We could say that the breeding period is calculated from the time around conception to the weaning of the puppies. Feeding during this period is important to ensure healthy and viable puppies.
The breeding period can be divided into two main stages; gestation and weaning.
Normal gestation period is 63 days +/- 2 days. The weaning period is calculated until the puppies are are around 5-6 weeks old.
In the first 4 – 5 weeks of the gestation, you can give the bitch approximately the same amount of food as before mating. Fetal growth is minimal during this period and therefore no additional nutrient supply is needed. In the last 3 – 4 weeks before the puppies are born, fetal growth increases and you should take this into account by increasing the amount of feed.
In the last week before birth, a quantity of food of approx. 30% above normal amount of feed is recommended, but check feeding guidelines. It is important not to overfeed the bitch.
It is important that mother start eating as soon as possible after birth of the puppies, as energy requirements increase due to large milk production. A dog with a normal litter of puppies (5-8) has an energy requirement that is up to three times the need she has in the first part of the pregnancy period.
Milk production is at the greatest approx. 3 – 4 weeks after birth and will decrease gradually as the puppies start eating dry food at 4 – 6 weeks of age.
Please check feeding guidelines for more information in the product sheets for Appetitt Puppy (Small , Medium or Large Breed).
To increase feed intake, it is recommended to feed several times a week. day and to soak the dry feed in water (approx. 20 minutes) before feeding. This makes the feed more palatable and also contributes to additional water supply. Furthermore, supplementary feeding with energy-rich wet food can also be recommended to help ensure enough energy for the bitch..