The right time to start feeding puppies food is after 1 month from birth or 4 weeks of age. This helps puppies development, and ensures they receive all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
Around 4 weeks of age, puppies can sip water, walk, and begin to grow teeth. This means the puppies have weaned from their mothers and are ready to transition to puppy food. It is critical to slowly wean pups off their mothers’ milk and supply them with high-quality puppy formula to assist the transition (such as gruel).
When puppies begin eating instead of relying on damps, mother dog becomes less concerned about the puppies and returns to normalcy sooner. Our breeding advice is to handle the weaning and separation procedure gradually to minimise any negative impacts on the puppies.
Understanding the Puppy Weaning Process: Different Types
Puppy weaning is the process of gradually reducing the puppy’s reliance on the mother’s milk and introducing semi-solid food like ‘Gruel.’ Weaning typically begins at around 3-4 weeks of age and is usually completed by 8-12 weeks of age.
This process involves the transition of the puppy’s independence from dams (mother) and developing the skills needed to eat solid food. It is important to ensure that the weaning process is handled carefully and gradually to minimize any negative effects.
There are 4 different approaches to weaning puppies, and the most appropriate method will depend on the individual puppies’ breed and their specific health needs. Here is how they start and end the weaning process:
1: Natural Weaning
This is the wild or natural process of gradually reducing the amount of milk the puppies receive from their mother until they are fully weaned. This typically occurs when the mother dog ceases milk production between 7 to 10 weeks after giving birth.
In this process, a young puppies’ diet will transition from mother’s milk to a semi-solid diet (Gruel) when they begin to grow their teeth, which enable them to chew their food.
2: Forced Weaning
This is a method of weaning that is used when the mother is unable or unwilling to nurse her puppies. In this case, the puppies must be fed a commercial puppy formula or milk replacer until they are old enough to eat solid food.
Force weaning is prescribed at the age of 4 weeks by adding less liquid formula and more soft solid food to young puppies feed and gradually increasing the quantity each week until their diet is totally solid (wet dog food) by the time they are 6-9 weeks old.
3: Early Weaning
This is the process of weaning puppies before they are 4-8 weeks old, either due to the mother being unable to nurse or hand-raised puppies. In both cases, puppies may start weaning earlier because they are separated from their mothers and littermates too soon.
However, it is generally not recommended to force wean a puppy before 8 weeks of age because weaning and separation from the mother is a complex process that can have long-term effects.
Abrupt weaning or interruptions in the natural weaning process can be harmful and may lead to fear, distress, impaired learning, struggle to eat alternate food, and increased biting behaviour, also develop behavioural problems as they grew adults.
Thus early weaning can be more challenging for the puppies and requires careful monitoring and management to ensure that they receive the nutrition and care they need for welfare.
4: Slow Weaning
Slow weaning is a method of gradually decreasing the number of milk puppies receive and introducing them to gruel for a long period. By the time the puppies are 9 weeks old, they should be ready to eat whole solid food from a variety of dry and wet puppy meals.
Slow weaning can be beneficial for puppies who have problems adapting to solid food or digesting it. It allows for a more gradual transition to solid food, which some puppies may find easier to handle.
If your puppies are not getting enough strength or have other physical health concerns, you may consult with a veterinarian or a professional puppy breeder to determine the best approach to weaning for your puppies. They can provide guidance on their health and development during the weaning process.
Puppy to Senior: A Comprehensive Guide to Feeding Your Dog
The nutritional needs of dogs can vary depending on their age, size, and activity level. Here are the guidelines or charts for feeding dogs at different life stages, based on recommendations from veterinarians.
Most veterinarians recommend starting puppies on a specially-formulated puppy food. They typically higher in calories and protein than adult dog food, and may also include more protein, additional nutrients such as DHA (omega-3-enriched), which is important for brain and eye development.
Homemade Dog Food: Is It Healthier? Our Guide to Avoid Misconceptions
Feeding Puppies at Different Life Stages (Feeding Time)
From vet recommended guidelines, puppies should be fed 4-5 times a day during the first 4 months of life, with the number of meals gradually decreasing as they grow and develop.
You should know, puppies have high energy needs and rapid growth rates, so they require a diet that is high in protein and calories. They should be fed nutritionally complete puppy food that is specifically formulated and nutrient rich.
Birth to 4 Weeks:
During this time, puppies should continue to nurse from their mother. If they are orphaned or their mother is unable to nurse them, they will need to be fed a commercial puppy milk replacer using a nursing bottle.
4 to 8 Weeks:
As puppies start to wean, they can be gradually introduced to moist food. A commercial puppy weaning food, gruel, puppy milk replacer, and even semi solid food soaked in water can be offered.
8 to 12 Weeks:
Puppies should be fed puppy food that can be semi-solid puppy food, wet or soft dry food with moisture that is easy to digest at least 4 times per day.
3 to 6 Months:
At this age, puppies can be introduced to three meals per day. You can gradually increase the amount of solid food as well, but do not feed them adult food. Maintain your emphasis on nutrients and digestion.
6 to 12 Months:
At around 1 year of age, it is generally recommended to gradually transition your puppy to eating two meals per day. At this age, most puppies have reached adulthood, although large breeds may take an extra year to fully develop.
Feeding Adult Dogs 1 to 7 Years Old
Puppies become dogs at the age of 12 months. It is common for most puppies to reach maturity at one year, whereas large breeds require two years.
1 to 7 Year Old:
Adult dogs have less energy and growth needs than puppies, so they require a diet that is lower in calories and protein. They should be fed adult dog food that is appropriate and should be fed at least twice per day to help prevent bloat.
To determine how much to feed your dog based on weight. You can follow our instructions to create a schedule for your adult canines.
Feeding Senior Dogs 7 Years and Older
Senior dogs have lower energy needs and may be less active than adult dogs, so they require a diet that is lower in calories and protein. They may also benefit from a diet that is higher in fiber to support healthy digestion.
7 Years and Elder Dogs Diet:
Elder dogs should be fed senior dog food that shuould be schedule two meals a day that is appropriate for their size and breed. They may also benefit from treats; more frequent meals to help them maintain a healthy weight.
Tips for Feeding your Puppy
- It is important not to underfeed or overfeed your puppies, as this can lead to health problems such as malnutrition or poor nutrition and bloat, which result in lactose intolerance, constipation, and gas.
- It is also important to choose a high-quality puppy food that meets their specific nutritional needs. Your veterinarian can also help you determine the right amount and type of food to feed your puppies.
- During the transition from puppy to adult food, carefully consider your dog’s nutritional needs and choose a high-quality diet to support the ongoing growth and development.
- You can also consult with your veterinarian to determine the specific nutritional needs of your older dog and advise on any dietary adjustments that may be necessary as your dog ages or if they have any specific health concerns.