If this is your first time breeding your female dog, then being prepared for the changes to your female’s body is important! Outside of the obvious changes, such as a swelling belly and hardened nipples, there are some lesser thought-of changes, such as loss of appetite.
It’s not uncommon for female dogs to lose their appetite after mating; this can be a sign of pregnancy. Loss of appetite is the dog version of morning sickness. In the early stages of pregnancy, don’t force your dog to eat; If she does not eat within two or three days, it’s time to call a vet.
In this article, I will unveil where the loss of appetite may come from and how you can remedy this to ensure your dog gets enough nutrition!
Ready? Let’s begin.
When it concerns pregnancy, humans and dogs actually aren’t so different. You see, when a female is pregnant, the hormones in the body begin to drastically change (and rather quickly as well).
This change isn’t always so well received by the rest of the body, which tends to cause discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and (you guessed it) loss of appetite. This is a bit of a universal conundrum, and in humans, we call it ‘morning sickness’.
A dog version of morning sickness will almost always manifest in turning a nose up at food. It makes sense; you don’t have an appetite with nausea as well!
As such, if your female dog is experiencing appetite loss, that’s a big clue as to the mating being potentially successful. A veterinarian should be consulted to confirm the pregnancy, but it’s definitely a sign.
Not all dogs lose their appetite; however, some simply eat a bit less but do continue eating. Some dogs don’t experience a decrease in food at all. It’s dependent upon the individual female dog!
Later in the pregnancy, dogs begin to catch up on the food they didn’t eat at the beginning and increase their appetite.
The above being said, although a loss of appetite is normal for a pregnant female, that doesn’t mean the phenomenon shouldn’t be addressed. Ensuring your female gets enough nutrition is fundamental for a healthy pregnancy resulting in healthy puppies.
In the very beginning stages of pregnancy, you don’t need to immediately worry about your dog not wanting. Don’t try to force food down her throat. A healthy female dog will eat within a day or two; dogs don’t skip their meals for that long (due to a self-preservation instinct). You can try to tempt your dog into eating by offering foods such as chicken and rice, boiled beef, or something tantalizing.
However, if your dog is lapsing on food going on day three, that is certainly time to call up the vet because this is not normal behavior. That means that something else is quite wrong that is counteracting the self-preservation instinct, and further tests should be run. Not eating beyond three days is dangerous territory.
After you’ve bred your female dog, post-mating care needs to be done to ensure her health and increase the chances for viability.
Make sure your dog continues on a nutritious and balanced diet. Although your female dog’s nutritional needs only increase a minimal amount and only later on in the pregnancy, good food continues to be a very important factor.
As a general rule, feed a diet that is tantalizing (to encourage food intake) and highly digestible, as the digestive system may be a bit sensitive after the hormone influx. Protein should make up at least 29% of the food, and 17% of the food should be fat.
To guarantee enough energy intake and prevent hypoglycemia in late pregnancy, foods with high concentrations of soluble carbohydrates and low fiber concentrations are crucial. For the female dog to produce enough milk for the puppies, she has to consume enough calcium (between 1 and 1.8 percent) and phosphorus (between.8 and 1.6 percent).
It is unnecessary to considerably increase your female dog’s food intake during the first five to six weeks of pregnancy. This is because less than 30% of fetal development takes place during these initial few weeks. In contrast, fetal growth picks up speed in the final three to four weeks of pregnancy.
By the time of whelping, the dog’s food intake should have been gradually raised by a total of 15% to 25% to provide a suitable rise in body weight and nutritional reserves. Having smaller, more frequent meals during this crucial period helps maintain nutritional intake.
Improper feeding post-mating can cause the puppy fetuses to calcify, the female to abort her puppies, or various birth defects to occur. As such, consult with your veterinarian about proper feeding during this sensitive time in your female dog’s life!