Pregnancy & Weaning: Natural Nutrition For Expecting Mothers, Pups, and Kittens

Written on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Pregnancy & Weaning: Natural Nutrition For Expecting Mothers, Pups, and Kittens

Infant carnivores and expecting mothers have special dietary needs that can be addressed easily with a raw pet food diet. The raw diet is so nutritious that pregnant/lactating mothers and growing animals don’t need excessive supplementation. Certain foods can be added to provide extra nutrients needed during these times.

Expecting mothers will need smaller meals as their bellies become full of babies. Her stomach will not have as much space to expand so feeding 3-4 small meals per day is more appropriate than one or two larger ones. Pregnant dogs and cats will also need extra folic acid and vitamins to help their babies grow. Giving foods that naturally contain these nutrients will ensure your pet is absorbing them and staying healthy during this demanding life process. The liver is the most natural source of folic acid for carnivores as well as dark leafy green vegetables. The mother’s body will also need extra essential fatty acids, best given in the form of cold-pressed salmon, mackerel, or sardine oil. Contact us or your vet to find out how much oil is appropriate for your dog or cat’s weight and health status.

Once the mother has given birth, allow her to ingest the nutrient-rich placenta and allow each infant to drink the colostrum, the first milk excreted. Colostrum contains essential antibodies to help the immune system develop correctly. Once pups and kittens are regularly nursing, you will need to increase mom’s food and make sure she has daily access to raw bones so that she can lactate easily and stay healthy. The mother will need up to twice her normal daily nutritional requirement but it will depend on how many pups or kittens she is caring for and her overall health status. Bones contain much-needed calcium that the mother passes on to her growing babies, essential for growing bones and brains of infants and maintaining healthy bones of mother. Watch for digestive upset or diarrhea in pups or kittens. If this occurs, decrease the mother’s food intake slightly as it may be that she is producing too much milk and pups are consuming too much of this rich food.

Weaning usually begins as the pups and kittens reach 4 weeks of age but begin the process slowly and let the pups and mother help you determine the speed at which you wean them. As time progresses, introduce large bones to pups and chicken necks to kittens to practice chewing on. You will need to slowly decrease the amount the mother is getting so that she stops producing as much milk. This should all be done in a gradual fashion and with veterinary supervision. To start the weaning process, introduce ground meals (with bone included) from 3P Naturals. Use only a small amount at first, 1tsp-1tbsp depending on the size of the babies. Watch the stool of pups/kittens to ensure you are not moving too fast. As you decrease the mother’s food rations, increase her babies’ food proportionately. By 8-10 weeks the young should be fully weaned and eating a ground raw diet with all the components of the raw diet including bones.

When pups and kittens go to their new home, they will grow rapidly. They will need up to 200g of food per 10lbs of body weight. Be sure to educate your pup or kitten owners on raw pet food diets so that they learn the correct methods for feeding a raw diet and to ensure that they are not under/overfeeding their new pet. To get details on your pet’s individual needs, contact us. Please see our other articles for more details on how to create a healthy raw diet.

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