Diet is essential for the well being of all species of animal, SARF feeding provides the best foundation for the health of your bitch and her future pups, it’s packed with high quality protein, energy & other essential nutrients – calcium, folic acid & omega 3 fatty acids. If you are already feeding a well-balanced raw food diet including a variety of muscle meat, bones and organs you are supplying your dogs needs of protein, fat & calcium. These amounts however will need to be increased throughout her pregnancy to ensure her growing energy demands are met along with one or two other changes . We have provided a simple feeding guide below.
Before following these feeding guide lines, please consult your vet to ensure the mum is fit & healthy to ensure a smooth pregnancy.
- 2 weeks prior to her coming into season & 1 week after mating > Increase food portion by 1-2% (give more chicken wings & eggs)
- Before pregnancy is confirmed > Return to normal feeding routine
- First 3 weeks of pregnancy > Continue with normal feeding routine.
- 4th & 5th week increase food by 1-2%
- 6th,7th,8th week increase food by 5-10%, feed this in smaller frequent meals.
- 8th & 9th week (Introduce more muscle & organ meat) reduce amount of bone content by 5%
- 9th week reduce her food by 2% (On the last day before birth many mums go off food completely.)
- After birth > Reduce food by another 2-3%
Please note, mum may be eating more during weeks 6-8 but she shouldn’t be getting fat. She needs the extra protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids & minerals in order to stay strong & produce healthy pups. In the last week or two many breeders reduce the bone content & ultimately calcium, Because this is what mum’s do in the wild naturally! They eat much more meat (and organ meat, particularly liver, which has a laxative effect) they want the higher protein. Too much calcium during pregnancy can cause tissue calcification or other birth defects in puppies.
Before your mum-to-be comes into season you should start to increase the amount of nutrition she receives by (1 to 2 %) continue with this amount for 1 week after mating, then drop back to the normal amount, also give her more chicken wings and eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein that also provide a healthy dose of vitamin D – important for the proper absorption of calcium
If she is healthy and has no apparent health issues then generally you can continue with her normal feeding routine for the first 3 weeks.
At the beginning of the 4th week you need to slowly start to increase her food by 1/3rd (for example if she has 600g of raw food per day increase the amount to 800g) but feed this in smaller frequent meals.
The last three weeks – you should aim to gradually increase the amount of food. This is because it’s during this period that the puppies do most of their growing. The general rule is:
Week 6: increase by 5–10%
Week 7: increase by another 5–10%
Week 8: increase by another 5–10%
By the end of the eighth week Mum should be eating around a third to a half as much as her normal portion. We advise spreading the meals out throughout the day rather than giving it all to her in 1 or 2 sittings.
Week 9: start reducing the amount of food very slightly
By the time mum has given birth, she should be eating about a quarter of what she was eating in week eight. She should also be eating less bone and more meat as you want her diet to have a gentle laxative effect.
Mum may be eating more in those last few weeks, but she shouldn’t be getting fat. What she needs is extra protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals – exactly what you will find in a well-balanced SARF food diet.
There are however, a couple of things you need to avoid during pregnancy.
First of all, don’t give any food with too much Vitamin A (such as cod liver oil or too much liver) in the first five/six weeks of the pregnancy, as it can be dangerous to foetal health, & secondly don’t give mum any extra calcium whilst she’s pregnant as this can negatively impact on mums milk production
Once mum gives birth to her pups she’s probably going to eat the placentas! This is perfectly normal, however if there are any complications or the placentas appear off, remove them so they can’t be eaten. The placentas, along with the stress hormone cortisol, can have a laxative effect and is totally normal for the mum to eat them.
Feeding New Born Pups
Firstly you will be quite aware that puppies, like all animals grow very quickly, leaving very little time to ensure that the foundations of health which are laid down in puppy hood will be good enough to see them through life. When a commercial synthetic food is used to grow your pups, we could very easily compromise their natural growth rate and development.
Why And How A Commercial Diet Could Cause Damage To Your Growing Puppies
When puppies are fed a commercial diet their main energy source will most likely include a lot of carbohydrates, not only this, puppies that are fed a lot of carbohydrates may well become fat and too heavy for their bones; which could cause damage or even deformities.
When we feed our puppies with a commercial diet, anything that has been added to that concoction will also be cooked at very high temperatures, reducing the nutrients/minerals that were available and adding to this the fact the ingredient’s will most likely not come from a great natural and useable source, like the calcium and phosphorus which occurs in a raw diet, what we must realise is that Some person in a white coat somewhere who thinks that it’s fine to feed our carnivores on carbs will also have no problem estimating the artificial addition of nutrients/minerals needed to replace the one’s that have now been cooked out, Suddenly the white coats have replaced Mother Nature and suddenly dogs and animals in general are suffering.
When we feed commercial diets, we are putting our puppies health at risk by assuming the manufacturer has estimated the quantities of these vital minerals correctly, the correct ingredients have been used and our puppy’s or any other animal for that matter can actually process artificial minerals efficiently.
So now, not only do our puppies have to eat artificial food, they now also have to deal with artificial extras !
It’s also very difficult to obtain a true picture when a chemical analysis is made of commercial dog foods. This is because the results will show the mineral levels present – regardless of their source and how useful and obtainable they actually are to the animal. If they cannot process and digest enough of the minerals which appear to be correct in analysis, they risk a deficiency of one or the other and the relationship between the calcium and phosphorus and the very important job they do in growing your pup’s bone and muscle growth will be compromised.
Benefits from Growing Your Puppies With Their SARF Diet
When a pup is fed their SARF diet the protein is from meat and natural fat instead of carbohydrates, this provides a natural and normal growth rate and does not put excess strain and pressure on growing joints from a body mass that has grown too quickly and heavy for its support system – the dog’s bones.
The huge advantage of feeding a SARF diet to your pup is that it will contain little or no carbohydrates. The pup’s energy source will come from protein, meat and fat. A SARF diet also contains fewer calories ounce for ounce than commercial brands of dog food.
Your puppy’s bone growth is influenced by the ratio of Calcium & Phosphorus intake and the source, when your pup is fed their own species appropriate raw food diet which has been designed by Mother Nature specifically for their individual species, the work is done for us.
Calcium & Phosphorus
Nutritional requirements and the biological systems of animals work best when they are in harmony with each other and not at odds.
The deficiency or over abundance of one vital element can very often affect another.
When Calcium and Phosphorus are sourced from a SARF diet, the dog’s system completely embraces the presentation and the growth of your puppies bones is fuelled by energy sourced from the protein of raw meat….. that same meat providing natural phosphorus and the inclusion of raw bone providing calcium, we create a growth system that is correct and sound.
Phosphorus is found in abundance in organ meat and in much lower quantities in muscle meats. Phosphorus directly assists your pup’s bone growth and is responsible for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Calcium is found in abundance in raw bone, bone also contains a little phosphorus, the meatier the bone, the more phosphorus is present. By feeding the less meaty bones, you are providing more calcium.
Growing your Puppies with Their SARF Diet
After the pups are born mum should return close to her ideal weight and maintain this until the puppies are weaned over to solid raw foods and ultimately their SARF diet, with the peak demands for milk generally being between week 3 and 5. For the first three weeks of their lives, your puppies need nothing more than the milk produced by mum. The weaning process to their SARF diet should be gradual, starting at around three to four weeks and assuming that mum’s milk holds out it can take up to between 7-8 weeks. If you notice mum starting to dry up then you may need to speed things up a little. The earliest that we advise starting puppies on raw and solid food is 3 weeks of age, this follows with natures general rule and time frame of between 8-12-weeks, remember their mother’s milk is so much better for their initial development.Once the weaning process is in full swing and depending on the size of the litter size and of course the age of the pups, it’s generally advised to feed between 3% and 6% of their body weight per day divided into two or three meals, however with larger litters you can give mum free choice of the amount she eats so she can keep up with her energy demands.