The lactation period involves a process of learning and establishing emotional ties that will be critical to the mental balance of the puppies and their subsequent maturation.
The first requirement in order for the puppies to receive sufficient feeding is that the mother should be well fed. According to the vet, we should adjust the quantity, quality, type and frequency of portions to be provided to the female dog, which can reach up to four or five meals per day. The most recommended food for a mother who is breastfeeding her puppies is a special food for growing dogs, given its high content of protein, calories and calcium.
On the other hand, we must ensure that all puppies receive their portion of breast milk. It is common for the stronger puppies to monopolise the nipples with more milk, pushing their siblings away and relegating them to other nipples. That is why we must monitor that the weakest also receive enough milk for their growth. ¿How? It is very simple: we will weigh all the puppies during the first 10 days (every 4 or 5 days thereafter) and make sure that they are all putting on weight. If necessary, especially in large litters, we can also take turns so that everyone has the opportunity to receive their food.
Even though the natural breastfeeding period may be extended to 1 or 2 months, you can begin supplementing it with a canine formula milk supplement after the second week. Should you not have access to this type of milk, and always with the veterinarian’s approval, you can use infant milk formula for human consumption or cow's milk, diluting it to 3/4 of the recommended dose for human babies.
With this, the puppies will be ready to start life by themselves and the mother may resume her normal diet and recover her independence.