Raw Feeding & Pregnancy
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 naturally balanced and packed with high quality protein, energy, electrolytes & other essential nutrients – calcium, folic acid & omega 3 fatty acids and more. If you are already feeding a well-balanced and complete raw food diet including a variety of muscle meat, bones and organs you are supplying your dogs needs of natural nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, electrolytes and more in a naturally balanced form. 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 and 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%
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 we advise breeders to reduce the bone content & ultimately calcium. This is what mums 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 food she receives by (1 to 2 %) continue with this amount for 1 week and after mating drop back to the normal amount, you can 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 when breeding.
- 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.
- 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.