Breeding, Nutrition, Reproductive Health Advice

High-Calorie Supplements for Nursing Dogs and Cats

Do nursing dogs need more calories? The answer is Yes! Giving birth is hard work, but giving birth seven or eight times in a row is a marathon. Some moms, especially smaller cats or dogs, get worn out quickly. Since they don’t eat during labor, using high-calorie supplements can boost a mom’s energy and help her finish strong. However, we want to be careful as we choose foods and supplements for mom; our choices affect the well-being of both her and her babies.

Energy and Diet Needs

Pregnancy and lactation are demanding for a mom, and food can be the last thing on her mind. However, after a mom gives birth and begins lactating, her energy needs can double or triple. Pregnant and lactating females need extra calories, protein, fat and calcium to meet their needs and their babies’ needs; therefore, everything she eats should be made from the highest quality ingredients for maximum nutrition.

Adding Calories

A high-calorie, nutritional supplement like Doc Roy’s® Forti Cal Liquid® gives mom the additional calories she needs to be a strong milker and a good momma. The liquid works well for animals who can’t or won’t eat solid supplements, and it is soluble in milk replacer and water. You can even mix it with medicine. This supplement provides 210 calories per ounce, and its multi-species formula delivers highly palatable and easily dosed concentrated calories.

For lactating moms, perhaps the most important aspect of Forti Cal Liquid is that it’s propylene glycol-free. This synthetic liquid is used in many foods, cosmetics and medications and is generally regarded as safe. However, propylene glycol causes a serious blood disease called Heinz Body Anemia in cats. Additionally, studies have shown that propylene glycol can affect the flavor of nursing mothers’ milk, negatively impacting the babies’ willingness to nurse.

The Impact of Milk Flavor on Neonate Nursing

Doctors Gary Pusillo and Tsengeg Purevjav found that what a mom eats can flavor breast milk for up to 10 hours. With experience raising milking goats, they discovered that changing the lactating doe’s diet would sometimes affect the flavor and odor of the milk. For example, tannins from certain trees would give the goat milk a bitter taste.

In human studies, licorice flavor peaked strongly in breast milk two hours after consumption. In fact, a large number of flavors have been empirically shown to pass from mother to offspring through the breast milk of many types of mammals (Capretta and Rawls, 1974; Chotro et al., 1991; Mennella et al., 2001). Mennella and Beauchamp concluded that when infants detect different flavors in mother’s milk, they change their suckling rate, patterning and duration of feeding and intake.

High-calorie, vitamin and mineral supplements for lactating moms of all species can have a direct effect on how the offspring nurse. For example, supplements containing propylene glycol were fed to lactating dogs and horses, and this decreased the neonate’s willingness to nurse when compared to supplements without propylene glycol.

Some ingredients can change the flavor of dog and cat milk in less than two hours. This might back the newborn off nursing, and therefore, everything mom eats should be considered carefully. We want healthy babies with full tummies, and Doc Roy’s Forti Cal Liquid can help us achieve that.

If you have more questions on what to feed a pregnant or nursing dog or cat call us at 800.786.4751.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.