11 – Dr. Gayle Watkins – Nutrition of the Dam, Canine Nomograph and Puppy Immunity

Dr. Gayle Watkins from Avidog.com 

Addresses the latest research on proper nutrition of the dam prior to breeding, and how the dam’s nutrition affects immunity, temperament, and life-long health in our puppies.

The 7 Stages of Growth

Macro Nutrients:  Sources and minimum requirements at pregnancy, neonatal, lactation and weaning stages.

  • Protein,
  • Fat and
  • Carbohydrates – their sources and minimum requirements at stages of pregnancy, neonatal, lactation and weaning are discussed.

Micro Nutrients:

  • Folic Acid to enhance brain and nervous system development and to reduce cleft pallet occurences.
  • Probiotics for immune support and to help establish a healthy microbiome in the puppies

How the vaginal birthing process affects immune system development.

Importance of colostrum in the first 12 hours.

Canine Nomograph

Blood Test on the Dam that tells:

  1. When maternal antibodies drop
  2. When Puppies are vulnerable to parvovirus and distemper
  3. Identifies when to vaccinate – when puppies can respond to the vaccine
  4. Reduces the number of puppy vaccinations required for protection
  5. Enables better socialization


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  1. […] & Taffe, Janice Hayes and the series we did on whelping with Dr. Gayle Watkins and the one on stud dog management are definitely listener favorites. There are a few more coming up […]

  2. Mary Jean Brady on 07/04/2018 at 12:13 PM

    Thank you so much for this information. As a future limited breeder, I really need this kind of information to make sure my future Biewer Terrier Dam, and her future puppies will receive the proper nutrients and get the nomographies to protect them all. I’m going to listen to this pod cast again, with pen and paper in hand. You have a devoted follower.

  3. Keala on 03/04/2019 at 12:43 PM


    I’m Just trying to clarify my understanding. With a nomograph I will learn when the puppies are vulnerable due to a decrease in protection from maternal antibodies. For example at 9 wks of age. With this information I would then know to get my pups vaccinated at 9 weeks old. Would I also then be able to feel okay socializing my pup prior to 9 wks old due to maternal antibody protection, and then restricting socialization during the 9-12 wk mark for vaccination and booster? Or would I use 9 weeks as my benchmark for getting them vaccinated followed by starting socialization?

    Mahalo for this information. I have worked in the veterinary industry in Hilo, Hawaii and have never heard of this type of test before. Parvo and Lepto are very prevalent here due to our climate. This could benefit many of our breeders and pet parents.

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