When Can I Start Feeding My Puppies Solid Food?
If you have a litter of growing puppies, you may be wondering when you can feed your puppies solid food. Generally, by the age of five weeks, puppies are ready to eat solid food. Depending on the breed, some people may choose to wait until six weeks of age, although that's a bit late. You may notice that your puppies are beginning to thin out as they get older. If they are still on mother's milk as their only source of nutrition, this means that their bodies need more calories and nutrients than they are currently getting. This is an excellent indicator that your puppies are ready for solid food. There are many ways you can wean them off of their mother's milk, and there is definitely more than one right way to do this. Breeders and veterinarians will have differing opinions on how to do this.
Raising 5 Week Old Puppies
5 week old puppies are just beginning to get social; they will wag their tails when they see you, and jump around excitedly when you approach. In my opinion, this is one of the cutest ages when raising puppies. They may cry out in protest when you leave them alone. Be sure that you provide separate places for sleeping and pottying to get your puppies started on the right track. At this age, they need plenty of socialization with humans, especially individual one-on-one time away from their littermates. This will help ensure a well socialized puppy.
How To Feed Puppies Solid Food
You can try feeding them regular soft puppy food in small quantities. This usually comes in a can, or small plastic container. Be sure to purchase puppy food that is specially formulated for puppies, as opposed to adult dog food. Simply heat it up a bit, just enough so that it's a little bit warmer than room temperature, and serve a couple of teaspoons per puppy. You may find that your puppies will attack the food voraciously; this another positive sign that indicates that they are ready for solid food. Once the container is opened, you will need to refrigerate any leftovers that you have, or throw it away.Â
You may want to give them a couple of additional teaspoons for future feedings, but for their first meal, it's not a good idea to give them much more than a couple of teaspoons. Puppies will eat themselves sick; they need our help to help prevent them from doing this. Consider how small a puppy's stomach actually is, it's truly tiny. If you don't want to give them canned food, you can take dry puppy food and soak it in warm water before serving it. If you want to provide your puppies with additional calories, you can soak the food in puppy formula or their mother's milk before giving it to them. Serve it up warm, and they will love it.
Observe your puppies carefully while they are eating. Puppies can easily dominate the food bowl, leaving one or more puppies without access to the food. If you see that there is crowding, take your weaker pups out and feed them separately. This will ensure that they get their fill. If you are unsure about whether or not your puppies are getting enough food to eat, you should weigh them daily. If their weight is steadily increasing, and they don't appear hungry, they are probably doing just fine. If you find that they are losing weight or cry a lot, they may need some supplemental formula feedings until they are completely weaned onto solid food.
You will watch your puppies become more active and more mischievous as they continue to eat solid food and thrive. Be sure to begin teaching your puppy some basic manners, even when they are very young. This will help ensure a well mannered dog that is a pleasure to be around in the future.