Puppy weaning can be a stressful time for you, the puppies and the mother dog. However,by following a few simple steps, you can help mom return to her normal schedule while getting her pups accustomed to eating on their own.
Puppy weaning usually begins when the puppies are about three to four weeks old. By this age, they are already becoming more independent and are less reliant on their mother.
The mother will also be ready for the puppies to be weaned around this time, as the pups'' teeth will likely start to hurt her teats.
By taking a hand in weaning your pups, you''ll be able to take an active role in your puppies nutrition and care. Also, you''ll help them become more social animals. By involving yourself with the puppies at this early age, they will get accustomed to human contact and interaction, allowing them to make the transition from being a member of the litter to being a member of a family.
Many people go into weaning without a well-thought-out strategy, which can lead to disaster. In order to make the transition as easy for everyone involved,set up a system that you will follow throughout the weaning process. This will provide a gentle transition for both mother dog and her puppies. It will also help you maintain a sense of control.
One of the best ways to wean puppies is to follow a three-stage plan. If you follow the steps outlined below, your puppies should be weaned within a week:
Repeat this process three to four times a day for two full days.
Feed this to each pup three times a day for three days, gradually replacing the cereal portion with ground puppy food. By the end of the third day, the puppies should be eating only the food mixed with the milk and water.
As noted above,you will not only be weaning the pups but will also be transitioning the mother dog off of nursing. Prior to weaning, mother dogs typically eat four meals a day. During the weaning process, the mother dog should gradually return to her normal, pre-pregnancy eating schedule of two meals a day. Decreasing her amount of food will help her return to a healthy caloric intake and will also dry up her milk.
When weaning puppies, it is important to use common sense. Monitor each dog carefully and be sure to note if any of the pups are acting in an unusual manner. If a pup appears to be getting weak or is losing weight, he might not be tolerating the weaning process well.
If you think your new baby is having problems weaning, slow the weaning process. You might even need to move the pup back a stage in the weaning schedule. If he doesn''t improve or if his condition worsens, take him to the vet immediately.
As with any young animal, proper nutrition is vital to the physical growth of your pup. A diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals and that features the proper balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates will help ensure that each puppy grows up into a healthy dog.
If a puppy is not given the proper puppy nutrition in the early stages of its development, it can affect the dog''s physical appearance, motor skills and even longevity.
Most commercial dog foods formulated for puppies will have all of the nutrients your puppy needs. When it comes to puppy nutrition, ideally, the protein content of your puppy''s food should be between 25 percent and 30 percent.
If you aren''t sure if your puppy is getting enough nutrients from his food, consult with your vet. He or she will be able to explain puppy nutrition and tell you if further supplementation would be a good idea for your pup. However, a hard and fast rule of puppy nutrition is that you should never give your pup human supplements, as they could be harmful to him.