Finding the best dog food for pregnant dogs is crucial for every dog breeder out there. A pregnant female dog, and a nursing one, both have huge energy requirements to sustain their own growth, but also every single whelp’s healthy growth. It’s demanding and the mother’s diet must be the best it has ever been.
Pregnancy is one of the most important phases in the life of a female dog. Spanning over a period of 63 days, this phase requires special care to be taken for your dog to ensure that she remains healthy and goes through a smooth birthing process, leading to equally healthy puppies. There are several types of dog foods available out there that ensure fulfilling the nutritional requirements of pregnant dogs.
16 Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs
If you are on the search for the best dog food for pregnant dogs, here is a list of some of the products that you must consider buying. Each of them has its own unique selling point but all of them are healthier alternatives to what you commonly find on your pet store’s shelves.
1. Taste of the Wild Canine Formula
— Best Dog Food For Pregnant Dogs
The Taste of the Wild Canine Formula is not only one of the best dog food for nursing dogs but also an overall healthy treat for your furry one. Formulated with novel proteins that include roasted bison, beef, and venison, it is a grain-free recipe that delivers highly-digestible energy by virtue of peas and sweet potatoes.
The unique aspect of Taste of the Wild Canine Formula is its anti-oxidant nature that derives from real fruits and vegetables, as well as its multiple healthy probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. The dried chicory root further ensures probiotic support and healthy digestion for your pregnant dog. All these come together with the essential minerals and amino acids to ensure a wholesome, healthy, and balanced nutritional food for your dog.
The primary ingredients include buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, egg product, bison, roasted venison, beef, natural flavor, tomato pomace, potato protein, pea protein, ocean fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus reuteri, vitamin e supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin a supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement and folic acid. The calorie content is 3,719 kcal/kg and 370 kcal/cup.
The Taste of the Wild Canine Formula not only takes maximum care of the overall health of your dog but also ensures that she has a shiny coat resulting from the increased absorption of the omega-3 oils. As for feeding, about 2 cups of the food is ideal for medium-sized breeds of dogs while 5 to 6 cups are the standard measure for larger dogs, weighing over 100 lbs.
- Best dog food for nursing dogs
- Highly digestible energy and protein
- Contains essential amino acids and vitamins and minerals
- Has lots of superfoods
- Some dogs developed allergies
- Can cause stinky gas
2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dog Food
— Ideal Dog Food For Pregnant Dogs With Food Sensitivities
The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food is one of the top choices among dry foods when it comes to giving the best dog food for a pregnant bitch. This Natural Balance recipe is made up of limited ingredients, thereby, reducing the chances of intolerance and allergies among pregnant dogs. It is a perfect combination of nutrition and flavor apart from being the much-needed source of protein and carbohydrates for your dog that needs special care during pregnancy. The Natural Balance product is ideal for dogs with allergens to several foods and a sensitive stomach. The Omega-3 fatty acids derived from the flaxseed further nourish the skin of your pup, making her coat healthy and shiny.
The primary ingredients include sweet potatoes, venison, flaxseed, potato protein, pea protein, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, potato fiber, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, taurine, natural mixed tocopherols, and vitamin E supplement among others.
The Natural Balance Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet is also a grain-free formula (see our review of the best grain-free dog foods) with no artificial flavors or colors and comes with very limited carbohydrates. It is an effective nutritional addition that ensures the overall health of your pregnant dog. Suitable for all breeds and boasting of a single animal protein source, this formula can put an end to all the food sensitivity-related troubles faced by your furry one during pregnancy.
As for feeding, a daily amount of ½ – 3¾ cups of dry food is recommended for dogs weighing between 10 lbs to 60 lbs. For larger breeds of dogs weighing above 60-80 lbs, 3¾ – 5½ cups are the ideal measurement. However, the amount can be increased up to 25% during the 7th, 8th and 9th weeks of the pregnancy of your dog.
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Best dog food for pregnant dogs
- Contains vegetable protein
- Has taurine for a healthier heart and eyesight
- Inconsistent kibble size
- Some dogs had loose stools
3. ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Dog Food
— Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food
The ORIJEN Dehydrated Dog Food is high-quality, perfectly made and one of the best dog food for lactating dogs. It is a wholesome and nourishing source of protein for your dog as it contains an optimum and balanced proportion of fresh whole eggs, whole fish, poultry, and every other nutrient that comes together to take complete care of your pregnant dog’s special requirements as well as her overall health. Always transition a dog to its new diet over the course of a couple of weeks. Avoid sudden changes.
The main differentiator of the ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Dog Food is the presence of fresh and raw meats. The former comes refrigerated without preservatives and the latter is flash-frozen without preservatives and then gently freeze-dried. The carbohydrate content is limited. On the other hand, there are fresh fruits and vegetables with low-glycemic to ensure that the food is easy on the digestive system of your dog. The ORIJEN Freeze-Dried Kibble also contains botanicals that act as tonics and builders to cleanse your dog’s internal system from all sorts of toxic effects.
There are about 20 nutritious and delicious servings for an 11lbs dog in each 16oz bag. However, you can break up a medallion and sprinkle it over ORIJEN dry food to attract your fussy dog that is particularly reluctant to eat during her pregnancy. The recipe is quick and easy as all you have to do is simply add a 1/4 cup of warm water to each medallion and wait for 3-5 minutes for them to rehydrate.
This ORIJEN is not only one of the most wholesome and nutritious dog foods available out there but also one of the tastiest. The freshness of the food coupled with its high-quality ingredients make this a much popular and preferred pregnant dog food among several dog owners. This particular food is recommended for large breeds only.
- Contains fresh whole fish, whole eggs, and poultry meat
- It contains fresh and raw meats
- Promotes healthy digestion in lactating dogs
- Has a tasty flavor
- Some packs have lots of crumbs
- It is pricey for the size
4. Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Organic Grain Dog Food
— Perfect Human-Grade Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen Human-Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Dog Food is one of the most recommended and best food for nursing bitch available out there. Its USP is the natural human-grade dehydrated nature that makes it suitable for pregnant dogs, from puppies to active adults of nearly all breeds and sizes. Entirely made up of minimally processed and dehydrated whole food ingredients from the USA, the organic grain dog food from Honest Kitchen contains no by-products, preservatives, or GMO ingredients that can prove to be harmful to your furry one and of course her future puppies.
The primary ingredients include free-range chicken, organic barley, potatoes, organic flax, organic oats, green peas, carrots, bananas, parsley, organic kelp, celery, tri-calcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, and thiamine mononitrate. The average calorie content is 485 kcal/cup.
As for feeding instructions, for dogs weighing up to 50 lbs, about 1-2 cups of food mixed with 1½ – 3 cups of water is ideal while for dogs weighing up to 90 lbs, about 4½ — 5½ cups of food with 6¾ – 8¼ cups of water is the recommended quantity. However, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian for the exact increase in the amount of food as the delivery of your pregnant dog approaches. Some breeds, with very large litters, are allowed almost unlimited food intake due to their very high puppy count.
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Grain Dog Food is an overall budget-friendly and easy recipe. All you have to do is mix the food with warm water, stir well and serve after 3 minutes. Your pregnant dog with little interest in food will simply love the flavor of it.
- Made with human-grade ingredients
- Free from artificial preservatives and flavors
- Contains high-quality protein and carbohydrates
- Allows healthy puppy development
- Some customers found bugs in the bags
- Contains some garlic
5. Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free Wet Dog Food
— Best Food For Picky Pregnant Dogs
This Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free Wet Dog Food certainly falls in the category of the best dog food for whelping dogs by virtue of its carefully chosen ingredients that are completely devoid of gluten, poultry by-products, wheat, corn or soy. This healthy dog food range from Purina is available in three varying recipes for you to choose the one that best suits the taste palette of your pregnant dog:
- Chicken, Carrot & Pea recipe,
- Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, and
- Beef, Potato & Green Bean recipe.
This wet dog food is one of the most wholesome meals that you can offer your dog, especially if she likes it, and is also recommended to have wet food instead of the dry alternatives. Wet dog food is a lot more palatable thanks to the moisture content enhancing flavors.
The other essential ingredients, apart from the main meat alternative, include vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin A supplement, folic acid, Vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, and sodium selenite. Some of these ingredients may have odd-sounding names, but they are good for a healthy pregnancy!
The average calorie content is about 1,180 kcal/kg. The real chicken, salmon, and beef coupled with vegetables like carrot and peas make the Purina Beyond Natural, dog food that you can trust to ensure complete nutritional balance or your dog. The taste is delicious, which further makes sure that your furry one will not refuse it regardless of how picky she is during her phase of pregnancy or lactation.
As for feeding, adult dogs need about 1 can per 15 – 18 lbs of body weight daily. Ideally, you should divide the daily amount into multiple feedings. Your dog’s needs may vary according to age, activity level, and environment. So, it’s best to consult a Veterinarian for the optimum feeding quantity.
- Does not contain any fillers
- Made with real salmon, beef, and chicken
- Ensures complete and balanced nutrition
- It contains ferrous sulfate to support the pregnant dog
- Some cans have dents
6. Bully Max High-Performance Dog Food
— Best Calorie-Dense Dog Food For Nursing Dogs
The Bully Max High-Performance Dog Food, as its very name suggests is an ideal dog food for bully breeds like American bullies, Pitbulls, Mastiffs, and Bulldogs. This all-natural calorie-dense formula provides optimum nourishment to the dogs by virtue of its fresh and high-quality ingredients. The presence of amino acids in the highly-digestible protein helps in the growth of smooth lean muscles for your dog. It is not only one of the most digestible diets ensuring increased nutrient absorption but also the tastiest in the category. A full blend of prebiotics and probiotics supports a healthy digestive tract while the super-premium blend of natural and chelated minerals and vitamins supports the dogs’ well-being.
The ingredients include chicken meal, pearled barley, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole dried egg, pork meat meal, beet pulp, chicken liver, fish meal, flaxseed, potassium chloride, salt, monosodium phosphate, vitamins, minerals, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried lactobacillus Plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product. The average calorie content of this dog food is about 3,902 kcal/kg and 387.88 kcal/cup.
The Bully Max Super Premium High-Performance Dog Food, however, has a very high-calorie content and is, therefore, suitable for offering extra strength and nutrition to the selected breeds of large and hyperactive dogs only. Also, the ideal intake quantity of the food will depend on the particular breed and is, therefore, best to be determined after consultation with a veterinarian.
- Ideal dog food for Bully breeds
- High in calorie
- Offers extra strength and energy to pregnant dogs
- Rich in healthy protein
- Constant price increase
- Some dogs do not like the taste
7. Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food
Instinct is made with real, free-range chicken as a high protein source. It contains whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This dog food is rich in omega fatty acids for healthier skin and coats. It has brown rice for added nutrients and energy sources.
It has no fillers, no soy, poultry by-products, brewer’s rice, wheat, and corn. This dry dog food is also free from artificial colors and preservatives which are known to cause and trigger allergic reactions.
Instinct is a pioneer when it comes to raw coated kibbles. It means that every piece of kibble is coated in raw freeze-dried meat. It makes mealtime more fun and exciting for your pregnant dogs. It is suitable for small to large dog breeds.
- Free from fillers
- No artificial flavors and preservatives
- Contains real chicken
- A high source of energy
- Not for dogs with grain sensitivities
- Some dogs do not like the formula
8. Tuffy’s Pet Food NutriSource Grain Free Dog Food
Tuffy’s grain-free dog food is a premium choice for pregnant dogs because of its high nutritional value. It contains DHA for cognitive development which can ensure that the growing puppies inside will have normal brain development.
This dog food is also rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for healthier and luscious skin and coat. Its high-quality protein from chicken meat is easily digestible. In return, it provides your dog with great energy.
It also contains probiotics and prebiotic fibers for healthier digestion and improved gut health. It has selenium, and vitamins C and E for added nutrition. Additionally, it has glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and bones which is especially needed by pregnant dogs.
- Made from high-quality chicken protein
- Contains micro-nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals
- With probiotics and prebiotics
- Rich in essential fatty acids
- It is expensive
- It’s only available in large bags
9. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Starter Mother & Babydog Dry Dog Food
Another premium quality dog food is from Royal Canin. It is made for mothers and puppies during the gestation and lactation period. This dry dog food also helps in puppy growth. It facilitates the weaning of puppies to eating solid food.
The kibbles rehydrate easily to a porridge-like consistency which makes it more suitable for the mother and puppies. It supports healthy digestion and maintains the puppy’s natural defenses. This dog food ensures that your puppy can take everything from the beginning of their development.
- Provides enough energy
- Contains essential vitamins and minerals
- Has DHA for cognitive development
- Specially formulated for pregnant, lactating dogs, and puppies
- It is pricy
- It has some by-products
- Some dogs do not like the taste
10. Diamond Naturals Dry Food for Large Breed Puppy
Diamond Naturals creates quality dog food for large breed dogs. To make it more bearable and digestible for pregnant dogs, it has a smaller kibble size variation. It contains healthy and high-quality protein from pasture-raised lambs.
It contains lots of essential nutrients for your pregnant dog and developing puppies inside her. This dog food has DHA and essential amino and fatty acids to support the puppy’s brain development.
It also supports the mother’s bones and joints with glucosamine and chondroitin. It is rich in probiotics for healthier digestion and superfoods for added nutrients. However, some dogs experienced diarrhea and gassiness. Apparently, it contains allergens that can trigger skin irritation and itchiness.
- Contains fatty acids, joint supplements, and DHA
- Has probiotics for a healthier gut
- Made from pasture-raised lambs
- Can cause skin irritation
- Can cause digestive issues
11. Evangers Classic Chicken And Rice Dinner For Dogs
A canned wet food dinner for pregnant dogs on the list the Evanger’s classic chicken and rice meal. It contains whole chicken as its first ingredient. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy puppy growth and improve the mother’s health.
However, it does not contain DHA which is necessary for the puppies’ cognitive development. This canned food can also cause digestive problems to sensitive dogs. If you prefer dog food with higher amounts of protein, look for the other products on the list.
- No added salt or preservatives
- Contains vitamins and minerals
- Improves puppy health
- It has no DHA
- Can cause digestive problems
12. Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Merrick grain-free puppy dry dog food contains 76% of protein from healthy animal sources. Its first ingredient is a real deboned chicken raised freely on a farm. This dog food contains chondroitin and glucosamine for improved hips and joints.
It is also rich in omega fatty acids for healthier skin and a shinier coat. It provides an optimal combination of healthy fats and an ideal amount of protein to help the pregnant dog manage her weight and have enough energy.
- Has 76% protein from animal sources
- Contains DHA for brain development
- Has glucosamine and chondroitin
- Not for picky eaters
13. Zignature Turkey Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This dry dog food from Zignature is a grain-free, limited ingredient formula. It contains only one source of protein, which is a farm-raised turkey. It has an additional handful of other ingredients that are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
This dog food is low in saturated fat which makes it suitable for pregnant dogs. It is rich in Selenium which aids in a healthy metabolism, including normal thyroid activity. Selenium is also an antioxidant that is involved in DNA reproduction, synthesis, and improving the immune system.
It is also a good source of phosphorus and riboflavin. It is free from fillers and allergens, such as soy, corn, wheat, chicken, and dairy. It is suitable dog food for picky eaters and dogs with sensitivities.
- Rich in fiber
- Has low-glycemic carbohydrates
- Has plenty of selenium
- Suitable for sensitive dogs
- It is expensive
- Some dogs had loose stool
14. VICTOR Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food
Victor is sourced and made in the USA. It is composed of 88% premium meat protein from chicken, pork, and beef meals. It is ideal for active dogs, pregnant dogs, and those who are in need of high physical activity.
This dog food is nutrient-dense and is suitable for all life stages, which includes growing puppies, pregnant, and lactating dogs. It is also fortified with essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It has a unique VPRO Blend that promotes healthy digestion and immune system function.
- It contains Selenium yeast which promotes a healthy immune system and metabolic function
- Supports healthy skin and coat
- Contains prebiotics and probiotics that aid in digestion
- Can cause digestive issues in some dogs
15. Wellness Chicken Stew with Peas & Carrots Grain-Free Canned Dog Food
Wellness chicken stew with peas and carrots canned dog food is a good source of premium protein and essential vitamins and minerals. It is ideal for everyday mixing, snacking, and feeding.
It does not contain any meat by-products, artificial preservatives, additives, and fillers. This canned dog food provides a complete diet to your pregnant dog. It has tender cuts of high-quality protein and nutrient-rich vegetables slowly cooked in a flavorful gravy.
- Formulated by pet nutritionists, animal lovers, and veterinarians
- Easily digestible
- Free from by-product meals and ingredients
- Some owners do not like a large amount of fats in the can
16. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Dry Dog Food
Another healthy dog food that you can give your pregnant dog is the Merrick backcountry freeze-dried raw dry dog food. It has a beef flavor from real deboned beef as the first ingredient that will surely get your dog to its feet.
In one pack, it contains both freeze-dried raw bites and freeze-dried raw-coated kibble. It also includes rabbit and lamb as protein sources. This dog food is highly nutritious and easy to digest. Your pregnant dog will not only get its nutrient needs but will also enjoy its food.
- Highly palatable
- It contains DHA for cognitive development
- Has glucosamine and chondroitin for stronger hips and joints
- Contains essential fatty acids
- The ratio of the freeze-dried pieces to dry kibbles is not equal
While these can be considered to be the top 6 best types of dog foods available for pregnant dogs, your choice should ideally be based on the breed of your dog, her pregnancy stage, health conditions during pregnancy along with several other factors. Consulting with a Veterinarian can ensure that you choose the best dog food that combines nutrition, taste, and great value for money.
5 comments on “16 Best Dog Foods for Pregnant Dogs”
I’m extremely disappointed with the nutritional advice your giving out!! Have you checked the FDA recall list of foods associated with cardiovascular disease/low taurine levels or the fact that Purina foods have Propylene Gylcol in them?
Why not recommend SPORT DOG or Farmina N&D?
Why not recommend the food I mentioned as well as supplementing with a bit of cooked beef liver/heart, cottage cheese – natural foods to prevent anemia and hypocalemia?
I really like your articles but this one has me upset.
Thank You for your comments.
Currently I am feeding Purina Pro Plan Savor because I believe it’s better than Royal Canin which my Vet recommended due to thinking the ingredients are better. Am I wrong? Propylene Glycol? Also, my senior is on Purina Pro Plan UR/ Ox/xt Vet recommendation.
Any dog food that contains peas, lentils or any legume is bad for dogs. It interferes with their hormones and causes issues with number of pups, weight and health problems. This is why many breeders are looking for dog foods that do not contain legumes. There are other ingredients in kibble that are highly questionable regarding a dogs health. Kibble is cooked at high temperatures causing carcinogens and depletion of nutrition. I’ve yet to find a kibble worth buying.
Can someone recommend a diet for my pregnant dog that doesn’t contain lentils or legume? Thanks