Dog Breeding Trade Secret #3

  • Hoping to increase the possibility of puppies and promote the growth of healthy pups?

  • Are cleft palates common in your breed, and are you seeking ways to reduce the likelihood in your planned litter?

  • Wishing to prevent puppy deformities such as spinal bifida?

I know it's easy to get lost in the details of dog breeding, and I work really hard when offering my services to ensure I explain my knowledge and observations in a way that can be understood because I believe:

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

Simple errors can trip you up pretty quickly when you feel confused. Not knowing the difference between apples and oranges, inches and centimetres, or even the breeding unit scale of nmol and ng when Progesterone ovulation testing can result in you missing the optimal breeding window.

This is why knowing the difference between mcg, ug, and mg is important when purchasing essential supplements like Folic Acid for your breeding dogs.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is vital for the overall reproductive health of dogs in both sexes. It helps produce and mature healthy eggs and sperm to increase the chances of successful conception.

What is Folic acid?

Folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient for humans and animals. While folic acid is commonly associated with human health and pregnancy, it also plays a vital role in canine fertility and puppy development.

What does Folic acid help prevent?

It's primarily given to promote the correct foetal development. Folic acid is crucial during pregnancy for proper embryonic and foetal development. It is involved in DNA synthesis and cell division, which are essential for the growth of the developing foetus. It helps prevent neural tube defects, such as spinal bifida, which can occur during early foetal development.

Pet food manufacturer Royal Canin published a study in 2006 (in the quest to market a tailor-made Mum & Babydog brand of food) that researched the benefits of higher folate levels for particularly brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds due to their presumed altered formation of muzzle because of their reduced length, and the impact this may have on cleft palates (a potential life-limiting mouth deformity) which are considered prevalent. The study confirmed that folate supplementation during a bitch's pregnancy could significantly reduce the risks of cleft palate by nearly 50%.

Historically, folate deficiency was a significant public health concern for us humans in many countries. This was a particular issue during unplanned early pregnancy, as this is when Folic Acid supplementation is most crucial. To combat this issue, food fortification programs were implemented to increase the intake of essential nutrients in the general population. One common method of fortification was the addition of folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) to wheat flour used in bread production in the UK.

This mass application also applies to dog food. Some food brands will have an elevated folate level, but generally, it's not enough for flat-faced breeds. Royal Canin recommends giving a high dose of 5mg daily with the optimal supplementation from 15 days before mating (or not later than day one of heat) until puppies are born.

Folic acid also plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells. Sufficient folic acid levels ensure that the Dam has an adequate supply of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which is fundamental for the healthy development of the puppies.

The correct Folic acid levels also help maintain a healthy immune response in both the Dam and the developing puppies, protecting them from various infections and diseases. 'It's also involved in various metabolic processes, including the metabolism of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and supports the normal functioning of body tissues.

Where can I buy the correct strength?

Folic acid can be purchased at any supermarket or health and wellbeing store; the problem is that the concentration is typically too low for dogs.

The majority will be sold in micrograms (mcg - also advertised as ug) with is unit of measurement that represents one-millionth of a gram (1/1,000,000 g); this concentration is equal to one-thousandth of a gram (1/1000 g).

To put it into perspective, 1 milligram (mg) equals 1,000 micrograms (mcg). Therefore, when converting between the two units, you multiply by 1,000 to go from mcg to mg and divide by 1,000 to go from mg to mcg.

It's important to pay attention to the units when dealing with measurements to ensure accurate dosing and avoid confusion, especially when working with substances that require precise amounts, such as medications or certain nutrients. Royal Canin recommends 5mg daily. If you were to purchase an off-the-shelf supplement whose strength was 500mcg/ug, you would need to give 10 a daily to total 5mg.

1mg Natural Folic Acid from the Canine Nutrition Coach (CNC) who is the Feeding, Breeding and Wellness Expert. CNC provide personalised, independent, dietary advice for your brilliant bitches, super studs and prized puppies.

Need more advice?

Remember that the specific Folic Acid needs when planning to breed or of a pregnant may vary based on the dog's size, breed, overall health, and individual requirements.

If you want more support and advice during your breeding journey, join the Canine Family Planner's Very Important Breeder Winner's Circle membership. Dog owners in the VIB's Winner Circle are a tight-knit community of like-minded breeders who desire access to world-class resources within a private and safe environment. It's the only place you can access me and my 23 years of experience, covering every aspect of dog breeding, pregnancies, and puppy rearing.