How are puppies fed? Let’s take a look at the various stages that make up the process of weaning puppies.
Weaning puppies is a very important stage in our little furry friend’s life, and we should not take it lightly. Each puppy has its own unique traits and we should not generalize. What may be good for one breed, may not be the same for another. Therefore, it is necessary to gather information before taking on this responsibility.
Making mistakes during this stage may cause some health and morphology problems to appear in our puppy, and these may affect it throughout its life. Generally, the ideal moment to begin weaning dogs is when they are around 4 weeks old. In a very small litter weaning may begin even days later, especially if the mother has a lot of milk in her mammary glands and is healthy. On the contrary, if the litter is large, weaning may start ahead of schedule.
The weaning process must also start if the mother is not producing enough milk. Just by observing that the puppies are eating enough and sleeping a lot, we know everything is going great.
Weaning Process in Puppies and Ideal Tips
Let’s try to clarify the different stages in weaning a puppy, and how we should go about in each one of them.
- Pregnancy lasts around 60-62 days approximately. In this period it is necessary to look after the mother so she is fed protein, and a mix of necessary minerals and vitamins, for example, cod liver oil, phosphorus and calcium.
- Preparing the whelping place, that is, the area where the puppies will remain resting during their first month. From the 20th day onwards, the puppies will begin to walk and get further away from the place they were born. Therefore, it is advisable to make small fences to contain the newly born pups from moving around too much.
Weaning Puppies: Start
- As of the 30th day, the puppies will have a proggressive food “supplement”, with specifically prescribed food especially made for puppies, that will start replacing daily nursing. This constitutes the beginning of the weaning process.
- From the 45th day forward, puppies will have reached 75% of the nutritional requirements met with Starter food. The mother will begin to get irritated or hurt because of the suckling of her puppies’ newly developed teeth. The mother will try to keep them away, so this is the most critical moment to work on the gradual aspect of weaning. Maternal lactancy is abandoned replacing it with the diet we are establishing.
- This is the beginning of the real weaning process. In a few days, nursing will be totally replaced with the special Starter food, with at least 4 meals a day, which then will turn into 3 meals (after 60 days of age). Puppies going through this stage must be dewormed and vaccinated so they become immune to viral diseases most common in puppies, such as parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, etc.
- After the puppy turns 75 days, it will begin its growth stage; this is an essential time for large dogs that need more minerals and calcium for adequate muscle and bone development. During this stage, it is necessary to rely on a trustworthy vet who will explain your puppy’s vaccination schedule and preventive medicine for internal and external parasites, all according to your dog’s breed.
So let’s go on this adventure with our new friend, on a journey across the canine universe, which surely will bring us joy, and moments of pure bliss!
Weaning Puppies: Hot to Feed them?
If we decide to not trust processed food, because we prefer to make our dog’s meals at home, it is essential to know that we will have to use raw minced meat as the main ingredient, better yet if it is ground beef with a purée-like or homogeneous consistency.
Afterwards, at a second stage you may add some milk after the beef (preferably cow-based or, the one especially made for puppies which would be even better). Food should be served lukewarm.
At the beginning of the weaning process, it is possible that your puppy will not like the new food and will eat too little. In this case, we should help it, perhaps by placing a finger in its meal and then getting our puppy to lick our finger to give the sensation it is still being nursed by its mother.
If you have more doubts, you may consult a licenced vet near your house, who will provide you with the best service and answer all your questions.
You may be interested in reading another article related to the reproduction of our friends such as:
- Neutering in Dogs
- Phantom or False Pregnancy in Female Dogs
- Dogs Mating
- Deworming in Dogs
- Dog Pregnancy