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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My yellow Labrador retriever gave birth to 7 puppies 11 days ago. Mother and puppies are doing fine, and the little guys get bigger and fatter every day. Mother nurses them about 18 hours a day, and she has an enormous appetite. In fact, she is eating everything in sight, and we are feeding her about 5 times a day, in portions twice the size she received twice a day before she became pregnant. Okay, that's all fine and well, because clearly the puppies are sucking -- literally -- a lot out of her right now. What we're a little worried about is that despite all of the food she is consuming she is still losing weight. Summer was never a big Labrador retriever to start (elegantly slender-boned and about 65 pounds), so the weight loss is visually noticeable.

Is there a different, high-calorie food we should be giving her while she is nursing? Some form of supplements?

Please advise. She is eating (and pooping) a lot; the solution can't be just to feed her even more of the same, can it?
 

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Last time I dealt with this, it was extreme. Friends chihuahua cross ended up whelping 5 pups and there wasn't much to her to begin with. They literally sucked the life right out of her, and within a week she was skin and bones and not producing properly. It's hard to believe how fast a mother dog can lose weight. She was eating her fill of puppy food from the start, wasn't enough.

Ended up topping her up with raw beef meals (left the fat on) and full fat plain cottage cheese (for the added calcium too), just to keep her going. It was caution to the wind for her - likely wouldn't have made it. First piece of raw beef I offered by hand, she sniffed it and near took my fingers off, starving.

This dog was an eating machine, she gained a little bit of weight back, but it kept her producing well.
 

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Is there a different, high-calorie food we should be giving her while she is nursing? Some form of supplements?

Please advise. She is eating (and pooping) a lot; the solution can't be just to feed her even more of the same, can it?

No; definitely don't continue just giving her more of the same, because it sounds like its not only meeting protein/fat/calorie requirements, but the frequent poops suggest she's not digesting it very well to begin with.

Switch her to either a puppy food, or better yet, an adult performance diet made specifically for nursing or sporting dogs. When I was breeding, I had luck with Blackwood 2000 (not sure if this is still around), Eukanuba Premium Performance or Purina One Puppy - the latter helped especially for a bitch who did not have enough milk on her supposedly better food.

You might also want to consider a quick source of digestible calcium in addition to a different diet, by either supplementing with chicken wings for their high calcium/lower phosphorous content, or a mixture of evaporated milk mixed with a raw egg yolk. No raw whites, because the enzyme avidin inhibits Vit B absorption. The milk/egg mixture works better than any store bought vitamin supplement.

She should also be eating about 3x daily, and should be slightly heavier than normal, but don't increase the food so much she looks like a bloated whale :rolleyes:
 

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What are you feeding her now? If she is getting really thin (or actually just because she's nursing) she should be on a good quality puppy food as it provides more fat and protein. Find a food that is high in calories. A good place to look is at Chewy.com because they list all the ingredients and nutritional values of every food they sell. Then take a look at Dogfoodadvisor.com to see if the particular food you picked is rated well. This will at least give you an idea of what is out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ended up topping her up with raw beef meals (left the fat on) and full fat plain cottage cheese (for the added calcium too), just to keep her going.
Are there any problems giving a fullsize dog raw beef and cottage cheese? Our dog will eat anything she thinks is human food (of course), and she constantly surprises me what she will eat. A few days after giving birth, she decided she like raw bananas (slightly sweet), but I am concerned that an animal that is used to getting very little food other than her current IAMS puppy food (yellow bag formula) might have digestive issues with a radical diet change. Should I be concerned about that, or should I just be giving her all the protein and animal fat she can eat while she is nursing?
 

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I'm not sure what the effect will be - for the chi, there were no issues, poop was a little softer. If she losing noticeable weight from nursing after 11 days, then she's clearly not getting enough, you'll likely have to add more fat and calories.

Like I say, the chi was more of a get some fat and calories into her or it'll be death in a box.
 

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Iams is not a very good food.............but if you have a Tractor Supply Co near by their 4Health puppy formula is good and is very economical. Puppy Food should have a 1-1 calcium/phosphorus ratio and the Iams does not. Not enough calcium in Iams at all! It is also full of by-product and corn which are not good at all! Also Costco has a good line of foods that are reasonable ......transitioning from one kibble to another is not hard.......just start a gradual replacement by mixing the old food with the new until the new brand food is the main diet.
RAW IS GOOD!!!! Raw beef, raw chicken, raw lamb, raw goat, raw etc..... any raw meat is good just don't feed at the same time as kibble......make them separate meals....I feed my dog her raw foods in the a.m. and leave a measured amount of kibble in her bowl for grazing, but she self regulates well so I don't worry about her overloading herself at one meal.
 
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Are there any problems giving a fullsize dog raw beef and cottage cheese?
Not at all, however, cottage cheese is generally low in calcium - it's a high protein/phosphorous food, so adding that to beef for calcium is generally a bad idea. You can, of course, feed them to a nursing bitch, just make sure you add calcium supplementation to both, because excess phos. will rob the bones of calcium if not balanced properly.
 
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