Showsight - March 2022

By: Marty Greer, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health FOR PREGNANT DOGS Calcium Food &

T he appropriate calcium-phosphorus balance during pregnancy and lactation is essential for the dam and her pups to have great outcomes. Dog Pregnancy Diet and Calcium Shouldyou supplement yourdam’s calciumduring pregnancy? No. A high-quality all-life stage commercial dog food will provide all the calcium and the correct calcium-phosphorus balance needed. What should you supplement during pregnancy? Folic acid and DHA help the puppy’s eye, brain, and neural tube development. Breeder’s Edge ® Oxy Mate ® is a great source of

calcium by injection and/or gel before using oxytocin. Breeder’s Edge Oral Cal Plus™ gel works quickly and is palatable, helping her contractions. If she fails to deliver a pup within 1 hour, administer oxytocin injections. Micro doses of oxytocin are typically more effective in creating effective rhythmic contractions. Too much oxytocin or starting too early can cause the uterus to spasm, causing premature placental separation and/or shrink-wrapping the pups, clearly detrimental to effective and safe delivery. Injectable calcium can be used if available. Only 10 percent calcium gluconate is labeled and safe for dogs. After delivering all the pups and placentas, you can switch her to Breeder’s Edge Oral Cal Plus Powder. Why do you recommend commercial dog food kibble?

folic acid. Otherwise, feed only a pregnancy diet. Shouldyou feedhermore duringpregnancy? Yes, after the 5th week. She typically needs a 10 percent increase in her daily food intake weekly until whelping, based on body condi- tion and the projected litter size. Upon whelp- ing, she needs her daily food intake increased from between two and four times normal for adequate lactation. What if you add calcium to her diet?

Making your own dog food is unlikely to provide the vitamin and mineral balance needed for effective canine reproduction.

The big three pet food companies have devel - oped pet food that can support reproduc- tion. Making your own dog food is unlikely to provide the vitamin and mineral balance needed for effective canine reproduction.

Raw meat diets may allow bacteria and para- sites to interfere with our dog’s good health. Grain-free diets may contain phytoestrogens that interfere with male and female reproductive processes. Whelpwise, a canine uterine contraction monitoring service, has documented that dogs fed home-made diets are more likely to have difficult births resulting in C-sections than dogs fed a commercially available and balanced diet.

By over-supplementing her calcium or feeding a diet without the correct calcium-phosphorus balance, her parathyroid glands stop telling her body to mobilize calcium from her bones and can set her up for an episode of hypocalcemia (low blood calcium), also known as eclampsia. When is calcium supplementation appropriate? At the first signs of labor, start calcium gel. Calcium is essen - tial for oxytocin to create effective, uterine contractions. Often, effective calcium supplementation can preclude the need for oxytocin injections. If she is not having successful labor patterns, supplement

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 35+ years’ experience, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019.



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