So your pet dog has given birth and you’re now the aunt or uncle of a litter of fuzzy, wiggly puppies – congratulations! However, it’s understandable that as much as you’d like to, you can’t keep all the puppies forever.
To prepare for the eventuality that the puppies will have to leave their mother there are various things you can do to make the transition more comfortable. For instance, after the puppies are 3-4 weeks old, you should start weaning them from their mother so that they’ll be able to eat solid foods at their new home.
Weaning refers to the process of accustoming a baby to a diet other than its mother’s milk. Weaning should be a gradual process, where the baby is exposed to semi solids foods over a period of time.
For many first time pet-who-has-given-birth owners, weaning can cause a lot of questions and concerns. Go through this step by step guide to be better informed. Additionally, consulting your vet will ease any lingering fears.
Step # 1 – Know When To Start
Begin the weaning process when the puppies are 3 -4 weeks old and are beginning to develop a curiosity in the world around them. Traditionally, a mother’s milk production will start slowing down once her puppies are 24 – 28 days old.
Step # 2 – Know What To Give
Find an appropriate milk replacer for the puppies, either by visiting a pet store or consulting a vet. Royal Canin, a trustworthy pet brand sells a powdered milk formula that you can buy here.
It may be tempting to give the puppies regular milk or baby milk formula, but their bodies are built differently, so they may not process regular milk positively.
Step # 3 – Introduce The Puppies To The Milk
Put a little of the prepared formula in a shallow dish and place it in front of the puppies. Dip two fingers into the milk and place your fingers into the puppies’ mouths. Continue doing this until the puppies begin to suckle from your fingers.
Step # 4 – Introduce The Puppies To The Bowl
While carrying out step 3, gradually begin to move your fingers towards the dish that contains the milk, so that the puppies eventually try to lap up the milk from the bowl. Praise them when they do this.
Repeat this process a couple of times a day for 4 -5 days, until the puppies appear to be comfortable with drinking from the dish.
Step # 5 – Begin Mixing Semi Solid Foods With The Milk
Ask your vet for appropriate puppy food to give the puppies (such as biscuits) and pound them into mush, which you should mix with a good amount of the milk replacer. Place this mixture in front of the puppies.
Continue this process for 2 – 4 weeks, gradually decreasing the amount of milk until the puppies are eating mostly solids.
And now, we predict some FAQs –
How Many Times A Day Should The Puppies Be Fed?
When you start the weaning process, give them the milk 6 – 8 times a day in tiny amounts. As they start with solids, you can reduce the feeds to four times a day, with slightly larger amounts. By the time the puppies are three months old, you can reduce the meals to three times a day. Play it by ear and observation to decide how much quantity your puppies need.
What About The Mother?
As the puppies start depending on her milk supply less and less, their mother may start leaving them alone for short periods of time. That’s totally fine; it’ll help her recover after her maternity period.
She may also be interested in eating the food you’re feeding the puppies. Allow her a bite or two; the puppies will see that the food is trustworthy and be keener on trying it.
If you have any more questions be sure to leave us a comment, or ask your vet, who will be only to happy to help!