Weaning puppies and starting your puppy on solid food is not hard to know – you just need to learn a few basic tricks and techniques.
Many people are unsure of how to start the weaning process with their litter of puppies. Weaning is the process of the puppies beginning to eat food other than their mothers’ milk.
The first litter of puppies my Border Terrier had I simply did not have a clue! One helpful friend told me to use baby cereal as her puppies had thrived on it. My puppies looked at then refused to eat it!
Here is my fail safe weaning plan.
A bitch is capable of supplying milk to her puppies for approximately eight to twelve weeks.
Weaning is generally done at about three to four weeks because the puppies need to be fully weaned at about eight weeks to enable them to go to their new homes. Most breeders will give the puppies their first taste of food at about three and half weeks. This may seem early to you, but after having numerous litters of puppies I can assure you that puppies of any breed can take food on their own at this age.
To make a puppy mush it is best to stay with the same brand of food the mother is fed, using the companies dry puppy food called puppy kibble. Puppy kibble is a highly nourishing food that is much smaller than adult dry food. It is also more expensive but please do not be tempted to just give adult food mushed down – the puppies really do need specialised puppy food.
Prepare the puppy mush by placing 2 cups of high quality dry puppy food in a bowl and soak with enough warm water to cover the food. Leave for five minutes or so then mix to a smooth consistency. This will be enough to feed approximately six puppies of a medium breed. This should be given four times a day. Initially the puppies will walk in it and play with it but they will soon learn to eat it. The Mother quite often will finish the food before the puppies get a chance to but that’s fine, it reinforces to them what it is for. Each four or five days increase the amount of food and decrease the amount of water until by about seven weeks they are eating completely dry food. Easy!
Always remember to let the puppies have access to plenty of clean water at all times as the dry food requires a lot of water to be digested.
Marjory Ramsay was a nurse and is now a busy mum looking after her children and step children. She developed the symptoms of breast cancer in 2006 and has undergone extensive treatment since then. Apart from describing her radiotherapy experiences she has also written about herceptin side effects