Puppies & Kittens / Pregnant & Nursing
Anticipating the arrival of new puppies or kittens can be an exciting time. You can help keep the occasion joyful by supporting the changing dietary needs of your pregnant or lactating pet and the new litter.
During pregnancy and lactation, your pet’s energy needs will increase significantly, though at different times and rates for cats and dogs. It is important to adjust and possibly increase the amount you feed your pregnant or lactating pet to adjust for those changes.
As the puppies or kittens are weaned, you can then gradually decrease the amount fed to the new mother. Of course, the puppies or kittens will also have unique and changing dietary needs during weaning and as they continue to grow.
Explore the FAQ’s for more details and specific recommendations on foods & feeding plans!
How should I change my pet’s diet when she becomes pregnant?
Pregnant dogs’ energy requirements increase during the last two to three weeks of pregnancy. In contrast, cats’ energy requirements increase slightly as soon as they become pregnant and continue increasing significantly until peak lactation. Gradually increase the amount fed to 2–4 times the normal maintenance level to adjust for these changes.
It is also recommended that you feed your pregnant pet a diet specifically for growth and reproduction or All Life Stages.
How much should I feed my pet during lactation?
Depending on the size of the litter, a nursing mother’s energy needs can increase up to 4 times her normal maintenance levels. Feeding free-choice is ideal during lactation to allow your pet to consume as much food as she needs during this stage.
How much should I feed the mother during and after weaning?
The amount of food fed to the mother should be gradually decreased during the process of weaning the puppies or kittens. Once the weaning process is completed, portion-controlled feeding at her normal adult maintenance levels is recommended to help avoid obesity.
What should I feed the new puppies or kittens?
Puppies and kittens should be fed formulas that are specifically formulated for growth or All Life Stages.
Our Original Ultra® Whole Body Health® Puppy and Kitten Formulas are excellent options for getting your pets off to a healthy start. Additionally, our entire line of L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets® Formulas for both cats and dogs is formulated for All Life Stages, as are most of our Original Ultra® Whole Body Health® Formulas.
How should I incorporate solid foods into the new puppies’ or kittens’ diets?
Puppies and kittens can begin nibbling on canned food or moistened dry food prior to weaning (3 to 4 weeks of age).
After weaning, portion-controlled feeding is recommended to help avoid obesity. From six weeks to six months, ideally feed three times a day. After six months, it is recommended to feed twice daily at a minimum.
How much should I feed the new puppies or kittens?
Puppies and kittens less than one year may need up to 3 times the adult requirement, but may need less as they mature or if they are spayed or neutered.
Check the feeding guidelines on the specific diet you are feeding your pets.
Any other tips on caring for the new puppies or kittens?
Take the new arrivals to the vet and establish regular veterinary visits. Also, get puppies and kittens used to regular tooth brushing and oral care at an early age. This is an important habit to establish because your pet’s teeth and gums are part of their digestive system. Maintaining good oral health will be vital to their overall health throughout their lifetime.
Finally, make sure your pets always have access to fresh clean water!