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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in 2022 Reviewed

Best Dog Food For Nursing Dogs

Surviving pregnancy and giving birth to healthy pups is just a battle half-won. Now, the challenge begins for your nursing dog to be well-nourished and to gather enough energy for her to care for and feed her newborn puppies.

And as a pet parent, you can help by ensuring that your canine companion is eating the best dog food for nursing dogs.

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OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR BEST DOG FOOD FOR NURSING DOGS

   
Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 2
  • Recommended by vet-nutritionists
  • Made with real chicken meat
  • Each morsel is packed with nutrients
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 3
Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 4
  • Fresh food subscription service
  • In accords with AAFCO standards
  • Uses high quality meat only
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 2
  • Supports stronger teeth and bones
  • Small kibbles made for puppies
  • Enhances immune system
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How to Feed a Nursing Dog?

Dogs generally lose weight right after pregnancy, but their nutritional needs increase dramatically. So, as the primary caregiver of a nursing dog, it’s your responsibility to help her gain weight as soon as possible and ensure that she is receiving proper nutrition.

It’s important to pay utmost importance to your nursing dog’s diet because her developing puppies are solely dependent on her.

You have to make sure that she and her growing puppies are happy and getting optimal health and nutrition throughout this crucial stage of their lives.

The best and most recommended food for nursing mothers is homemade puppy food because it contains the healthiest amount of calories and fat.

However, you can also give commercial dog food for puppies and pregnant dogs since these variants also contain a decent caloric amount of healthy fats and proteins. You can also add some greens into your dog’s food to aid with digestion.

Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs

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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 7
Ollie Beef Dish
  • Fresh food subscription service
  • In accords with AAFCO standards
  • Only includes high quality meat
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 8
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Supports stronger teeth and bones
  • Small kibbles made for puppies
  • Enhances immune system
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 9
Purina ONE +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula
  • Recommended by vet-nutritionists
  • Made with real chicken meat
  • Each morsel is packed with nutrients
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 10
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Starter Mother & Babydog
  • Perfect meal during gestation, lactation and growth
  • Meets the energy demands of puppies
  • Can be rehydrated to a porridge-like consistency
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 11
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
  • High-protein recipe for puppies
  • Venison and bison boost the flavor
  • Contains a proprietary probiotics for digestion
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Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 12
American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Free from corn, wheat, and soy
  • Protein-packed meal for puppies
  • Rich in fiber and enough carbohydrates
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  1. Ollie Beef Dish
  2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  3. Purina ONE +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula
  4. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Starter Mother & Babydog
  5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula
  6. American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe
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1. Ollie Beef Dish with Sweet Potatoes

First 5 ingredients: Beef, Peas, Sweet Potato, Potato, Carrot

Rating: 5/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 13

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 12%
Crude Fat 10%
Crude Fiber 2%

Ollie is a top-rated fresh food subscription service that delivers tasty and nutritious pre-portioned, customized meals that meet the specific needs of all dogs regardless of their breed, size, age, and health conditions.

Ollie’s human-grade fresh foods are crafted by veterinarians for dogs but are also safe enough for humans to eat. Each meal that comes out of their facilities is packed with lean proteins from high-quality meats sourced from the USA, New Zealand, and Australia.

As of writing, Ollie is offering four fresh-frozen recipes: Beef Dish with Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Dish with Carrots, Lamb Dish with Cranberries, and Turkey Dish with Blueberries.

All of these are delicious and nutritious options for your nursing dog, but if you were to pick only one, we’d recommend the beef recipe because it contains the most protein and fat content.

And with the hearty beef, sweet potatoes, and peas in the meal, you know that your dog is getting a well-rounded source of vitamins and minerals.

Ollie’s fresh foods are our top picks because as mentioned earlier, homemade puppy foods are best for pregnant dogs and nursing dogs.

These tasty options are more nutrient-dense than regular dry and wet foods that you can purchase online or at your nearest pet store.

And if you can’t continuously create homemade foods for your dog, this is the most realistic, and not to mention the safest option since all the recipes are crafted by licensed veterinarians using whole foods, and with minimal processing.

Ollie’s recipes don’t contain artificial flavors, and fillers that are unhealthy for dogs, more so, for lactating dogs and their puppies.

Pros:

  • Minimally-processed fresh food diet
  • Vet-crafted meals prepared in the USA
  • Uses high-quality, human-grade ingredients
  • Customized depending on a dog’s nutritional requirements
  • Money-back guarantee offer
  • Can be fed as a topper, treats, or as a complete and balanced diet
  • Flexible delivery dates

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • Needs refrigerator space
  • Needs to be thawed before serving
  • You need to measure out each meal

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Fish Meal

Rating: 4.6/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 14

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 27%
Crude Fat 16%
Crude Fiber 5%

Blue Buffalo, a well-loved pet food brand, paved its way into the industry when the owners’ dog named Blue, got sick leading them to look for more nutritional solutions to keep him back on track again.

Eventually, their dedication resulted in the production of foods using high-quality natural ingredients, always starting with real meat.

This dry dog food that is specifically designed for developing puppies also works great for pregnant and nursing dogs. The recipe starts with real chicken meat, combined with whole grains, garden fruits, and vegetables.

And it contains Blue’s exclusive LifeSource Bits, a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your furry friend’s immune health, and meet her life stage requirements.

What’s more, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Dry Dog Food contains DHA and AHA, important fatty acids that are found in mother’s milk, which help in supporting cognitive function, retinal health, and promote the puppies healthy development.

It is also formulated with calcium and phosphorus for stronger bones and teeth, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

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Pros:

  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Rich in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants
  • Zero artificial preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial flavors, or colors
  • Contains DHA and AHA to promote healthy puppy growth and development

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like it
  • Some dogs have negative experiences with this formula, including gas, and diarrhea
  • Small kibbles, which won’t be that appealing to larger nursing dogs

3. Purina ONE +Plus Healthy Puppy Formula

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Corn

Rating: 4.7/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 15

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 28%
Crude Fat 17%
Crude Fiber 3%

Purina ONE Natural +Plus combines nature and research with results that you can see in your pet’s health and her growing puppies.

This recipe is formulated using real chicken as the first ingredient, with added vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients to support your dog’s overall health and wellness.

Each tasty kibble is packed with DHA that supports vision and brain development, high protein for heart health, and healthy muscle development.

This recipe also contains calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine for healthy teeth, bones, and joints. And this easily digestive dog food is loaded with antioxidants to support your dog’s immune system.

Pros:

  • More affordable, high-quality dog food
  • With real chicken as the number one ingredient
  • Packed with vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and essential nutrients
  • Easily digestible food

Cons:

  • Issues with picky dogs
  • Some dogs experience diarrhea and allergic reactions

4. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Starter Mother & Babydog

First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Corn, Wheat Gluten

Rating: 4.7/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 16

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 28%
Crude Fat 20%
Crude Fiber 3.4%

Royal Canin BIRTH PROGRAM is a unique nutritional solution made entirely to meet the needs of a nursing dog and her puppies during gestation, lactation, and growth.

This life stage-specific dry dog food is specially formulated to support a mother dog’s high energy needs during the end of her gestation and during lactation.

This formula has your furry friend and her babies covered gestation, birth, lactation, weaning, and growth up to 2 months.

After two months you can start transitioning the mother dog to foods designed for adult dogs and start switching her puppies to Royal Canin Small Puppy.  

Pros:

  • Kibbles easily rehydrate to a porridge-like consistency
  • Specially made to meet the needs of adult dogs and their puppies during gestation, lactation, and growth
  • Help promote digestive health, and maintain the puppy’s natural defenses
  • Nutritional response helps facilitate a smooth transition of the puppies from their mother’s milk to solid food

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Some refuse to eat it
  • Some hate the kibbles’ mushy consistency

5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula

First 5 ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein

Rating: 4.6/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 17

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 28%
Crude Fat 17%
Crude Fiber 5%

This high-protein and nutrient-dense dog food is a great choice if you are looking for a grain free option for your nursing dog and her puppies.

Like with all Taste of the Wild recipes, this formula starts with real meat as the first ingredient (and in this case, it's water buffalo), followed by other novel proteins like venison and bison.

This complete and balanced diet is crafted with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients from real fruits and superfoods.

Each tasty bite of this highly-digestible kibble is fortified with DHA for healthy brain and development, omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, and prebiotics to support healthy digestion.

Pros:

  • Water buffalo is the number one ingredient
  • Best for pets with food sensitivities
  • Features species-specific probiotics
  • The essential nutrients are chelated with amino acids
  • Made in the USA
  • No fillers, no corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or colors

Cons:

  • Strong smell
  • Has the tendency to make pets gassy
  • Kibbles may be too small for adult dogs

6. American Journey Puppy Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Chickpeas

Rating: 4.5/5

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 18

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 30%
Crude Fat 12%
Crude Fiber 5%

Nourish your lactating dog and her developing puppies with this high-protein, grain-free dry dog food to ensure that they get the nutrients they need to thrive during this vital stage of their lives.

American Journey Lamb and Potato Recipe is filled with nutritious and delicious ingredients, and you won’t find any corn, wheat, or soy in every kibble.

This recipe is made with real deboned lamb as the first ingredient, and it contains antioxidants and omega fatty acids to keep your dog and her puppies active and healthy, while also supporting their skin and coat health.

DHA is also added to promote brain health and development, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for healthy joints and mobility.

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Pros:

  • Real deboned lamb as the first ingredient
  • Features high-quality protein to help maintain lean muscles
  • Grain-free; no corn, wheat, or soy
  • Made with wholesome fruits and vegetables
  • Packed with DHA for healthy brain and eye development
  • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for healthy joints

Cons:

  • Some dogs hate it
  • Contains chicken which can be an issue for sensitive dogs

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 19

How Much Food Should You Give Your Lactating Dog?

A nursing dog needs twice or thrice the amount of food that she regularly eats to meet the demands of her body and her growing puppies.

Her required food intake also depends on the size of her litter. If a nursing dog’s diet does not meet her nutritional requirements, it will reflect not just on her body but also on her puppies.

Hence, it is so vital to give high quality dog food to nursing moms to prevent nutritional deficiencies in both the mom and her developing puppies.

New nursing dogs may need a large bowl filled with solid food, and a regular source of clean, fresh water to help with their milk production, and give them enough energy to care for their pups.

Some vets and trainers suggest feeding free choice is the best option, so the mother dog can eat whenever she feels like munching. However, the problem is that most lactating dogs lack appetite.

So, a more realistic option is to feed her with nutrient-dense dog food. With this, you won’t have to worry even if your dog eats less often because her meal is packed with calories and adequate nutrition to sustain her own health and nourish her puppies.

For dog owners who free-fed their nursing dogs with fresh wet foods or dog foods, the number one rule is to never leave anything on the bowl for a long time.

Contrary to kibbles, fresh dog food and wet foods need to be given more often to prevent leftovers from being exposed to contaminants in the air and the surroundings.  

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Conclusion

Pregnancy and lactation can be demanding on a nursing dog’s body. And as pet parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our pet’s needs during this crucial stage are met more than ever.

As discussed earlier, the best diet for lactating dogs is one that is packed with sufficient calories and has an increased protein, and fat content. This ensures that your lactating dog and her puppies that depend on her for nourishment are all taken care of.

Also, if you can’t find a specific dog food for mother dogs and puppies, you can stick with high-quality puppy food. Calcium and phosphorus are also added nutrients that can help support lactation and fetal development. And adding DHA into your dog’s diet can help with her puppies’ brain and eye development.

Finally, make sure that your nursing dog always has an access to clean, fresh water to help with her milk production. And increase the amount of food that you give, while also observing how much she eats during each meal.

Top Picks for the Best Dog Food for Nursing Dogs in [year] Reviewed 20
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