For good health and growth, the puppy must be weaned at the right time and in the right way. Switching from breast milk to a solid diet is done very gradually, in particular to avoid digestive disorders. Here’s how to go about helping the puppy overcome this step.
When to start weaning?
The natural phase of dog feeding, weaning aims to help the dog to switch from breast milk and liquid food to solid food that covers all of its energy needs. It will allow the animal to benefit from a nutritional and mental balance. Weaning does not happen all the time, although it is a completely natural process. In reality, it is the mother who initiates it. She begins to push back her cubs because she can no longer support their teeth during the feeding. Weaning usually takes place around the third week for large breeds and around the fourth week for smaller dogs. By week five, the process is effective as the puppies are developing their teeth. Normally, between 6 and 9 weeks, the puppy should no longer need breast milk.
To know when to initiate weaning, it is necessary to pay attention to certain signs. The first being the behavior of the mother. As said above, the mother will start to push her young. If she is losing weight, the transition should be mandatory because it means she can no longer feed them properly. Paying attention to the weight of the puppies is also essential. When they gain less and less weight around the third week, weaning should be considered.
Please note that the situation may also not unfold as described here. Sometimes the mother pushes the puppies away from the first month, because she does not have enough milk. This is called early weaning. In this case, human intervention will be necessary. Puppies should be bottle-fed formula.
The different phases of a successful weaning
Puppies will naturally take an interest in their mother’s bowl. This is why from the third week, they will have to be presented with infant formula to put in a bowl. Between the fourth and fifth week, they will feed on milk porridge. On the market, you will find special kibbles for the end of nursing or dedicated to puppies that will need to be moistened with infant milk to make them soft and soft. In the fifth and sixth week, the milk will be replaced by water. The croquettes must always be moistened and then crushed. Dogs should be able to chew normally. Then from the seventh week, you can serve croquettes adapted to the breed, weight and age.
To avoid possible digestive disorders, it is strongly recommended not to change the kibble and to keep the same growth diet. Once weaning is complete, the puppies will be able to transition to new food.