

26% protein may be too low for some, unless your pup needs a low-protein diet. This can be easily combated, though, by slipping your hungry pregnant girl some high-protein treats between meals, which will also help up her calories in the later weeks of her pregnancy. 

15% fat is a decent number provided your pup is getting moderate exercise.

10. Bully Max High Performance Premium Dog Food

Best Kibble Without DHA: No corn, wheat, or soy  

Overall Rating86%
Protein Count & Quality85%
Fat Count & Quality90%
Digestibility85%
Contains DHA80%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • High in protein and fat (30/20)
  • High calorie (535 per cup)
  • All-natural ingredients including healthy grains
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • 54 servings per bag (significantly higher than others)
  • Easy to digest

CONS

  • No real meat (contains meat meal, which is still decent but different)
  • Doesn’t contain DHA

This is good high protein, high fat formula and is specifically named as a “performance food”. It’s perfect in terms of protein and fat ounts and calorie count, as well as being all-natural and containing the highest number of servings per bag in comparison to others. All that you’ll need to add on is a DHA supplement. 

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Nutrient Values 

30% protein and 20% fat are great numbers for a pregnant fluff, and they’re made up of decent ingredients. There is no whole meat source in this food, as the primary protein source is chicken meal. This isn’t a problem though, and is just as nutritious and even higher in protein than whole chicken. 

The carbs consist of healthy, gluten-free grains such as brown rice, sorghum, and barley, which are all easily digestible and nutritious. Other ingredients that are good to see include flaxseed, Menhaden fish meal, and organic dried kelp, as well as plenty of chelated minerals. 

Supplement With DHA 

There is no added DHA on the guaranteed analysis list here, although Menhaden fish meal will provide some (although likely not enough, if it isn’t mentioned on the packaging). It may be wise to check with your vet, but we recommend using a DHA supplement to ensure your girl is getting enough for herself and her puppies.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 -Protein Count & Quality

Pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park for your dog – it’s hard on the body, and as such, you need to make sure your pooch is getting some great building blocks in their food to keep their health and strength up during this time. 

A super quality animal protein is essential, and should be the first ingredient on the list. Any real meat source is great, and which one you choose will depend on your dog’s tastes. Meat meal is also a good choice, and is quite easily digestible. Plant protein isn’t recommended unless it’s a secondary protein that’s added in addition to an animal protein. The reason behind this is because animal proteins contain the full range of amino acids that are necessary for growth, while plant proteins don’t quite have everything your pooch will need. 

The protein count should be 30% and upwards, which may sound high but remember – your pup isn’t just nourishing her own body at this point. She has a bunch of little pups that are being nourished through the food she is eating, so it’s crucial that she gets enough protein in. This will assist in supporting your pup’s body as the pregnancy starts taking a toll, and it also plays a role in the muscle development of the growing puppies.

Criteria 2 – Fat Count & Quality

A pregnant pup will require quite a high fat count – upwards of 20%. You may wonder why this is, and the answer is simple. High-quality fats are the primary source of energy in a dog food, and when your fluff is growing little fluffs, she is going to be expending more energy than usual, therefore needing to get more in. 

Carbs provide energy too, but they’re usually slower-burning and provide sustained energy. Fats are easily accessible, quick-burning sources of energy, so it’s highly important that they’re of great quality and of a high enough amount. You’ll ideally want an animal fat, something like chicken fat, pork fat, or salmon oil. 

Omega fatty acids are super helpful too, and you’ll see a specific one further down the criteria list. Apart from DHA and EPA, the Omega fatty acid numbers should be fairly high. 

The higher fat content also contributes to a higher calorie count, which is useful to make sure your pup and her pups stay nourished and are getting enough nutrients in.

Criteria 3 – Digestibility

Digestibility basically means the percentage of the food that is actually absorbed by the dog’s body after being eaten. This is the nutrient-density of the food,and this number measures the food’s ability to provide more nutrition for less kibble. 

It’s not easy at all to find the actual numbers for digestibility, as it’s not something that is usually shown on dog food labels. The easiest way to get a good idea of how digestible a dog food is is to have a look at the quality of the ingredients. High-quality, all-natural ingredients increase the digestibility of the food, while low quality fillers and an abundance of plant ingredients instead of animal ingredients lower the overall digestibility. 

This is important for a pregnant dog because she needs as much good stuff as possible, in as small an amount of food as possible. There’s less space than usual in her stomach, and she’s feeding herself and a brood of puppies, so the more nutrition she can get in for less actual kibble, the better. 

We’ve made an effort to find the actual digestibility numbers, but if we haven’t been able to, we’ve assessed the food and made a judgement based on the ingredient quality and manufacturing processes.

Criteria 4 – Contains DHA

DHA is an Omega fatty acid that is usually found in puppy food (and sometimes in senior-specific food). It’s an essential part of a puppy’s diet as it helps the brain tissue to develop properly, as well as assisting in the eyes growing as they should. 

It’s not often found in adult food, which is why many pregnant dogs go onto a puppy food in the later stages of their pregnancy. While Omega fatty acids will definitely have a good effect on your pregnant pup, the real reason this is so important is that it will start to have an effect on the puppies already, even before they are born. 

If DHA isn’t found in the food you choose to feed your pup, you can supplement with it, although it’s easier to simply make sure your pooch gets it in her normal daily diet. 

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Although this shouldn’t be the be all and end all of which dog food we choose (just as we wouldn’t choose the cheapest food for our human kids), it’s definitely an important factor that we cannot ignore when choosing a dog food. 

A pregnant dog will need vet’s visits, possibly medication, vitamins, and then you’re going to end up with a litter of puppies to feed at some point as well, so affordability of the dog food you choose is actually far more important than one may realise initially. 

Although some of the higher range foods can be quite pricey, they’re well worth the buy if you can afford them. They typically contain everything a pregnant dog needs, with added extras. We have made sure to include a good mix of prices in this list, so that your pregnant dog can be well-fed no matter what your budget looks like, and nobody will have anything bad to say about the quality of the food you’re feeding her.


Questions & Answers

What are the nutritional needs of pregnant dogs?

Just like any other dog, a pup who is pregnant needs a balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients to keep her healthy and strong. The numbers are slightly different, though, because she is feeding a litter of puppies in addition to herself (even before they are born). 

The ideal dog food for a pregnant dog should contain 30% or more high-quality animal protein, preferably as the first ingredient on the list. It can be a single source protein or multiple sources, but as long as they’re animal sources and the number is high enough. 

Fat is the next most important nutrient, and a pregnant dog will need 20% and upwards (15% at the absolute minimum). Fat provides the most easily accessible, quickly-metabolised energy, of which a pregnant pooch will be expending quite a bit, so she’ll need great sources for replenishment. Again, this should be from high-quality animal sources such as chicken, pork, or salmon. 

Easily digestible carbs should be present too, in the form of whole grains or fruits and vegetables, depending on your pup. Omega fatty acids are great, and it’s imperative that your pregnant dog gets a dose of DHA as well. This is a specific Omega fatty acid that helps puppies’ develop correctly, and is passed on from mother to babies so it gives the puppies a super head start in terms of growth. 

As always, there should be nothing artificial or synthetic included, and no low-quality fillers or grains containing gluten. You can find more info here about feeding your pup during and after her pregnancy. 

Why should I feed my dog something different to her normal food when she is pregnant?

Although your pregnant pup can stay on her normal food for about 50 days of the 63 pregnancy (provided she is being fed a high-quality diet), it’s recommended to start your pup on a food containing DHA and with a higher protein and fat content as soon as you realise she is pregnant. This may go unnoticed for up to 3 or 4 weeks of the pregnancy, as there are not many symptoms or signs, but it’s best to take your pooch to the vet if her eating habits change and she starts to gain weight. 

While she could keep eating what she is eating, it’s a great idea to give her a food that contains more protein to support the changes her body is going through, is higher in fat to provide more quickly-accessible energy, and containing DHA to begin supplementing the puppies before they are even born. 

You don’t have to change your pup’s food, but it is recommended to keep both your fluff and her puppies in optimal health.

When should I change my dog’s food if I am going to?

Once you get the nod from the vet that your pup is pregnant, it’s time to change her food. Luckily, you most likely will only be feeding her a different food for a couple of months, as a dog’s pregnancy is only 2 months long, and you should keep her on the new food until the puppies are weaned. 

At that point, you can switch her back over to her original food, as her body will have recovered nicely and her puppies will be getting their own nutrients in their food.

How much should my pregnant dog be eating?

You should keep feeding your pup the same amount you have been, and the American Kennel Club recommends increasing her intake slightly from about 5 weeks into her pregnancy until she is eating between 35 and 50% more than usual. 

You should do this by splitting her meals up into smaller but more frequent meals, as she most likely won’t be able to eat large amounts in one go. You’ll need to do a bit of mathematics to make sure you’re getting this right, but it’s a good idea to make sure she has more than enough to nourish her and the pups in the last few weeks before they’re born.

Why is it a good idea for a pregnant dog to eat a food that has a high fat count?

Many pet parents are still unsure of why a high fat count is important, and it’s even more important to a pregnant pup. 

When a dog is pregnant, she expends a lot more energy than the average dog – between 4 and 6 times the energy, to be precise! This means she needs a whole lot more easy-to-access energy at her disposal in order to keep being her normal active self, which is what we want for a pregnant pooch – she shouldn’t be vastly less active than she always was. 

Fat is the most easily accessible, quickly metabolised source of energy in a dog food,  so a high fat count is very important to keep your pregnant dog’s energy levels where they should be, not only for her but for the puppies she is carrying too. A lot of her energy and nutrients will be going towards them, so she’s basically providing energy for a whole litter.

Is there anything I should avoid feeding my pregnant dog?

As with all dogs, stay away from anything artificial or synthetic. Low-quality fillers that have little nutritional value are also to be avoided. Grains that contain gluten are generally best avoided, including wheat, corn, and soy. 

It’s also a good idea to avoid dog foods that are aimed at large breed dogs when your pooch is pregnant (even if she is a large breed herself). The reason for this is that large breed-specific foods tend to contain less calcium than others, and while this is great for an active large breed just doing his thing, it’s a slight disadvantage when it comes to a pregnant female who is providing growing puppies with nourishment. 

How do I know if my dog is pregnant?

During the first weeks of your pooch’s pregnancy, there are very few signs and symptoms, so unless you are breeding or expecting a pregnancy, you may not even notice anything other than a slight increase in weight. 

From week 3 or 4 you may notice that your pet seems a little more tired and she may be off her food. Although this is a side-effect of hormones in a pregnancy, it can also be a sign of many other things, so it’s not necessarily indicative of your pup being pregnant. 

She should start eating a bit more and gaining weight in the coming weeks. If you suspect she is pregnant, you should take her to the vet for a full check-up. Never, ever palpate your dog’s stomach if you think she is pregnant – the developing puppies are far more sensitive to stimuli than you may believe and even a gentle touch could not only be painful for your pooch, but it could be fatal for her puppies. 

Puppy foods are generally higher in calories than adult dog foods, as well as being higher in protein to build strong muscles, and higher in fat to provide for a puppy’s high levels of energy. 

In addition to these factors, the presence of DHA in puppy food makes a huge difference to pregnant dogs, in particular, the development of her puppies while still in the womb. Mothers pass nutrients on to their unborn puppies, and if a puppy is getting a dose of DHA before it’s even born, it’s getting a little head start in terms of brain and eye development. 

These factors make puppy food perfect for pregnant dogs, as they’ll be getting all they need (and all their growing puppies need) to stay healthy and strong. 

What else should I do to keep my pregnant dog and her puppies healthy?

If your dog’s food doesn’t contain DHA, you should get a separate supplement to feed her so she doesn’t miss out on this essential fatty acid (and neither do her puppies).

She will also need a constant, easily available supply of fresh water, and it’s imperative that she still continues to get enough exercise and not put on too much weight that her body begins taking strain. Be sure to take her on regular walks and encourage her to stay active while making sure to not overwork her.