Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs

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pregnant chihuahua

Like pregnant women, pregnant dogs need to eat food that meets their specific nutritional requirements. If your dog is pregnant, she’ll need more calories, more protein, more fat, and more food.

She’ll also need vitamins and minerals that aid in the health of her growing puppies. But what’s the best option? 

Our top pick is Inukshuk Professional Dry Dog Food 30/25 Dry Dog Food

It’s high in protein and fat, contains DHA for healthy puppy growth, and is one of the highest calorie options on this list. 

But we have other choices for pregnant dogs too — including options for dogs that usually eat raw diets, or who need to avoid specific ingredients. 

Our Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs

  1. Inukshuk Professional 30/25 Dry Dog Food (Best Overall)
  2. Nulo Freestyle Puppy Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Dry Dog Food (Best Grain-Free)
  3. Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe Dog Food (Best Tasting Food)
  4. Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food (Best for Small Breeds)
  5. ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food (Best for Large Breeds)
  6. Instinct Original Puppy Grain-Free Wet Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  7. Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  8. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
  9. ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Best for Allergies)
  10. Nom Nom Beed Mash Recipe Dog Food (Best Fresh Food) 

10 Best Dog Food for Pregnant Dogs Reviewed 

The following formulas meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines. Before switching your dog to a pregnancy-friendly option, please consult with your veterinarian.


Inukshuk Professional 30/25 Dry Dog Food

Inukshuk Professional 30:25 Dog Food
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat, Herring Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Wheat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 25% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 578 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat dry dog food with DHA for pregnant dogs

While many of the dog foods on this list are puppy formulas, that doesn’t mean you have to make the switch back to puppy food when your dog gets pregnant.

Many adult formulas have started adding ingredients that are great additions to your dog’s diet, especially when she’s pregnant. A popular option is Inukshuk Professional 30/25 dry dog food. 

Because your furry friend is creating mini versions of herself, she’ll need a high-energy dog food that nourishes her and her pups. And at 578 kcal/cup, this formula provides high-level nutrition for stamina and healthy growth. 

It starts with high-quality chicken and herring meals. These animal proteins are rich in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids for joint health and cognitive function.

Chicken fat and herring oil also provide extra fatty acids, as well as ARA, for the growing pups on the inside to get cartilage support. 

Along with these easy-to-digest ingredients, it also includes probiotics and chelated vitamins. These aid in a healthy digestive system and offer immune support. Plus, the vitamins are easier to absorb, meaning an easier pregnancy and healthier mom and pups. 

Dog parents exclaim that this food is the top choice for active dogs or those who need high-energy formulas. And, many note a positive difference in coat health too.


Nulo Freestyle Puppy Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Dry Dog Food

Nulo Freestyle Puppy Grain Free Salmon & Peas
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Whole Peas, Chicken Fat
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 428 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and high-fat dry puppy food with DHA and probiotics 

When your dog is pregnant, your vet may recommend that you switch her to puppy food until her pups wean. These formulas usually offer concentrated DHA and probiotics for brain and gut health. 

If you’re looking for a great grain-free formula, Nulo Freestyle Puppy Salmon and Peas dry dog food is the perfect choice. 

This recipe starts with deboned salmon and menhaden fish meal. These novel proteins contain amino acids to help your favorite girl keep her lean muscle mass and flexibility.

And both of them are high in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA for brain growth and give her coat an excellent luster. 

Instead of grains, this formula includes lentils, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. These easy-to-digest carbohydrates also contain B vitamins and iron for energy and heart health.

For gut support, they add probiotics and dried chicory root. These keep your dog regular and help protect her pups from harmful bacteria while in the womb. 

Parents love that this food includes wild-caught salmon and healthy legumes to replace the grains.


Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey Dog Food

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain Free Puppy Turkey
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 17.5% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 422 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and grain-free dry puppy food with probiotics for gut health

Got a picky eater on your hands? If so, you’ll want to entice her with delicious food. Because she needs to nourish her pups and gain a healthy amount of weight, this is crucial.

So why not give Wellness CORE RawRev with Freeze-Dried Turkey dry puppy food a try? 

This grain-free recipe includes raw ingredients for flavor and protein. It starts with deboned chicken and high-quality turkey and chicken meals.

These meats offer a whopping 38% Crude Protein to aid in a healthy body mass and lean muscles. And they include essential nutrients like B vitamins and taurine for energy and heart health. 

Freeze-dried turkey hearts offer a boost of flavor. But, they’re also fortified with EPA and DHA for a robust immune system and brain health. And if that wasn’t enough, salmon oil adds extra omega fatty acids and glucosamine for healthy joints. 

Last but not least, this formula includes millions of live probiotics. These offer gut protection and anti-inflammatory properties for a healthy digestive system.

Wellness CORE RawRev doesn’t contain any GMO ingredients, wheat, corn, or soy. While it’s manufactured in a facility that processes grains, it doesn’t include any in its formula. 

Dog owners say their dogs eat all of their food when served this formula. And, unlike other recipes, they could make the switch without any digestive problems. 


Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 374 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-calorie puppy food with tiny kibble size for small breeds 

Small dogs need concentrated nutrition to avoid overeating and weight gain since their tiny bodies can’t handle as much mass.

This is especially important for pregnant dogs. Not only will your small breed need all the nutrients for themselves, but also their growing pups. 

But, they need a high-calorie diet since they won’t eat as much as their larger counterparts. Their stomachs are tiny! That’s where Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development Small Bites dog food comes in. 

This formula starts with chicken meal and chicken fat. These provide glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and muscles. And, they’re easy to digest for most dogs, so your furry friend shouldn’t have any problems getting its nutrients for her pups. 

Fish oil provides natural DHA to support healthy brain and eye development, as well as give your dog a shiny coat.

It’s important to note that this food does include grains, so it’s not best for dogs who need a grain-free diet. Instead, it contains whole-grain wheat, cracked pearled barley, and whole-grain corn.

These offer prebiotic fiber for easier digestion. And cracked pearled barley includes vitamins like vitamin A and phosphorus for eye and bone health. 

This kibble doesn’t include any artificial additives or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. 

Small dog parents say this is the best food if your dog has a problem with larger kibble, and they love the high-quality grains. 


ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food

ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Flounder, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 451 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie puppy food with whole-prey proteins and probiotics for healthy growth 

If you have a pregnant large-breed dog, she’ll need a higher amount of calories (upwards of 4,000 calories in some cases!).

And, her pups will need nutrients like DHA for healthy growth both in and out of the womb. So give Orijen Puppy Large dry dog food a try. 

First, this formula is high in calories at 451 kcal/cup. This allows you to use less but still get the same nutrients and energy for your canine.

It’s also packed with prime animal proteins like chicken, turkey, flounder, whole mackerel, and eggs. And these are whole-prey ingredients — they include the bones and organs of the meat. 

These top-quality proteins are highly flavorful but also include some essential nutrients. These include glucosamine and DHA for brain and joint health and zinc for immune system support. 

Whole red lentils and whole pinto beans offer grain-free and easy-to-digest carbohydrates. They also include prebiotic fiber for a healthy digestive tract.

And, they contain a bit of protein, although luckily, they aren’t the main source, since your dog will need mostly animal proteins. 

Like the other formulas on this list, Orijen also has live probiotics. These are great for pregnant dogs and their pups since they restore healthy gut bacteria. 

Pet owners exclaim that this is the best option for large framed dogs, especially when they need to keep their weight and muscle mass. 


Instinct Original Puppy Grain-Free Wet Canned Dog Food

Instinct Original Puppy Grain-Free Chicken Wet
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Beef Liver, Salmon, Carrots
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 10% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture 
  • Caloric Content: 434 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Grain-free wet puppy food made with raw meats and antioxidants 

Some dogs prefer wet or canned options. If you want to get your dog to eat more, try feeding them canned food or even adding it as a topper to their regular kibble. But, also be sure to provide them with a wet dog food that is higher in calories and has essential nutrients. 

Our favorite canned option for a healthy pregnancy is Instinct Original Puppy Grain-Free canned dog food.

This formula includes meat proteins from cage-free chicken, beef liver, and salmon. These start raw in the recipe and cook during the canning process to remove harmful bacteria. 

Not only is this meat based formula high in protein (almost 40% if measured as dry matter), but it’s packed with nutrients. Beef liver and salmon contain DHA and folic acid for healthy brain and eye development in the new pups. 

Instead of grains, this recipe includes easy to chew carrots, peas, and artichokes. These contain essential nutrients like beta-carotene for eye health and vitamin C for immune system support. 

Instinct Original Puppy is also packed with antioxidants. This is from wholesome ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, and kale. These add gentle fiber for better digestion and strengthen your dog’s immune system. 

Dog moms and dads believe the food stinks but love that it’s easy to feed. And, they admit that their picky dogs love it!


Whole Earth Farms Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Canola Meal, Rice, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber
  • Caloric Content: 383 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Budget-friendly and high-protein puppy food with probiotics and DHA 

Your wallet is already taking a hit with the new puppies on board. It doesn’t have to be expensive to feed their mom. Instead, try a top-quality but lower-cost option like Whole Earth Farms Puppy dry dog food. 

This formula starts with real chicken and a high-quality chicken meal. They also add omega-rich deboned salmon and fish oil for DHA. These animal proteins also provide glucosamine and taurine for a strong and healthy heart and joints. 

This isn’t a grain-free recipe. Instead, it includes digestible brown rice and organic alfalfa for prebiotic fiber. And brown rice also contains nutrients like calcium for strong bones and manganese to fight inflammation. 

Does your dog need antioxidants to help with their lowered immune system? This formula also includes real blueberries. These provide antioxidant support for a boost in immunity. And probiotics offer immune support and better gut health. 

While it does include grains, this high-quality dog food is free of corn, wheat, soy, and poultry by-products. And, it doesn’t have any gmo ingredients, or artificial flavors, preservatives, colors. 

Canine owners love that they can feed their pups with high-quality food that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg.  


Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Merrick Backcountry Freeze Dried Raw Puppy
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Turkey Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 396 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: High-protein puppy food with probiotics and vitamin D for healthy pups 

Want the best food that money can buy for your pregnant dog? Instead of a budget-friendly option, try premium food like Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Puppy dry dog food.  

This formula has high-quality deboned free-range chicken. But, they also offer salmon and chicken liver as freeze-dried and raw bites.

These add extra flavor to entice even picky eaters. But, they also add a boost in protein and healthy fats to aid in a healthy weight and lean muscles. 

Chicken fat and salmon oil offers omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids for healthy joints and a shiny coat. Plus, the fish oil provides EPA and DHA for cognitive function and brain development. 

While this is a grain-free recipe, it does include potato protein, sweet potatoes, and flaxseeds. These add fiber and essential vitamins like vitamin A into your dog’s diet. And flaxseeds add extra amino acids for strong joints. 

Vitamin D is supplemented for stronger bones. And there are five different types of probiotics for healthier digestion and help your dog absorb more nutrients. 

Pet owners love seeing the freeze-dried raw bits, and they say that their dogs seek them out because they love the taste. 


ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ACANA Singles LID Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Lamb Meal, Lamb Liver, Sweet Potato, Whole Chickpeas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 31% Crude Protein, 17% Crude Fat, 5% Fiber, 12% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 371 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Grain-free and limited ingredient diet for pregnant dogs with allergies 

Pregnancy doesn’t mean that your dog with food allergies won’t have those issues anymore. In fact, pregnancy can exacerbate allergic symptoms if you’re not careful. 

So, it’s okay to leave your furry friend on a diet that supports their needs and avoids ingredients that harm them. 

If you’re looking for an option that also supports her pregnancy, try ACANA Singles Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free dry dog food. 

It starts with deboned lamb and lamb liver. This novel and gentle protein is perfect for dogs with sensitive tummies or protein allergies. And, the lamb provides just as much B12 and iron as other animal meats, so it’s great for energy and strong muscles. 

Pollock oil and lamb fat add essential fatty acids that promote skin and coat health. And pollock oil provides plenty of DHA — an essential nutrient — for your dog’s growing pups. 

Whole cranberries and whole pumpkin provide antioxidants to fight against free radical damage. And pumpkin also includes fiber for easier digestion. 

Pet parents agree that this food is great to switch to when your dog can’t handle specific proteins. Many were able to change right away with no issues. 


Nom Nom Beef Mash Dog Food

nom nom beef recipe
  • First 5 Ingredients: Ground Beef, Russet Potatoes, Eggs, Carrots, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 8% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 77% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 182 kcal/cup 
  • Key Feature: Human-grade and freshly-made food customized to your dog
Get 50% OFF your first Nom Nom order!

Want to make sure your friend is getting the nutrition she needs while growing her pups? Try a customized diet and get it delivered straight to your door. 

Nom Nom offers human-grade dog food made with the same high-quality ingredients that you’d find in your fridge. And these components are excellent for dogs that eat kibble, canned dog food, and even raw diets because they’re tasty and resemble “real” food.

For example, their Beef Mash formula starts with USDA ground beef, russet potatoes, and eggs. So your dog is sure to get balanced nutrition that tastes great. 

You’ll need to take their quick online quiz to start with Nom Nom. You’ll answer questions about their breed, size, potential allergies, and if they’re pregnant. From there, Nom Nom calculates the perfect diet for your pup.  

While the beef mash is a popular and high-protein option, Nom Nom has three other recipes — turkey, pork, and chicken. No matter which option you choose, they ship the food right to your doorstep every two to four weeks. 

Dog owners enjoy this easy-to-use and feed dog food. And they love how it’s preportioned, so they know exactly how much to feed their canine. 


pregnant dog

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your Pregnant Dog  

What happens when your dog gets pregnant? Things change! Here’s what you need to know. 

Dietary Changes During Pregnancy in Dogs

When your dog gets pregnant, she’ll need plenty of food. Unless she’s prone to gaining too much weight, you should feed her as many times as she’s hungry. She is growing multiple pups, after all! 

If she starts losing weight, you may want to switch to more palatable dog food, including a fresh formula or kibble with some wet or canned dog food.

Remember, dogs are only pregnant for a short time. It’s okay to make a few necessary adjustments and give her more during her pregnancy.

Also, be sure to choose a dog food that’s high in protein with omega fatty acids and includes easy-to-digest ingredients. 

pregnant dog sleeping

What To Look For In Dog Food For Pregnant Dogs

Ready to buy some dog food to help with your pregnant dog’s diet? Here’s what to look for. 

High-Protein

Protein will help your pregnant dog keep their muscle mass and aid in healthy metabolism. And protein offers other nutrients like amino acids for strength and bone health.

Plus, commercial dog food companies make sure that they’re in the right ratio so your dog and her pups are properly nourished! This will keep your canine from losing weight and have an easier pregnancy. 

Look for dog food formulas with at least 22% Crude Protein since these are considered “high-protein” options. Of course, the more, the better. 

Higher Fat Level

Did you know that your furry friend gets their energy from fat first? Plus, healthy fats aid in supple joints, heart health, and much more. When your dog is pregnant, they’ll also pass on these benefits to their pups. 

You’ll want dog food with at least 12% Crude Fat, but the best options have at least 15%. And look for healthier fats like coconut oil, meat fats, and fish oil. 

DHA

Growing pups inside and outside of the womb all need DHA. This building block aids in brain health and cognitive function. It also helps with mental and physical growth. 

DHA is more common in puppy formulas but is also available in some adult dog foods. Be sure that it’s included no matter the recipe you choose. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Your dog and her pups will need vitamins and minerals to live happy and fulfilled lives. These include calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc.

While there are other nutrients that they will need, these are essential and are found in almost all commercial dog foods. 

These aid in bone growth and strength, energy, eye health, immune system support, and much more. Without these vitamins and minerals, your dog could have deficiencies that negatively impact her and her pups. 

High Digestibility 

High-digestibility dog food is vital for pregnant dogs. This keeps their digestion in order and helps them with their stools

You may notice that your dog also has new sensitivities to specific proteins or ingredients. Don’t worry; this is common.

Switch to a formula with high digestibility. Look for foods with novel proteins (like fish) and easy-to-digest grains or carbohydrates.

Our Verdict

While your dog will need plenty of support during pregnancy, the food you feed her doesn’t have to be boring or vet prescribed. Instead, you can choose between the many different options we listed above. 

Of course, our number one contender for the best food is Inukshuk Professional 30/25 Dry Dog Food

This is because it will fit her needs during pregnancy, while she’s feeding her pups, and even after the small dogs wean. It’s excellent dog food. 

But if you need a specific diet for your canine, we have plenty of options for food allergies, picky eaters, and more. They’re all safe to feed pregnant dogs, so you’ll have a great formula no matter what you choose.

FAQ

Are you looking for more info about dog food for pregnant dogs? Here’s what you need to know. 

How much should I feed my pregnant dog?

This will depend on their breed, size, and current weight. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian so they can give you a guide for her food intake

Usually, pregnant dogs need to eat 10 to 15 calories more per pound than their non-pregnant counterparts (or about 2-4 times higher their normal calories).

For example, if your dog ate 20 calories per pound and weighed 100 pounds, now they would consume 30 to 35 calories per pound. This would be for a total of 3,000-3,500 calories a day.

Why are puppy foods recommended for pregnant dogs?

High protein and high-fat dog food is crucial for pregnant and nursing dogs. Plus, since their pups get their energy from the mom, they’ll need DHA and other nutrients that aid in healthy growth. 

Because of this, veterinary advice revolves around puppy food. This includes the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that the pups and their mom will need.

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AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

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