Start with food sources. Food sources, like leafy greens, beef liver and egg yolks, will contain co-factors that greatly leverage the beneficial nutrients in the food. Food sources will always be safer and more effective under normal circumstances.
You should never be giving excessive amounts of anything to your dams, and liver in particular should be used sparingly because the high amounts of vitamin A can be harmful in the early part of your dam’s pregnancy. But a tidbit of liver, and egg yolk, and a folate shake each day will pack a folate punch without doing any harm.
Supplement with Folic Acid only if the Science Indicates. Folic acid is not exactly the same as folate. It is an artificial form of folate and can be harmful in large doses. Ironically, excessive folic acid supplementation has been found to mimic folate deficiency in humans. So folic acid is nothing to be trifled with.
HOWEVER, if you have a brachycephalic breed or another breed that has been studied and massive doses of folic acid have been shown to be beneficial, then I would advise you to give that supplementation.
Shake it Up. Whip up a smoothie in the blender with baby kale, baby spinach, coconut water, and a tablespoon of flax seed meal. I pour it into freezer bags and freeze it flat so I can break off easy-to-chew pieces for my girls. You can read our article on folate shakes, here.
Protect your Dam. Regardless of any other factor, keep in mind that during the first trimester of pregnancy your litter is extremely susceptible to environmental factors. Until that neural tube closes, the smallest insult can cause birth defects. So jealously guard your dams from any chemicals or impurities or exposure to dogs that might be carrying a virus during that first trimester. Even though that first trimester is when your dams appear the least vulnerable, that is the time when they are most sensitive, and your litter is at the highest level of jeopardy for birth defects.