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When to wean puppies?

(April 20, 2010)

Wean Puppies

Weaning is a very important part of taking care of your puppies, as the timing and the method of weaning can have a lasting effect on them. Learning how to wean, at the appropriate time, can help you puppies develop emotionally as well as socially.

Most vets recommend that the right time to start weaning puppies is when they are about three to four weeks old. At about this time, the maternal jealousy of the mother also normally relaxes and she will probably want to get a little rest from the puppies every now and then.

When puppies are about three or four weeks old, the mother normally initiates the weaning process by letting the puppies breast-feeds only a little, while she stands. When she gets tired, she will just walk away.

Supplementing Puppy Milk

Around the fourth week, the mother dog will not allow her puppies to feed as often and as long as they want.  The puppies may see this denial as rejection.

Moreover, as they are growing, they will need to be given puppy milk a few times a day. You can start supplementing puppy milk, as soon as the puppy is big enough to crawl. You may need to place a shallow dish of puppy milk on the floor and guide their faces to the milk they may put their whole nose in the dish, but that is just a part of the learning process. If they do not sip the milk on their own, you could dip your fingers in the milk and allow the puppies to suck on them. Then try to guide the puppies to the dish again.

Even when your puppies are getting most of the milk intake from their mother, allow them to sip puppy milk from a dish about three or four times a day. This will make it easier for your puppies to adjust, when their mother starts weaning them.

Encouraging Puppy Food

Once you notice that you puppy relies more on supplementary puppy milk, you can add a small quantity of canned puppy food to the milk. Please ensure that the food is very soft and is covered in milk.  

Slowly, as your puppies get used to their new food, you can increase the quantity of food in the milk, until they are taking in more food than milk.

Form a routine for the puppies which includes you feeding them about four times a day, until they are weaned. Also make sure that you remove the dish of food after fifteen minutes each time, even if the food still remains.

It could take a few weeks for the puppies to wean completely. Therefore, the weaning period could last till the puppies are about eight weeks old.

Puppies normally get their first teeth at about six weeks. By the eight week, your puppies should be eating solid food.

Submitted by N M on April 20, 2010 at 11:26


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