Breeding, Nutrition, Reproductive Health Advice, Vet Minute

Vet Minute: Nutritional Recommendations for Breeding Dogs

What should you look for when choosing a diet for breeding dogs? In this Vet Minute, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, talks about dog food guidelines for breeding females and males.

Nutritional Recommendations for Breeding Dogs

What is the Best Food For Breeding Dogs?

What to look for in food for a breeding dog? Dr. Greer, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services offers advice on the nutritional needs of breeding dogs and she offers tips on what to look for and what to avoid in dog food for breeding males and females.

Purchasing dog food can be an overwhelming process. There are literally thousands of dogs foods on the market. Labels can be difficult to interpret. Start off by understanding that you need to analyze the nutrient profile, not the ingredients. The diet should contain approximately 30% protein and 20% fat. Avoid diets that have legumes, soy or other additives that may contain phytoestrogens, for both male and female breeding dogs. The hardest part to assess are the micronutrients in the diet as these are not frequently listed in adequate detail on labels. Avoid a diet too high in fat for periods of time the dog is not actively breeding to avoid the dog becoming overweight. Feeding a diet known to have great breeding outcomes is recommended.

What Does Supplemental Use Only Mean on Dog Food

If the statement reads ‘for intermittent or supplemental use only,’ it is not complete and balanced diet for long term use. There are cases when that is okay, such as for a special veterinary approved diet in for example a case of kidney disease, but in general, intermittent or supplemental use only should not be their regular diet.

If you or your breeder has great success with a particular diet, continue to feed it. If you find the food to be too expensive, or your dogs are not thriving and reproducing well on the diet, consider a diet change. A really neutral source is the The World Small Animal Veterinary Association, WSAVA has a great webpage, with a list of questions to ask your pet food manufacturer. Most dog food companies have an 800 number on their package or website. Call them and ask these important questions. Taking a little time now to be certain you are feeding your pet the best food on the market is time well spent. Price does NOT correlate with quality. Choose carefully and wisely.

If you need help with what to feed a pregnant dog, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.