Many resources are dedicated to advising dog owners, and new dog breeders, how to look after and feed the puppies but the bitch needs to be well looked after too.
After whelping the first meal your bitch should be easy to digest. Some dog breeders recommend chicken soup with a little rice; others recommend freshly boiled chicken in a little water. Try not to let your bitch fill herself with a meal high in carbohydrates unless she has had plenty of protein too.
During the lactation period it is important your bitch gets plenty of protein in a well balanced diet without too many fats or carbohydrates. Without the high protein in her diet, the mother will be using her own body’s reserves to produce the milk resulting in a malnourished mother.
Throughout the pregnancy the bitch should have been eating much more than normal; do not reduce this level of food now – she needs more food during lactation than she did in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Feed her little and often with a recommended dog food.
As always, ensure your dog has plentiful access to fresh and clean water as she will need to drink much more than usual too. Keep the water bowl nearby and easily accessible. Be sure that the bowl is kept safely away where adventurous puppies cannot reach it to avoid drowning.
Following the lactation period, you can reduce the food of the bitch back to normal eating levels prior to the pregnancy. This should be quite quick if she has been kept on a well balanced diet throughout both pregnancy and lactation and is well nourished.
Avoid giving any supplements without advice from your vet.
Note that following whelping your bitch is unlikely to want to leave the puppies initially. Gently encourage her to walk close to the whelping area and she will soon get back into the habit of going outside to relieve herself so long as she doesn’t have to leave the puppies for long.