My bitches will feed puppies up to eight weeks. But I feed her puppies twice a day somewhere around four weeks, just regular adult food, softened with hot water, and then I will add some dannon's yogurt and egg. The dam eats with the puppies and I let her go ahead.
The bitch will back off of feeding for a number of reasons. One is if the puppies' toenails are actually hurting her. They need to be trimmed at least once a week. If her teats are sore or infected. If she is not feeling well. If you boosted calcium prior to whelping or in the early weeks, the puppies are growing and drinking a lot more, and she may not be making enough. A calcium deficiency can be very dangerous. Any extras with calcium need to be continued -- I rarely augment calcium and usually do so with yogurt or cottage cheese rather than calcium supplements. So my dogs generally produce what they need on their own. When we supplement, their body doesn't try so hard to glean it or make it. And people stop supplementing when the puppies seem to be on a good footing, and that happens to be when they require the most, because you have 7 puppies that are no longer a grand total of 7 pounds, they are more like 49 pounds, and eating for growth. It's a huge job.
Take her temperature. If that is normal -- 101-102 degrees, check her teats, clip the nails, and if the puppies are growing well, no need to take her to the vet yet. If the temp is 103 or higher, or lower than 100.5; or if one or more mammary gland looks significantly larger than the others, or infected;or if her demeaner changes; if she has any weakness, trouble standing or stiffness in walking -- VET NOW.
Some bitches are awesome dams and will play with and tolerate their puppies until they are 3 years old (or older). Others are ready for the puppies to be gone at 8 weeks. And others are ready a bit younger than that. Sometimes younger dams can be less maternal and more playful/less careful with puppies. A year or two later, they change a lot. Sometimes young dams are awesome -- highly individual. When people come to see puppies, the dam may be full momma bear at 3 weeks, Cujo at 5 weeks, and fine at 8 with strangers. Other dams are not as aggressive, and just give some worried looks -- why is that small strange human running back and forth in here, do something about it now, please. Just saying that to prepare you. It is possible for your female to show another side of her personality when she has baby-puppies.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.