We’ve all seen it before, that cute little puppy at the shelter who needs some extra love and attention.
You want to adopt them but you don’t know if you should give them milk or not.
Some people think it’s best to keep them on their mother’s milk until they are eight weeks old, while others will wean them off at four weeks.
The truth is, there isn’t one right answer here, and each situation is different.
There are several factors that can make the decision for you, including how old your pup is, what kind of dog they are, and their health.
When To Stop Giving A Puppy Milk?
You may be wondering why you would ever stop giving a puppy milk.
Well, it’s because puppies need to get used to drinking water as well as eating solid food.
If you continue to feed them with milk, then they won’t start drinking water regularly and they could develop issues like diarrhea or urinary tract infections (UTIs).
In addition, many veterinarians recommend weaning puppies off of milk so that they have more energy to play and exercise.
If you decide to wean them early, though, you will need to continue feeding them with canned foods until they reach eight weeks old.
This is because puppies still need breastmilk during this time to ensure proper growth and development.
If you have decided that you’re going to wean your puppy off of milk, here are a few things to consider:
- How old is your puppy?
- What type of puppy do you have?
- Do you have any concerns about your puppy’s health?
- Are you planning to breed your pup?
Age Of Your Puppy
Puppies are usually born around ten days after they are conceived.
They typically weigh anywhere from 5-10 pounds upon birth.
When they are only two weeks old, they are considered to be teething pups, which means they can chew on everything in sight!
It takes approximately six weeks for your puppy to completely grow out of its teething stage.
During this time, their teeth start to come through their gums, and they begin to eat solid food.
By the time they are three months old, most puppies have fully developed adult teeth.
At this point, they no longer require breastmilk, and they can go off of canned food.
There are certain breeds that tend to take longer to mature than others, and this also affects when you should wean your pup.
For example, Dalmatians are known to be slower growing and take longer to maturate than other dogs.
So, if you plan on breeding your Dalmatian, you might want to wait until he/she is closer to six months old before you wean him/her off of milk.
Breed Of Your Puppy
Another factor that you will need to consider when deciding whether or not to wean your puppy is their breed.
Certain breeds are known to be prone to UTIs, which can easily lead to kidney failure.
Therefore, it’s important that you avoid weaning these types of dogs until they are older.
Health Of Your Puppy
Lastly, another thing to consider when determining whether or not to wean your puppy is their overall health.
If your puppy has an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or heart problems, you should consult a veterinarian before weaning them.
However, if you feel that your puppy is healthy, then you can proceed to weaning them without too much worry.
There are several reasons why you should wean your puppy early.
As mentioned previously, you want your puppy to transition into drinking water on their own.
In addition, you will also want them to start eating solid food, which is easier to digest than liquid.
Finally, it gives them more energy to play and exercise, which helps them grow up faster.
However, there are also times when you shouldn’t wean your puppy.
For example, if they are just starting to eat solid food, they might not be able to handle it yet.
Additionally, some breeds are known to have digestive disorders, and you don’t want to expose them to unnecessary stress by weaning them earlier than needed.
The weaning process
Puppies need around 16-20 ounces (500-600 ml) per day of milk during the first few months of life.
This is called “demand feeding” because puppies naturally produce less than this amount of milk themselves.
As your puppy gets older, demand feeding becomes more difficult.
The weaning process consists of gradually reducing the amount of milk given to your puppy until he or she is completely off the bottle.
When puppies are ready to be weaned, it’s important to remember that every pup has his own individual time frame.
It could take as long as six weeks or as short as two weeks for a puppy to wean.
Milk’s role in a puppy’s diet
This question is really about which foods you should be giving your puppy during their first few months.
One thing to remember is that puppies need proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and calories.
When deciding whether to feed your puppy milk or not, consider these things.
- What age is your puppy? If it’s an older puppy (over six months), then it may be time to start switching from breastmilk or formula to solid foods.
- Is your puppy a small breed? Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, Maltese dogs, and Pekingese have smaller stomachs than larger breeds, so they may need less nutrients per pound of body weight than larger breeds. This means they could get by with lower calorie levels as well. Small breeds also tend to be more sensitive to milk allergies, so it might be better to avoid milk altogether.
- Are you feeding your puppy their own mother’s milk? Even if you decide to switch out milk for solid foods, it’s still important to give your puppy their own mother’s milk occasionally because it contains antibodies that help protect against illnesses and diseases.
- What type of dog does your puppy belong to? If your puppy is a large breed, then it’s likely that they will grow quickly and require more calories than other small breeds. Large breeds also have a higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, so it’s important to pay close attention to their weight.
- How healthy is your puppy? If your puppy has any medical issues, such as being born prematurely, having a genetic disorder, or being underweight because of poor nutrition, then you might choose to feed them milk instead of solid foods. But if your puppy is healthy, then this is probably not necessary.
Puppy formula options
There are two main types of puppy formula out there when it comes to weaning puppies from their mothers’ milk.
One is called “premium” and the other is “standard”.
Both have their pros and cons, which I’ll go over below.
- Premium formulas are made with real meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and other ingredients that mimic the nutrients found in human breastmilk. While these formulas do contain many of the same minerals as natural milk, they are processed differently so they aren’t quite the same thing. They also tend to be more expensive than standard formulas.
- Standard formulas are cheaper, but they are usually made using soy products instead of animal products. They may contain less protein than premium formulas, but they are often easier to digest and digestible by most dogs.
The biggest difference between premium and standard formulas is the amount of fat content.
Premium formulas typically contain about 10% fat, while standard formulas contain around 5%.
If you decide to use either type of formula, it’s important to remember that not all dogs need to eat this way.
If your puppy eats well on its mother’s milk alone, then you don’t need to worry about changing anything.
Your puppy might just be a picky eater.
However, if your puppy doesn’t eat well on her mother’s milk alone, and you choose to feed them formula, then you must pay close attention to the fat content.
This is because fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, will be affected by the fat content.
For example, too much fat in the diet could lead to a deficiency in those nutrients, especially if your puppy consumes them through their mother’s milk only.
It’s always better to supplement any of these nutrients with a good quality multivitamin to ensure your puppy gets everything it needs.
Here are some tips for choosing the best puppy formula for your pup:
- Look at the ingredient list. All premium formulas will list the ingredients on the front label (the part where you see the name of the product), while standard formulas will list them on the back. Look for ingredients that are similar to those found in mother’s milk, such as protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
- Check the fat content. Premium formulas should contain at least 10% fat, while standard formulas should contain no more than 5%.
- Compare the price. Premium formulas tend to be more expensive than standard ones, but they are also more nutritious, so it’s worth paying a bit more for a healthier choice.
- Read the directions closely. Read the instructions carefully and follow them exactly. Always read labels and instructions before giving your puppy a bottle of formula.
- Feeding time matters. Feeding your puppy during the day versus night is another factor to consider. Many dogs prefer nighttime feeding since it gives them an opportunity to sleep longer. If you plan to feed overnight, it’s best to mix the formula with water first to reduce the risk of choking. Also, avoid feeding your puppy formula directly from the jar. Instead, spoon a small amount into a bowl or cup, add water, and stir it together thoroughly.
Making the switch to solid food
The first thing you need to do is start feeding your puppy solid food.
This means they’ll be starting with real meat and vegetables instead of just baby food.
Depending on the breed, you may have to wait longer than normal to start weaning them off their mom’s milk.
So, if you are adopting a toy breed like a Chihuahua, you may want to wait until they are around 4-6 months old before switching over to solid food.
You also need to decide how often you want to feed your puppy.
If you plan to take them back to the breeder after they reach adulthood, then you might only need to feed them once every two days.
However, if you plan on taking your puppy home with you, then you likely won’t be able to stop giving them their meals every day.
With this in mind, you can determine how many times per day they should eat.
If you plan on taking your puppy home with you, I recommend feeding them three meals per day.
One meal should consist of about 50% of their daily calories, and the other two meals should be smaller portions of the same food.
This allows your puppy to get enough nutrients throughout the day without overeating.
As your puppy gets older, you can gradually increase the amount of solid food they eat each day.
It’s important to remember that dogs need to consume about 10% of their body weight in calories each day.
For example, a 15 pound dog would need 1,500 calories per day, so they should definitely be eating more than just a few bites of food each time.
Once your puppy is fully transitioned to solid food, you can begin weaning them off of their mom’s milk.
As mentioned above, most puppies will start transitioning from their mom’s milk to solid food around six to eight weeks old.
Once they reach that age, you can slowly decrease the amount of milk they receive each day.
By the end of their second year, they should be completely weaned off of milk.
However, if you have a very young puppy, you may want to hold out until they are around 12 weeks old.
This gives them a chance to gain a bit more weight before weaning them off of their mom’s milk.
How much solid food to feed a puppy
It used to be that puppies were fed raw meat from birth until about six months of age, but now most dogs are fed dry kibble.
If you plan to get a puppy from a breeder, then they may already be eating dry kibble (or canned food) from the day they are born.
If you decide to purchase a puppy from a pet store or rescue organization, then they may have been fed wet food since they were a few days old.
Wet food contains more water than dry food, which means that in order to transition your puppy to dry food, you need to gradually reduce the amount of wet food they are getting over time.
This gradual reduction also helps with potty training because it makes transitioning from the litter box to the toilet easier.
When you first bring home a puppy, you might notice that they always go in the same place to pee, whether it’s inside or outside.
Gradually reducing the amount of wet food they eat will help them learn where the bathroom is so that they can eliminate there instead of in the same spot.
As your puppy gets older, they will start to lose weight.
This is completely normal, and it’s nothing to worry about.
It’s actually a sign that your puppy is healthy, as they are no longer gaining any weight.
You can tell this by checking their teeth and gums.
If they are losing weight, but still chewing everything in sight, then they are probably just growing into their adult teeth!
How Much Solid Food Should I Give My Puppy?
Your puppy should start eating solid foods around 4-6 weeks of age.
This is typically when they should be able to hold down a full meal without being hungry again within an hour.
However, it’s important to remember that every puppy is different, so you shouldn’t set a specific date for when your puppy should be ready to transition.
A few things to consider include how big they are, how old they are, and how active they are.
For example, if your puppy is small, under 10 pounds, or doesn’t move around much, then they may be ready sooner than someone who is bigger, older, or more active.
If you aren’t sure how much to feed them, simply follow the recipe that comes with their dry food.
Many brands have a recommended serving size that will vary depending on how large your puppy is.
If you are unsure, ask your vet.
If you’re worried about giving your puppy too much solid food too soon, you can always add a few baby carrots to their meals.
Just make sure to cut those up into smaller pieces so that your puppy can easily chew on them.
Baby carrots are usually safe to give to puppies because they contain less sugar than regular carrots.
One thing to remember is that puppies are going to poop a lot.
If you’re feeding them too much at once, they won’t have enough energy to poop regularly.
So rather than feeding them a bunch of food at one time, try splitting their meals into two smaller meals throughout the day.
The Bottom Line
If your pup has been born in the last few days, they may need special care from you.
It’s important to provide them with plenty of milk until they are about three weeks old, so they have enough energy for their first vaccinations.
If you plan to keep them longer than three weeks, then stop giving them milk after this time.
After three weeks, most puppies will start eating solids.
This usually happens around six to eight weeks old.
At this point, you can start transitioning them away from breastfeeding.
Your vet will be able to tell if they are ready for solid foods by their weight gain.
As soon as you start feeding them solid food, you can also start gradually cutting down on the amount of milk they get.
Once they are eating solid food regularly, you can cut back slightly more to ensure they aren’t getting too many calories.
The goal is to slowly drop their milk intake over the next week or two.
In general, it’s best to start weaning them from the breast at around eight weeks old.
By this age, they will generally be big enough to eat their own food, and you won’t need to worry about keeping them warm.
However, if you have a tiny puppy, it could take them up to ten weeks to transition to solid foods, which is why it’s important to talk to your vet if you are unsure.
They can help you decide whether you should wait a bit longer or not.
When you do start weaning them, try switching to water-based treats like yogurt or cheese instead of dry kibble.
Dry food is easier to digest than raw meat, and it’s less likely to cause gastrointestinal upset.
This makes it a better choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Keep an eye out for signs of digestive problems.
If your puppy starts having diarrhea or vomiting, it’s a good idea to bring them in to see the vet immediately.
These symptoms could mean something serious is going wrong, such as worms, parasites, or bacterial infection.