How does food impact on a dog’s capacity to reproduce?

Food plays an essential part also on a dog’s capacity to reproduce.

Underweight and overweight dogs, and more in general dogs with nutrient deficiencies, can have fertility problems and often this can also affect the development of the puppies in the womb.

Underweight pregnant dogs may not produce the normal amount of gonadotropins (FSH and LH), i.e. the hormones that regulate the activity of the ovaries, have protracted anoestrus and a reduced number of ovum cells.

This condition can affect puppies, causing them to be underweight before and after birth and, in extreme cases, it can increase mortality during gestation and in the early weeks of life.

In the same way, excessive weight can affect fertility as it normally translates into higher levels of androgen in circulation and in the alteration of protein metabolism in ovaries and during heat, causing a lower quality of ovum cells.

Even dogs that have an ideal weight can have fertility problems due to nutritional deficiencies. For example, if they have an unbalanced diet or one that lacks one or more nutrients.

The correct amount of nutrients and the selection of high-quality ingredients are essential to a dog’s hormonal balance.

Vitamin, mineral and fatty acid nutritional deficiencies are the main cause of reduced fertility.

Therefore, it essential that dog food contains the correct amount of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

The most important components are:

  • Vitamin A – essential to the corpus luteum, responsible for the production of sex hormones
  • Vitamin E – a natural antioxidant, a deficiency of this vitamin could cause complications during gestation or cause a miscarriage due to an alteration in the corpus luteum and the placenta
  • Folic Acid – helps prevent cleft palate in puppies
  • Selenium – supports Vitamin E action
  • Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 – essential to the development of the puppy’s nervous system before birth and improve functions of the placenta, the organ that connects the mother to the foetus.