Pregnancy and nursing are not only responsible for many changes in a dog's body, but for changes in her lifestyle as well. If your dog is pregnant or nursing, pay special attention to her changing nutritional needs as she carries, delivers and nurses her puppies.
Before Pregnancy: Plan Ahead
If you're planning to breed your female dog, it’s important to assess her body condition well in advance of breeding. Because of the physical demands of pregnancy and nursing, a dog with less-than-ideal health can experience problems:
- An underweight dog often has difficulty consuming enough food to support both her own nutritional needs and those of her developing puppies.
- Overweight dogs may experience abnormal or difficult labor because of large fetuses.
Be sure to feed the proper amounts of a complete and balanced diet. This will support the mother's healthy weight and body condition before breeding and help maintain her health and that of her babies throughout pregnancy and lactation.
Pregnancy: Monitor Your Dog’s Weight Gain
The gestation period for dogs is nine weeks. Pregnant dogs gain weight only slightly until about the sixth week, and then gain weight rapidly.
The energy requirements of pregnant dogs are reflected in the pattern of weight gain. Pregnant dogs will need to consume 25% to 50% more than their normal food intake by the end of pregnancy, but energy requirements do not increase until about the sixth week.
The best diet for pregnant and nursing dogs is a high-quality, nutrient-dense pet food formulated for all life stages or for growth. Although puppy diets are generally recommended for pregnant or nursing dogs, large-breed puppy formulas may not be appropriate for this use due to their adjusted energy and mineral content.
Nursing: Make Sure Your Dog Gets Sufficient Nutrition
Pregnant dogs lose weight after giving birth, but their nutritional needs increase dramatically. Depending on litter size, nursing dogs might need two to three times their normal food requirement to nourish their pups. Be sure your nursing mom has plenty of water so she can generate the milk volume she needs to feed the litter.
To help your nursing dog get enough nutrition, you can try several tactics:
- Feed a nutrient-dense diet such as puppy food.
- Without increasing the amount of food offered at a meal, increase the number of meals throughout the day.
- Free-choice feed her, offering unlimited access to dry food throughout the day.
Weaning: Return to a Pre-pregnancy Diet
By four to five weeks after birth, most puppies are showing an interest in their mother’s food. Gradually, the puppies will begin eating more solid food and nursing less. At the same time, the nursing mother will usually begin eating less. Most puppies are completely weaned around age 7 to 8 weeks. By this time, the mother's energy requirement is back to normal, and she should be eating her normal pre-pregnancy diet.
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German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most loved breeds in the world! They're incredibly smart, versatile and learn new behaviors quickly. If that wasn't enough, they're also faithful companions that are very protective of their families.
But before you take the leap and adopt a German Shepherd, there are a few things you must know about looking after one. As is the case with raising a dog of any breed, caring for a German Shepherd needs commitment, patience and understanding.
Here's what it takes to care for a German Shepherd:
a. Exercising German Shepherds
German Shepherds are fantastic creatures in every sense, and it is easy to see why. GSDs are naturally energetic and need dedicated time daily to burn it off. They need at least 60minutes of daily physical exercise such as running and playing fetch in a park. A fit dog is a happy dog and one that is exercised regularly will not be happy, but healthy too.
b. Grooming German Shepherds
Be prepared to keep your vacuum cleaner handy. GSDs have thick coats, making them prone to shedding. Grooming your GSD takes time as well. You will need to give your pet a comb down at least 3 times a week. But you won’t need to bathe your dog too often (unless advised to do so by your vet).
c. Dog Food for German Shepherds
To stay healthy and active, German Shepherds require complete and balanced meals that are tailor-made to meet their unique needs. You could try a premium recipe like IAMS™ Proactive Health™ for Adult German Shepherds, which is specially formulated food for German Shepherds. This recipe is a blend of beet pulp and prebiotics (FOS) that supports healthy digestion, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins to support a healthy heart, and Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids to support skin and coat health. We recommend dividing their daily intake into two meals.
SIZE OF GERMAN SHEPHERD
RECOMMENDED DAILY FEEDING (g)
20-30 kg 245-330 30-40 kg 330-410 40-50 kg 410-485 50-60 kg 485-555
d. Diseases German Shepherds are Susceptible to
Like most dog breeds, German Shepherds are prone to diseases as well. But here are a few common diseases they are known to suffer from. Hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, degenerative myelopathy, inherited eye diseases, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, skin and heart disease, and thyroid disease. If you remain dedicated to providing your dog with the right kind of nutrition along with proper exercise, you should be able to keep illness at bay.
Some Facts About German Shepherd Care
German Shepherds are a special breed. They have high energy, are strong and have oodles of stamina. But they also need a lot of attention and activity. If you are away from home frequently or dont have the time to spend exercising or grooming them, then a German Shepherd isn't the right choice for you. So are you ready to start caring for a German Shepherd? Ask yourself these questions before making a decision:
Do I have the time and energy to train my German Shepherd?
Do I have enough space in my home for such a large dog to flourish?
Am I financially stable to care for my GSD if any health issues arise?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you are ready to enjoy an action-packed life with
your furry new friend!
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