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Most breeders will start to put their females onto a quality puppy food during the last three weeks of their pregnancies, and then continue them on the puppy food until the puppies are weaned.
The reason for this is that puppy foods tend to be much higher in calories and a pregnant and lactating female is going to need these additional calories in her diet to help with her milk production and to keep up her energy.
Royal Canin has a pretty decent overview of feeding changes in pregnant and lactating dogs that might be helpful to you. It's found here -
Abby answered on 11/30/07. Helpful? / 0
A lactating dog should be put on a high-quality puppy food. She needs nutrients to sustain both her AND her puppies.
When looking for a puppy food, four of the first six ingredients should be meat. Avoid By-products, wheat in any form, corn in any form, dyes, menadione bisulfite complex, and undefined meat sources (ie, "Animal Meat/Fat"). All of those bad ingredients are known to cause cancer in dogs.
You won't find any good quality pet foods at grocery stores, so you'll probably have to go to a pet store to find a good dog food. I recommend Canidae, Innova, Solid Gold, Wellness, Natural Balance, or Kikrland (found at Costco).
Avoid: Science Diet, Kibbles n Bits, Dog Chow, GoodlifeRecipe, Alpo, and Iams.
For a bit more info you can go to:
It has some great info!