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A veterinarian's sound

advice on the correct

way to Wean Puppies


Weaning Puppies
Jane Bicks, D.V.M.

Early weaning of puppies is selfish and unnatural, unless the
health of the mother is at stake. Puppies require the easy-to-digest,
nutrient packed milk from their mother or puppy formula
until 6 weeks of age.

Early weaning can create all types of health problems, including food
allergies, during their adult life. If you keep mom's puppy food in a
shallow dish, the inquisitive puppies are sure to walk into the food,
smell it, and eventually try to eat it!

They will also start to lap water as they fall in it and play around it. To
prevent drowning, it's essential to put water in a shallow spill proof
dish, then clean and refill it as often as needed.

How to wean Puppy if feeding mom Dry Puppy Food

Fill another shallow dish with puppy food and add enough water to soften
it (making it the consistency of oatmeal) Just as with mom's hard food,
the puppies will eventually end up in the dish, lapping the "mush"
that tastes just like mom's milk. Timing is everything.

At this stage, mom is tired, sore, and in need of escape. Once the
puppies start to eat on their own, they will demand less milk from mom
and give her the chance to leave the den for longer intervals. Day by
day you will decrease the additional water until the puppies are eating
solid puppy food, free-feed. That's when mom and the puppies can
celebrate their independence.

Weaning Puppy if feeding mom Canned Food

Simply add water until the food becomes a mush. Day by day you
will decrease additional water until you are serving direct from the
can (heated to room temperature). Since canned food can spoil,
you will need to refill the bowls frequently.

Weaning Puppy with no Mom

Once the puppies reach 4-6 weeks or have become brave enough to
investigate beyond their den, it's time to add a puppy food to
their formula. Start with 1/4 food and 3/4 formula. Don't add too
much additional water because you will dilute the puppy's meal.

Day by day you add more puppy food and less formula until you
are feeding only food. Congratulations, job well done, Mom!

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