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Raw Feeding Pregnant and Lactating dogs

Feeding a pregnant or lactating female dog a raw diet is slightly different from the traditional raw feeding guidelines for healthy adult dogs. These modifications are recommended to ensure that the pregnant female receives all the essential nutrients necessary to develop and raise healthy puppies.

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Get ready to supercharge your pregnant or nursing dog's raw diet! We're breaking free from the standard raw feeding regimen for adult dogs, and pushing the envelope for our expecting and nursing superstars. We're going to make sure they're packed with every essential nutrient they need to bring up the next generation of healthy pups.

As our female dogs journey through pregnancy, their bodies undergo profound changes during gestation and lactation. These dramatic transformations call for a revamp of the regular diet, ensuring they're not just maintaining their own health, but also laying the groundwork for their developing or nursing puppies.

Nutrition: A New Game Plan
The dietary rules for pregnant dogs shift with the onset of the third trimester of gestation and continue all the way through lactation. The gestation period in dogs spans between 58 to 60 days and is partitioned into three trimesters. For the first two trimesters, feed your pregnant dog as you would a healthy, active adult dog, following the
PMR or BARF model guidelines. Although her food intake will increase, her nutrient demands stay on par with a normal, healthy adult dog.

Once she crosses the 40-day mark of gestation, your dog steps into the third trimester of her pregnancy. This is when the puppies kick into growth overdrive and milk production revs up. These body changes call for a diet makeover to deliver optimal nutrition. As soon as the puppies arrive, mom will start nursing her new-born litter.

The process of milk production is an intense physical task. It demands a surge in essential nutrients and calories to ensure the milk supply is ample to feed a litter of puppies. Lactation kicks in with the birth of the puppies and lasts until they reach 4 weeks of age, when weaning begins.

To meet the nutrient demands during the third trimester and lactation, we're shaking things up with four key revisions to the adult dog ratio guidelines. These adjustments include ramping up edible bone content, opting solely for ruminant liver, incorporating spleen as the other organ, and introducing moderate amounts of starches for a quick energy fix.

Edible Bone: Up the Ante
As the third trimester rolls in, puppies begin their fast-track growth, including their skeletal system. This means the pregnant dog needs an extra calcium boost during the last trimester to maintain balance within her own body and supply enough calcium for her growing puppies.
You can meet this increased calcium demand by slightly elevating the edible bone ratio in a PMR and BARF diet. Typically, a PMR and BARF diet calls for 10% edible bone. However, it's advisable to ramp this up to 15-20% during the third trimester of pregnancy. 

Liver: Boost & Choose Ruminant
The requirement for vitamins and microminerals, specifically iron and copper, soar during the third trimester and lactation. These nutrients are critical for the mother dog to produce nutritionally rich milk for her growing puppies.

We recommend increasing the liver ratio in the diet to support these essential nutrient needs. Typically, a PMR and BARF diet calls for 5% liver. However, during the third trimester and lactation, it's best to increase the liver ratio to 7%.

Other Organ: Go for Spleen
The third trimester of pregnancy also sees a spike in the need for iron, directly linked to the rapid growth of the unborn puppies. As the puppies grow, the mother’s body must supply more blood and oxygen to the puppies, resulting in an increased demand for dietary iron.
You can meet this increased iron demand by choosing a specific ingredient to serve as the other organ ratio in PMR and BARF diets. While a PMR and BARF diet typically calls for 5% other organ, with numerous options to choose from, it's advisable to use spleen as the other organ at 7% during the third trimester and lactation.

Starches: A Quick Energy Fix
Including starches in the diet during the third trimester can provide a quick energy boost. While raw fat is essential, ingredients with some starches will supply glucose for a faster calorie source. Good starch options include pumpkin, sweet potato, and cooked oats.


After the third trimester, around 58 to 60 days of gestation, the puppies make their grand entrance. Upon their arrival, the puppies will start nursing, and should continue for at least 4 weeks. Keep up with these diet recommendations throughout lactation to ensure healthy milk production. Once the puppies start the transition to solid food, revert the diet back to a standard raw diet for adult dogs.

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Nurturing and Nourishing the Nursing Dog
Being a newfound mom to a litter of pups is a challenging job, one that can stoke quite an appetite in your nursing dog. Hence, it's crucial to provide her with an all-you-can-eat feast of premium-quality food, tailored to meet her unique nutritional needs during this demanding time.

The ideal diet for your nursing dog should be nutrient-rich, supporting her overall well-being while fueling the production of high-quality milk for her pups. It should pack a punch of energy, top-grade protein, essential fats, minerals, and a generous dose of vitamins, while keeping carbohydrates and unnecessary additives at a minimum.

The goal is to supply as much milk-inducing food as possible to help her effortlessly care for her pups, without compromising her own health. This doesn't necessarily mean a drastic change from her usual homemade diet but requires thoughtful considerations such as:

  • Ensuring ample liquid intake for milk production

  • High-quality protein to maintain her energy

  • Balanced, calcium-rich minerals

  • Concentrated energy sources

  • Vital B vitamins to aid in energy utilisation

  • Essential fatty acids, stabilised with vitamin E

  • Vitamin C to fortify the immune system and manage stress

  • Vitamin A to uphold her immune system's health and the internal lining of her mammary gland

With the right nutrition, your nursing dog can happily and healthily raise her pups while maintaining her own prime condition.

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