Dog Caloric Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation

Size of canine fetuses increase little during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant dogs should not be overfed during this time or they will become obese. Caloric intake should increase during the last half of pregnancy and the number of daily feedings should also increase. During lactation, calories are necessary for maintenance and milk production where caloric requirements can be 3 to 5 times greater than maintenance. Lactating animals should eat 3 to 4 times a day.

Dogs' weight should be optimum and their diet should be complete and balanced diet at the time of breeding. Dogs underweight at breeding may be in poor condition at weaning. Obese animal may have a difficult delivery. The formula for estimating caloric requirements during pregnancy and lactation is based on optimum adult weight rather than actual weight. This allows thin animals to gain and obese ones to lose weight during pregnancy. The animal with an optimum adult body weight at breeding should weigh the same at weaning. Use the following formulas:


Body weight0.75  X 132 = Kilocalories needed for weeks 1-5

Pregnancy week 5      = maintenance Kilocalories X 1.1

Pregnancy week 6-9    = maintenance Kilocalories X 1.2

Lactation week 1      = maintenance Kilocalories X 1.5

Lactation week 2      = maintenance Kilocalories X 2.0

Lactation week 3-5    = maintenance Kilocalories X 3.0


Figures for maintenance body weight0.75 X 125 can be found for any animal in Table 4.1. This value by can be increased by 5 to 6 percent to satisfy the needs of the formula for the first 5 weeks of pregnancy.