The pregnancy period of a bitch is nine weeks and it needs no alteration in the amount of her diet until after the fourth week of pregnancy when you should have some indication a good indication of whether she carries puppies or not. During the first three weeks of gestation the bodies limbs and tail develop and for the final six weeks they grow.
During the last five weeks of pregnancy the bitch’s food, especially the protein content, should be increased to about 70% more maintenance level. If it is given raw meat remember to increase the bone flour and cod-liver oil as well. She will need this to form the skeletons of puppies. But if she is fed on commercially available feed the increase in volume will take care of all the vitamin supplementation necessary. Meals should be given three or four times a day towards the end of pregnancy, as it will be found that the bitch cannot take a large amount of food at one time.
Feeding of Puppies
Due to one reason or other puppies may need hand feeding. If they are milk drinking stage bottle feed them with well boiled and cooled milk made of fresh or tinned standard milk powder enriched with sufficient sugar, multi-vitamins and mineral mixtures like Electral etc.
As the puppies grow change the feed into semi-liquid and to solid feeds. If suitable substitute commercial feeds are available locally purchasing such feeds may be better than taking the trouble of preparing puppy feeds at home.
Weaning can begin at about three weeks of age. But preparation for weaning by giving puppy feeds or human baby feeds four times a day and try to make it depends only on hand feeding and less and less on its own mother’s milk. Gradually change the puppy feed from the liquid to semi-liquid and then to solid by the time it is weaned completely from the mother.
Before the complete weaning from the mother, keep the puppy for few nights or days separately from its mother. Thus prepare the puppy by physically and psychologically for a complete weaning. The care taker should give enough attention and love to the weaned puppies so that what they miss from their mother should be compensated to whatever possible extend.
The basics of feeding given in this booklet will be sufficient for any one to rear and feed the dogs properly at a reasonable good condition. With this basis any one can build his knowledge by reading through the literature's accompanying the feed stuffs bought or from the literature the dog feed companies are promoting. It all depends on the owner/keeper to acquire more and more knowledge and experience from his own practice of rearing.
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