Just like babies, puppies too need breast milk from their mums. From birth, they feed entirely on their mother’s milk until they are strong enough to transition to other foods. This is because a dog’s milk is very nutritious and the best to advance the puppy’s health.
Weaning, on the other, is crucial and needs proper timing. So you just had a pup a few weeks ago as an added member of the family; what next?
What Is Weaning?
Weaning is the process of stopping your puppy from drinking the breast milk of nutritional formula and starts to eat puppy food. This process enables the puppy to gradually stop depending on the mother’s care and become independent.
Usually, the mother dog initiates and handles the weaning process of her pup. The orphaned pups on formula milk will require human attention and involvement to carry out successful weaning.
When Is The Right Time Of Weaning?
Usually, the puppy’s mum starts weaning when the young one is about 3-4 weeks old. Starting this early will ensure that by the time it’s 7-8 weeks old, the pup is well and wholly weaned and not nursing anymore.
Conversely, it would help if you start weaning orphaned pups about the same time and age. Weaning is not advisable at an earlier stage because the pup is too young and still needs the mother’s attention. Also, this is the time the puppy is learning life and social skills from the mother. Besides, the pup’s body is not yet ready hence very young to digest any type of food, including puppy food.
At eight weeks, the puppy is also learning to play and form a habit of biting a lot. You can learn how to handle such habits and more from wisepuppy.com.
What Is Natural Weaning?
It is very usual and possible for a mother to complete the weaning process of a 3-4 weeks old puppy without human intervention. When the puppy is nursing, she will cut short the process, stand up, and walk away. If the puppy gets persistent in trying and continuing nursing, the mother will push it away with her nose or growl to scare it away.
Then, the hungry puppy will have no option but to look for a way to feed. This will lead to eating the same type of food as the mum. However, the vets always recommend having a high-quality puppy’s meal to feed your weaning puppy as it is easy to chew and absorb into the body system.
How to Intervene a Weaning Process
If you need to adopt the puppy away, it would be best to intervene in the natural mother-puppy weaning process. This is because you need the puppy ready to eat dry food as it will not go with the mum to continue nursing.
Create a small area that is warm, clean, and well-lined with a newspaper to keep away from the mum for a few hours a day. A time away will enable the pup to get used to staying a more extended time away from the mum and learning to be independent. Also, continue increasing the duration of the time away gradually.
During this time, offer the puppy a well-prepared soft puppy meal. Make sure you have a container that will be easily accessible and also some water. Before returning the pup to the mum, ensure you wipe the mess away from its body clean with a damp cloth.
As tough as this is, it is the best way to have your puppy out and survive independently. Besides, it is part of growth. Go ahead and wean your puppy gently.