Nutritional Requirements of Bitches and Puppies
1. Nutritional Requirements of Pregnant and Lactating Bitches
In general, pregnant and lactating bitches should be fed diets that are high in energy [30% protein, 20% fat, dry matter base (DMB)], highly digestible, and balanced in vitamins and minerals. Food labels should be labeled as appropriate for each physiologic stage. Food intake should not be increased during the first 5 weeks of pregnancy; however, during the last 3 months, intake should be increased to 1.25 to 1.5 times the maintenance requirement level. During pregnancy, the bitch’s protein requirement increases by 70% above the maintenance requirement to 6.3 g/419 kJ (100 kcal), with a preference for high quality animal protein.
2. Nutritional requirements of puppies (weaning to 6 months of age)
Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for promoting a healthy immune system, skin and coat, both in embryonic and developing puppies. Foods should contain moderate amounts of essential fatty acids (recommended by the American Association of Feed Control Officials, AAFCO, at 0.05% DHA), including linoleic acid, which promotes growth and development. Feeding DHA-enriched diets to 12-week-old puppies can improve memory and vision. omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA, are essential for normal retinal function and hearing development in puppies.
In large and giant dogs, the development of osteoarthritis oA, exfoliative osteochondritis dissecans, hip dysplasia, and metabolic bone disease is often associated with rapid growth. Calcium supplements should therefore not be used and can adversely affect bone growth, especially in large puppies. Natural supplements such as yogurt and bleu cheese contain excessive amounts of calcium, e.g., 450 mg of calcium per cup of yogurt.
Several nutritional supplements in puppy pet diets
As nutritional science has evolved, certain nutrients and ingredients have been found to have more beneficial effects on animals than previously recognized, and colostrum is one of those nutrients that has shown more effects than previously recognized. Neonatal mammals acquire passive immunity within the first 24 h of life because the permeable gastrointestinal tract allows the large amount of immunoglobulins in breast milk colostrum to pass freely through the intestinal barrier 24-48 h after birth. However, transfer of these factors is shorter in kittens and puppies, with optimal transfer occurring in the first 3 to 6 h and being completed at 16 to 24 h. The transfer of these factors to kittens and puppies is also shorter. These nutrients and ingredients contain bioactive components that promote immunity and gastrointestinal system development. Colostrum has been identified as one of the ingredients that provide this immunostimulating bioactive component.
Prebiotic cellulose is known for its immune-stimulating, anti-cancer, anti-diarrheal and increased nutrient absorption properties. Common prebiotics include inulin, dextrin, fructooligosaccharides (FOSs), mono-oligosaccharides and beet residue.
Probiotics have been successfully used in dogs and cats since 1985 to maintain and restore disturbances in the animal’s intestinal flora caused by dietary changes, stress, and antibiotic treatment.
Feeding a well-balanced commercial diet to nursing and growing young pets provides the macronutrients (protein, fat, etc.) vitamins, minerals and other supplements necessary for normal growth and development. The addition of DHA, prebiotic fiber, colostrum and probiotics to the diet can have a beneficial effect on your pet’s gastrointestinal health, microflora and immune system growth and development.