The mother is slowly but surely starting to get rounder around the belly, and soon you will even start to see and feel movements when the little puppies are kicking with a tiny paw. Then the magical and perhaps nervous moment approaches when all the little ones will make their entrance into the world. Now we move on to what happens during the second half of pregnancy and then the big event - birth!
In this part we will go through a checklist for birth, what can be good to think about after a caesarean section and the mother's nutritional needs during the last part of the pregnancy and lactation.
Checklist for the puppies' birth - prepare!
Prepare the puppy pen
The female needs a quiet and safe place to take care of her puppies. Prepare the puppy pen well in advance so that mother has time to make herself feel at home in it.
Write down what you need and start ticking off
There is a lot of things that are good to have at home before the birth and it is nice to feel safe and prepared. Small and clean towels, thermometer, scale and a notepad where you also wrote down phone numbers for veterinarians are examples of things that are good to have close by.
Read about the birth if you need to, and start taking the mother's temperature
During the last weeks of pregnancy, it is good to start taking the mother's temperature daily to know her normal temperature and thus note when the first drop comes, which usually indicates that birth is approaching.
Then it starts. Each birth has different processes and passes in different ways - fast or over several hours. The mother begins to show signs that something is going on by being restless, wander around and start to lie down and stand up every now and then. Labour starts and one by one small noses peak out and the mother puts full focus on taking care of and washing them. Enjoy the moment - it's something completely magical when a whole litter of small puppies starts squeaking and crawl around, and then calmly settles down and takes their first sips of nutritious and important milk from their proud mother. Do you want to share a birth story with us that has been special? Feel free to get in touch with us, there is always a lot to learn from each other!
What happens during a caesarean section & what to think about afterwards
The majority of all births go smoothly and calmly - dogs have strong instincts and solve most things at a birth all by themselves. But sometimes things go wrong, the labour do not start or a puppy may have got stuck on the way out. Sometimes this can be solved at the veterinary clinic without having to go on to a caesarean section, but in some situations it is the only way out. During a caesarean section, the veterinarian enters the abdomen via an incision and take the puppies out directly from the uterus. After this, the mother also needs to recover and may have a harder time producing milk in the beginning - for this reason, milk substitutes are also a good thing to have at home, if the little ones need to be fed extra.
What nutritional needs does the pregnant mother have at this stage?
During the second half of the pregnancy, the puppies start to grow a lot - here the mother's feed needs also start to increase! She needs to get more energy, fat and protein, but at the same time may have difficulty eating large amounts because the puppies take up a lot of space in the stomach. The mother can also more easily become nauseous and have a poorer appetite. For this reason, it is good to divide the mother's rations into several servings during the day, to be sure that she gets her entire daily need for nutrition.
During lactation, the feed requirement increases even more - during the puppies' third week of life, the mother's energy requirement can be quadrupled! The large milk production also means that the need for calcium has increased. During this time, most dogs can have free access to food, and ensure that the mother gets peace and quiet so that she eats properly.
petgoods puppy food contains higher levels of energy, fat and protein for the puppies' development and growth in the stomach. It also meets the mother's increased need for calcium. In the next newsletter, we will elaborate on why calcium is so vital - which is one of the reasons why the mother needs a puppy food.
Read our feeding recommendations for nursing mothers here.
Gabriella at Änglarnas kennel tells us about one of her petgood litters
It is now 4 months since we switched to petgood insect-based feed. A litter of puppies has grown up with only this food for 8 weeks and the puppies have been stable in the stomach and in the body condition. Our puppies are in some cases quite picky but they devoured every single kibble with a good appetite. The mother that gave birth to this litter has stayed in a good body condition both before and after birth and has now 11 weeks after birth basically recovered completely.
Read more about Änglarnas kennel here.