Dogs have different nutritional needs depending on the vital stage in which they are found. The weaning food for puppies is ideal to help them in their first food transition and to prepare them for adult life.
Weaning period: what is it and how long does it last?
The weaning period is the first food transition in a dog’s life. The animal experiences organic and behavioral changes that gradually prepare it to leave the mother’s milk. But weaning is more than just a change in diet. In fact, during this period the little ones are preparing to become independent from their parents.
Puppies need to know the outside world to develop their survival skills and instincts. Therefore, it is imperative that they have security and confidence in their means to grow healthily. Once three weeks have passed since their birth, the puppies enter a new stage of physical and emotional growth .
All of this marks the beginning of the weaning period, which extends and ends between the eighth and ninth week of their life. Their stomach begins to dilate and become more resistant , which allows for a better capacity for ingestion and digestion. In addition, the first milk teeth begin to appear. Therefore they can show themselves more hungry and restless.
Their curiosity in full development leads them to observe and imitate some attitudes and behaviors of the mother. It is quite common for them to take an interest in smelling and tasting the food they are given. However, puppies still lack the ability to chew and digest solid food entirely.
In a healthy dog, the lactation stage extends from birth to the second or third week , which is when she prepares the puppies for later weaning. To guarantee the quantity and quality of the milk produced, it is essential to provide adequate nutrition for the mother.
The goal is to supply his nutritional and energy needs and thus maintain his good state of health. To this end it is recommended to offer her a balanced diet with adequate proteins. The female can begin to follow this feeding days before giving birth and must continue until the end of breastfeeding.
The importance of respecting the weaning age
Unfortunately, many breeders do not respect weaning for purely economic reasons and force puppies to separate from their mother before 30 days. In this way they do not naturally experience the transformation of their organism, but a radical change of environment and habits.
All these bad habits usually have serious consequences for the physical and emotional balance of puppies, which must be taken into consideration by the new owners.
On a physical level, puppies no longer receive the essential nutrients and antibodies present in their mother’s milk, which weakens the development of their immune system and makes them vulnerable to countless diseases.
It should also be emphasized that, emotionally, abrupt separation from the mother usually causes feelings of fear and insecurity when arriving in a new home.
Prepare a weaning meal for puppies
It is important to ensure a gradual change in puppies, as this avoids disturbances in their digestive and immunological systems. It is also essential to include high quality balanced foods in the meal.
You can use the same food that the mother consumes during breastfeeding , but the ideal would be to get them used to the solid food for puppies that will be given to them in their first 12 or 18 months of life. As a general rule, weaning food should contain 70% breast milk and 30% solid food.
The lactation period
The puppy can begin to try this puree from the third or fourth week of life, when the first milk teeth have appeared. The baby food will have to replace only one of the meals consisting of breast milk. In no case can it completely replace breastfeeding, as this would not guarantee a balanced diet.
Once reached the seventh of life, the puree can be made up of 100% solid food . To prepare it, just add hot water to the food and let it rest for about 30 minutes. When the baby food is at room temperature, it will need to be homogenized and offered to the puppies.
By the ninth week, puppies will be ready to fully consume and digest solid foods.
In case of adoption, the baby food for weaning must be prepared with special milk powder for puppies. We can find this product in pet stores and veterinary clinics.