FunNature & AnimalHow to raise a lactating dog

How to raise a lactating dog

The newcomer almost immediately requires the entry into his body of the food that his mother has to provide, vital food at a crucial moment in the life of the animal: his landing in the world.

This arrival at its final destination requires the ingestion of colostrum , the mother’s first milk production with nutritional and immune characteristics that will protect the puppy and provide it with the necessary nutrients.

Colostrum comes to provide up to 90% of defenses with which to face infectious agents that may be lurking; the remaining 10% have been acquired inside the mother before birth.

But colostrum not only ensures immunity, nutrition… ingesting colostrum by the puppy will ensure a necessary increase in circulatory volume: the little being goes from having a shared circulation with siblings and mother to being absolutely, fully independent; For this reason, the ingestion of food is vital, a food that apart from the obvious functions (nutrition) provides the optimal circulatory volume, which ensures that all the systems and devices of the little being work perfectly.

In the event that the puppies do not have a mother (abandonment of the little ones, absence, illness or death of the mother) it may be impossible to supply colostrum, but it is essential that if we cannot provide the immune part that small animals require, Less we ensure the nutritional part in the best possible way .

And what is the best possible way?

Unfortunately, and as it happens with the doubts that may arise in the management of non-rationals, networks offer us a large number of “solutions”, many of them, too many, without any scientific basis; we can find all kinds of mixtures based on various types of cow’s milk, with or without eggs and various ingredients of dubious (benevolent) utility.

In the case of having to feed a puppy that does not have its mother, we must use formula for dogs, of the best quality that we can afford and, always, after consultation with the health professional, with the veterinarian.

The assessment to ensure that the development of the puppies is optimal involves weighing them daily during the first two weeks of life and, subsequently, every three days until they are one month old. Birth weight typically doubles by 7-10 days and increases 6-10-fold by 6 weeks of age.

There is a rule to control the proper weight gain of the puppy:

“A puppy can gain 2-4 grams of weight per day for every kilogram that it will weigh as an adult”

To understand it better, let’s think that the puppy is of a breed that will weigh 40 kilos as an adult; the pup can gain between 80 (2×40) and 160 (4×40) grams per day.

This rule is fairly accurate up to the first five weeks of age.

Most dogs will reach 50% of their adult weight by four months of age ; rapid growth will continue until six to nine months and is usually completed by one year, with the exception of giant breeds (Great Dane, Saint Bernard, …) which do not stop growing until sixteen to eighteen months, completing their growth at two years.

If the puppy, despite the efforts of the mother, or our own efforts, cries continuously, or does not gain weight , we must ask ourselves that for some reason it is not consuming enough milk or that the one it consumes is not of sufficient quality . What to do then? :

  1. Go to the vet with the mother to rule out a possible pathology causing a decrease in milk production or in its quality.
  2. Make sure that the mother consumes enough of a good quality food (growth-lactation).
  3. Check that the puppy does not have any pathology that prevents it from ingesting and/or assimilating food.

And as we have been able to verify, that the mother is properly fed is essential for the puppy to receive quality milk… how can we achieve this?

The presence of fresh and clean water is extremely important, providing the liquid element in a way that is palatable and ensures the necessary intake is almost as important as that the bitch receives the best quality food of the growth-lactation type .

  • Allow the mother to consume enough of said food to maintain her weight.
  • In the case of lactating females, freely available food ensures that they will eat the necessary amount and according to their needs.

As always, and even more so in a process as important as the start of a new partner’s life, we must follow the professional’s recommendations to the letter.

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