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How Much Weight Should a Pregnant Dog Gain?

Maintaining the right weight for a pregnant dog is crucial for her health and the health of her puppies. Here's a guide on what to expect and how to manage your dog's weight during pregnancy.

Early Pregnancy (First Five Weeks)

During the first five weeks of pregnancy, a dog should not gain or lose significant weight. Weighing her weekly is the best way to monitor her progress and ensure she's getting the right amount of food.

Later Stages of Pregnancy (Last Three Weeks)

In the last three weeks of pregnancy, the dog should start gaining weight. The amount of weight gain will vary depending on her breed, body structure, and litter size. Generally, increasing her food intake by 10% each week from week five until delivery should suffice. On average, she should gain about 15-25% of her body weight during this period. For example, an average-sized dog like a Golden Retriever should gain around two pounds per puppy, with adjustments made for smaller or larger breeds.

Monitoring and Adjusting Diet

Regularly feeling her body and monitoring her weight will help you adjust her food intake as needed. Many pregnant dogs may experience a decrease in appetite around the third to fifth week of pregnancy due to hormonal changes. They typically regain their appetite until the last few days before whelping. During these times, offering small, frequent meals can help ensure she gets enough calories.

Tips for Feeding a Pregnant Dog

If your pregnant dog is not eating enough to gain the required weight, consider the following tips:

  1. Feed small, frequent meals to accommodate her reduced stomach capacity.

  2. Use food toppers to make her meals more appealing.

  3. Add B vitamin supplements to her diet to stimulate her appetite.

  4. Administer Famotidine to reduce stomach acid, which can help if she's experiencing discomfort.

Ideal Body Condition Score (BCS)

A breeding female should ideally have a body condition score (BCS) of 4, 5, or 6 on a scale of 1 to 9. A BCS of 3 or lower indicates underweight, making it less likely she will carry a healthy litter to term. A BCS of 7 to 9 indicates overweight, which can lead to complications during whelping.

To determine her BCS, feel along her rib cage. Adjust her diet accordingly several months before breeding to ensure she is in optimal condition.

Overfeeding a Nursing Dog

It's nearly impossible to overfeed a nursing female with a large litter. However, if she starts to look too round or at the time of weaning, begin to restrict her daily food intake to maintain a healthy weight.

For more information on dog pregnancy care, visit

 Pregnant Dog
Pregnant Dog


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