How to Wean a puppy: A discussion with Dr. Smita
Hi. Welcome to our video Petzz series. Today we are going to talk with doctor Dr. [Dr. Smita], our vet expert, about how to safely wean a puppy. Just like human babies, puppies are weaned and the nursing is replaced with a more solid diet.
R1: Hello, Doctor [Dr. Smita]! There’s quite a debate as to what is the right age to wean a puppy: some vets recommend puppies to be introduced to solid food around 3 weeks old, others suggest a slightly later age. What is the right age for a puppy to be weaned?
V1: Generally, we can’t say there is a right age to wean a puppy, but generally around 3-4 weeks old, puppies will start to show interest in other kinds of food other than their mother’s milk. So, that is the right time you can start introducing the puppy to a new diet, around his 4th week.
R2: How should we introduce the puppy to the new diet? Gradually or can we change it over a few days?
V2: No dog diet should be changed suddenly, as it can cause digestive problems. With puppies is even more delicate since their digestive system is not fully formed, so that’s why we’ll introduce them gradually to a new diet. We can start with a semi-liquid mix of starter or weaning formula (you can find these puppy foods in almost any pet shop). The weaning formula should be a dog product and not a human one, as puppy formulas are specifically tailored to meet the dietary needs of a puppy.
Put the mix in a small shallow pan or bowl and gently place the puppy at the edge of the pan. As soon as they smell the food they’ll start licking it by themselves. Lazy puppies that are a bit reluctant to approach the new food can be given a gentle push by putting their chin in the pan with food.
R3: Should the puppy be fed formula together with a solid diet? What food should we feed as solid diet? Rice with meat and vegetables, kibbles, canned dog food?
V3: Yes, at the start of the weaning period, the puppy can have 2-3 formula meals and 1-2 semi-liquid meals. Then gradually increase the number of the semi-liquid meals and decrease the number of formula meals. After a week of semi-liquid diet, we can start thickening the food with grounded puppy starter food (small kibbles) or puppy canned food. Since they are only starting to get their teeth, puppies can’t eat a solid diet, that’s why you can soften the puppy starter kibbles in water before you give them or smash them into smaller pieces and add them to the semi-liquid mix.
R4: When nursing and as he’s around his mother a puppy will eat as many times as he feels hungry. After weaning, how many times a day should a puppy be fed?
V4: After weaning a puppy should have 5 meals a day and around his 6h week, we should come down to 4 meals a day of high quality puppy food.
R5: What about water? How should we introduce a puppy to water? How much water should a puppy drink daily?
V5: Water intake is important for puppies and they should be introduced to water the same way we introduce them to the puppy weaning formula. Puppies should ½ a cup of water every two hours depending on their size of course. After the weaning period, when they have more solid food, a puppy should drink between 15-30 ml per kg of body weight. So if your puppy weighs 4 kg, it should drink 100-120 ml of water daily. As a general rule, puppies drink more water than adult dogs.
R6: As pet parents, how can we devise a weaning time schedule?
R6: Thank you, Dr.[Smita]. I hope our Petzz expert managed to throw some light on how to wean a puppy safely. We will meet again next week to discuss about how important is vaccination and deworming for a puppy.
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