Dog Food Diets For Pregnancy
During pregnancy it is very necessary that the bitch get plenty of calcium, and one source of it is the bones which she is given to chew. Most dogs like a marrowbone above all others, but in this instance it is the marrow which appeals to them and not the bone, for that is too hard for them to do more than chew on. From the standpoint of the calcium which may be obtained, cancellous or porous bones are much better, for the dog can eat these as well as chew on them.
As pregnancy advances, calcium becomes more important. At one time it was thought that adding lime water to the dog's drinking dish supplied it, but now this custom has been discarded. Calcium is practically insoluble, and such small amounts can be held in solution as to be almost worthless. Moreover, calcium is not assimilated by the body except in very small quantities unless activated by some other substance. When given in compounds, such as calcium gluconate or calcium lactate, most of it is assimilated. However, in pregnancy I find that dicalcium phosphate is the most satisfactory compound to use, and when fed in combination with milk or cod-liver oil it is still more beneficial. Porous bones are of little value unless cod-liver oil is also being fed in the daily diet.
Since vitamin B is likely to be deficient, all bitches should have extra quantities of compounds bearing this vitamin immediately after breeding. This will ward off milk fits, which are not caused by nervousness but by a deficiency of this vitamin in the diet of the mother during pregnancy. It is advised that a compound such as thiamin hydrochloride be given every second day. This not only supplies B complex vitamins, but also vitamin D, and thus aids in the assimilation of calcium.
In the early stages of pregnancy, that is, the first three weeks, a bitch requires very little extra care. At the end of this time she should be wormed for round-, hook-, and tapeworms. Use any reputable worm medicine, and follow directions carefully. In about a week's time give her a second treatment, to make sure that all of these pests are cleared out of her system. If this is not done, the young are almost sure to be infested with the eggs, which will hatch after the puppies are born. It is much more satisfactory from the standpoint of the health of the puppies to see that the bitch is free of them before they have had a chance to be transmitted to the young.