many breeders suggest "bitch pills"
other breeders suggest over the counter puppy vitimins
During the first three weeks of gestation, the well-conditioned bitch may undergo little or no weight gain. The consumption of a high quality adult dog food is sufficient unless the bitch is underweight. Bitches that enter pregnancy excessively thin should eat a growth or performance food to rapidly correct their condition.
Occasionally, bitches have poor appetites throughout pregnancy. During the last half of pregnancy, energy requirements increase, as does the need for protein and carbohydrates. This is usually provided by the increased intake of a feed for growth, pregnancy and lactation. Too rapid alteration of diet may lead to gastrointestinal distress.
The amount of food required by a pregnant bitch in later gestation increases in proportion with litter size and growth. A 40 percent average increase in food consumption accompanies the 20-55 percent increase in body weight. Because of increased intra-abdominal pressure from the enlarging uterus, multiple small meals are easier for the bitch to consume.
Bitches carrying large litters may have abdominal discomfort the last week of gestation and experience a decrease in appetite. Many, but not all, bitches will stop eating 24-48 hours before delivery.
The administration of supplemental vitamins and supplements to pregnant bitches is discouraged. Calcium supplementation is contraindicated.
Although calcium requirements increase in the pregnant bitch, they are met by the increased amount of food ingested. Excess calcium above the amount provided by a high quality diet suppresses parathyroid hormone production and increases the bitch's risk of puerperal hypocalcemia.
Excess vitamin A has been associated with congenital defects, including cleft palates. Folate deficiencies have been associated with fetal defects in humans. While premium dog foods should contain enough folate, supplementation of B vitamins is not harmful. Dogs produce sufficient vitamin C of their own and do not require supplementation. Excess vitamin D may complicate the calcium mobilization ability of the bitch. Supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids will maximize cerebral and retinal development in the fetuses.