Lactating mothers of all species need extra nutrition to feed their babies, recover from birthing and meet their own bodies' needs. A nursing bitch needs extra calories and nutrition to care for and feed her puppies.
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Greater Amounts and Calories
A lactating bitch needs at least twice the amount of food than when she is not pregnant or lactating. She should have three large meals a day, plus be free-fed kibble.
Easy Access to Water
It is important that a nursing bitch have easy access to a plentiful supply of water. She needs to be well hydrated to produce enough milk for her puppies.
A Need for More Fat
She needs a diet with at least 17 per cent fat. A bitch's diet can be supplemented with grease, lard, tallow and/or vegetable oils. One tablespoon of fat per cup of dry food is a good rule. Or she could be fed a richer, more nutrient-dense commercial food than her usual diet.
Higher Protein Requirements
Nursing bitches need extra protein. The extra protein goes to the growing puppies via her milk and to her increased metabolic needs due to nursing. Puppy food is a good source of extra protein.
Calcium is Very Important
The nursing bitch has increased calcium needs. A lack of adequate calcium for a lactating bitch could result in her death, as her body will give up its stored calcium to help feed her pups. Cow's milk added to a bitch's diet is an excellent source of extra calcium.
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