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Are There Prenatal Vitamins for Dogs? Health & Care Facts

Commercial prenatal vitamins for dogs do exist but find out from your veterinarian what, if any, vitamins your pregnant dog needs and whether to get them from supplements or her regular diet.

Written by: Claire Primo, CVT, ACMT, FFCP

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Pregnant dog resting in white bed

Are There Prenatal Vitamins for Dogs? Health & Care Facts

If you’ve bred or are considering breeding your female dog, you may be wondering how to support her body and the development of her litter in utero. As humans, we highly encourage the use of prenatal vitamins for pregnant females, which contain an array of vitamins, folic acid, iron, and zinc. Does something like this exist for dogs, and if not, what are some ways that you, as a pet parent, can support your pregnant dog?

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Prenatal Vitamins for Dogs

Commercial prenatal vitamins for dogs exist, but the truth is that the best prenatal vitamins for your pregnant dog are likely to be already found in your dog’s quality, commercial diet. Be sure that this food is labeled for all life stages.

Research shows that folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of certain birth defects, such as cleft palates, neural tube defects, and spinal bifida. Additional supplements that may be considered are EFA, DHA, and Vitamin B9.

It is paramount to consult your veterinarian for guidance before beginning any of these supplements. Please do not give human prenatal vitamins to your dog.

Pregnant Yellow Labrador Retriever lying in wooden whelping box
When creating a whelping box for dogs, you’ll need to measure for space, add comfortable bedding and set up a pet cam so you can discretely observe that everyone is OK. ©Dorling Kindersley Ltd/ Alamy Stock Photo

How to Support Your Pregnant Dog

The prenatal care begins before your dog becomes pregnant!

Prenatal care includes:

  • Assessing genetics. It is not responsible to breed dogs who have a history of genetic disease, such as dysplasia. Do your due diligence and consult your veterinarian before breeding your dog.
  • Proper diet. This is possibly one of the most critical aspects when supporting pregnant dogs. Their best and most sustainable diet is a quality, commercial diet. You can feed your pregnant female as you would any healthy dog during the first two trimesters as long as she is not gaining or losing too much weight. During the third and final trimester, it is recommended to switch to a commercial puppy formulation. Avoid large-breed puppy formulations, as the calcium-phosphorus content will not support your healthy dog. Discuss the best diet with your veterinarian.
  • Maintain appropriate weight. Both underweight and overweight dogs and their litters are at risk. Underweight dogs are likely malnourished and are at risk of stillbirths or underweight puppies. Obesity during pregnancy can cause a myriad of issues, including difficulty during labor and decreased milk production.
  • Work with your veterinary team. Find a veterinarian who specializes in breeding dogs and establish a relationship! Pregnancy can be stressful and anxiety-producing, especially the closer your pup gets to going into labor. Having a medical team on standby will be absolutely essential, not only for your peace of mind but also for the health of your pregnant dog and her litter.

When it comes to breeding a dog, some of the most important aspects for success include how healthy she is entering into pregnancy, your resources for supporting her through pregnancy, and postpartum care. Always consult your veterinarian before deciding to breed your dog to ensure that you and your pup are fully prepared!

Note: Dogster believes in spaying and neutering dogs so as not to add to the many homeless dogs in rescues and shelters. Never breed dogs on a whim and spay her to avoid having your dog get accidentally pregnant. Responsible dog breeders strive for the highest level of care, keep litters to a minimum, and offer a home for life for all their dogs so none ever end up homeless. Read more on responsible dog breeders here.

Featured Image Credit: TatyananGI/Getty images

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