482 – Nutrition in Breeding Dogs with Dr. Gayle Watkins

Nutrition in Breeding Dogs with Dr. Gayle Watkins

Dr. Gayle Watkins, founder of Avidog and Head of Education at Good Dog, joins host Laura Reeves for a fascinating and informative conversation on the nutrition requirements for breeding dogs.

Watkins addresses raw feeding, kibble and specific nutrient requirements, especially calcium:phosphorus percentages, that enable the animals in our breeding programs to be successful in conceiving and raising their litters.

“We don’t have a lot of really good research on optimizing nutrition for breeding animals, either stud dogs or bitches, and we have a lot of myths,” Watkins said.

“If you are in the US, you need to feed an all-life stages or growth and reproduction diet to your breeding dogs. Ideally, that is also for stud dogs, but we don’t have much information on that. Definitely your bitches, as they prepare to breed, while they’re being bred, during pregnancy and during lactation. Adult maintenance food is inadequate for reproduction. It is not designed for reproduction.

“Dogs are scavengers … think about the stuff they eat! But breeding animals, we’re asking those bitches to do so much. They not only have to create puppies, they have to maintain their own body while that’s happening and they have to maintain their brain. So I think we have an obligation to not do homemade foods with our breeding bitches.

“I’m a big fan, if we can find those foods that are also certified by AAFCO through feeding trials. The all life stages feeding trial covers just prior to being bred, pregnancy and it covers their puppies for 10 weeks. So it’s a big feeding trial and that food has been tested as much as it could possibly be tested.”

Watkins continues with specific recommendations on additional micronutrients, fatty acids, probiotics and other supplements.

For previous Pure Dog Talk episodes on breeding topics with Dr. Watkins, click here, here, here and here.