WHAT PRODUCTS TO ADVISE FOR
REPRODUCTIVE BITCHES ?
The reproduction period implies new nutritional requirements for the bitch. It is undispensable to know how to advise the right products within the RCCI Size range.
Evolution of nutritional requirements during the reproduction period
After the 5th week of gestation, the bitch's energetic and proteic requirements increase. (Proteins represent 70 to 80 % of the dry matter of the newborn puppy). A puppy food is usually the right answer to the pregnant bitch's requirements. It will be distributed progressively from the 5th week, respecting a soft transition with the maintenance product previously fed. It is important to check that the bitch's bodyweight does not expand too much : the gain of weight should not go over 25-30 % of the bodyweight during the heat. The daily food will be distributed in 2 -3 meals per day.
After delivery, the nutritional requirements go on increasing, until the peak of lactation, around the 3rd week. However, requirements depend on the litter and the breed sizes: the larger they are, the more the bitch has to use its energy storage. The energetic requirement may double or even treble compared to maintenance in large breed bitches with a numerous litter. A high-energy food, served ad libitum, is then necessary. This diet will be fed until the weaning of the puppies, or even longer if the bitch has lost some weight compared to the mating period. As soon as the optimal bodyweight has been reached again, one may comes back progressively to the initial maintenance diet.
Small breed bitches (less than 10 kg)
They rarely give birth to more than 2 - 4 puppies, but each of them is relatively heavy: it represents at least 3 % of its mother's bodyweight. Consequently, a dietary transition towards a diet more concentrated in proteins and energy must take place, as for the other breeds. A bitch that receives Mini Adult 1 will progressively pass on Starter (or Medium Energy), during the 5th week of gestation. The daily quantities will increase of 10 % per week until delivery, while checking carefully the weight gain of the bitch. When the bitch gets too fatty at its term, the delivery is often difficult and the cesarean more likely. Small breed bitches are the most predisposed to this type of accident.
After delivery, Starter (ou Mini Energy) will keep on being fed ad lib. until weaning, or later is the bitch needs to be shaped up.
Middle breed bitches (from 10 up to 25 kg)
Here, the litter is generally larger than in the previous case (4 to 8 puppies), but the individual size of the puppies goes down: between 1;5 and 3 % of their mother's bodyweight. As for small breeds, the best nutritional solution is to get the bitch used to consume a puppy food from the 5th week of gestation: transition from Medium Adult 1 to Starter (or Medium Energy). Let her consume this product until the weaning of the puppies.
A 20 kg bitch with 6 puppies can easily produce up to 40 liters of milk during the whole lactation. This high production justifies the fact that Starter (or Medium Energy) can be fed without any restriction during the lactation.
ge breed bitches (over 25 kg)
These bitches easily carry 8 to 12 puppies, but each of them represents less than, 1;5 % of the bitch's bodyweight. If the bitch already eat Maxi Adult 1 (GR26), she will be progressively used to be fed Starter (or Maxi Energy) around the 5th week of gestation. This product will be mainly necessary during lactation, but it important to make the transition way before delivery. Switching to Maxi Junior would be a mistake: this product is formulated in order to limit the energetic intake of large breed puppies. It contains only 14 % of fat and only provides 3960 kcal/ kg. Then, it would be disadvised in the case of the pregnant bitch.
A 40 kg bitch with 10 puppies produces more than 4 liters of milk per day, which represents an energetic expenditure comparable to the one of a sportive dog during competition period. Among Royal Canin products, the most suitable ones are then Starter or Maxi Energy: with 22 to 25 % fat, they are the ideal food for the lactation of large breed bitches.
Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website