This post was most recently updated on May 5th, 2021
After a few weeks upon birth, your adorable puppy would have to transition to solid food. This is important to keep up with the nutritional requirements of their growing bodies. It’s important that pups are weaned at the right time; otherwise, it will affect their growth. Aside from the timing, it’s also important to feed your little pooch the most nutritious puppy weaning food.
|WEANING FOOD||PRODUCT NAME||EXPERT|
|Pet Ag Esbilac 2nd |
Step Puppy Weaning
|Blue Buffalo |
Weaning is when a puppy is pulled out from nursing on its mother and introduced to solid food. This has to be done properly to prevent premature weaning that can result in a host of behavioral problems. So as a guide, here’s a brief weaning class for you, pup owner:
The nursing phase
Puppies will be sucking milk from their mothers on the first 6-8 weeks of their life.
They should be milk-fed ad-lib to acquire the best nutrition, just like human babies do. Their mother’s milk will provide the puppy the much-needed antibodies to help them dodge diseases as they grow up. Weaning them too early will result in a poor immune system, thus making them sickly.
Also, nursing is an important phase in a puppy’s life. It’s the time when the pup bonds with the other litters on its dam. In case the mother can’t nurse due to some health conditions, assisted rearing through the use of baby bottles filled with canine formula milk will be done.
Aside from the health aspect, nursing prevents the development of potential behavioral issues among puppies. Some dogs that are weaned too early tend to have attention-seeking behavior or aggression. They may also become too shy and jumpy in the presence of other people or in the event of a sudden noise.
When to start feeding puppies solid food? According to the American Kennel Club, the best time to wean a puppy from its mother is at least 8 weeks upon birth. At this point, the regular weaning cycle should have ended and the pooch is ready to take solid food. Some say that pups can be weaned at 6 weeks, but it can be too close to the end of the weaning process.
Weaning isn’t just about taking the pup and serving canned food. This should be a slow process of introducing the new puppy food.
Later on, I’ll discuss in length how you should introduce the new diet.
Never feed a newly weaned puppy with dry food. This is a harmless act. You pup had just quitted milk and the next thing they should eat is something closed to the fluid substance they’re ingesting for weeks. If you’re feeding canned meal, make a gruel by adding water to it. As for kibble, add water too and make a pate out of it. It’s always best to get a puppy weaning food.
Introducing puppy weaning food
Introducing the pup to its new meal, again, should be a process. Don’t expect the little pooch to gnaw dry kibble right away. Prepare a soupy meal three to four times a day to mimic the frequency of nursing. This way, you will prevent any digestive problems related to the gastric juices of your pup’s tummy.
At the 11th or 12th week, your pup should have fully adjusted to the meal. That gives you 4 weeks of leeway to transition your pooch.
If the pup seems reluctant to eat his new food, you have to be more hands-on. Let the food sitting next to him and let him lick and sniff. Soon enough, his taste buds will be lured to eating.
But if you seem to have a very finicky eater, I have one last tip. Dip your finger on the gruel and bring it close to your pup’s mouth. Once he bites the bait (not your finger), push the bowl of food closer. This should go well.
It’s okay to leave some little chunks of food on the pup’s new meal. Teething has been ongoing at this point of weaning and the pup is more than ready to experience solid food. Also, it’s a good way to appease their gums that would get inflamed in the succeeding weeks.
The diet change
When transitioning your pup to solid food, it’s important that you’re serving the right nutritional profile. Puppies need high-caloric food to keep up with their growing bodies. It should also be nutritionally balanced to prevent overgrowth and excessive supply of nutrients.
Most of all, the puppy weaning food should be easy to chew and digest. Puppies have very sensitive stomachs which are why they will keep vomiting and having diarrhea multiple times during their puppyhood. Also, the added moisture is necessary to hydrate the body of your little buddy. Puppies don’t drink as much water as they need so their food is a good way to give that added moisture.
You can choose either a weaning formula or a complete puppy food to transition your pup to a new diet.
Remember that each breed will have a unique nutrient requirement. If you have a large breed, make sure that you feed it with puppy food formulated for large dogs.
The sure thing is that puppies have a different diet than adult dogs. Pups’ bodies are growing fast, thus the need for a higher mineral and vitamin concentration as recommended by pet nutritionists.
Food to avoid
Based on my personal experiences, puppyhood is the most sensitive stage when it comes to feeding. You have to be extra careful with the ingredients of the food you’re serving. First, say no to non-whole grains and meat by-products. Non-whole grains are good sources of extra calories but it’s bonkers to digest. It’s either your pup vomits or it gets a very early case of gastric torsion. It’s not just about when to start feeding puppies solid food, it’s more of how and what to feed.
As for the meat by-products, these cuts are stripped off of quality protein. Meat should be the primary ingredient of the food but it should be of premium quality.
By-products may have decent protein, but it also comes with an unnecessary dose of unhealthy fats. Not the best bargain if you’re going to ask me.
Lastly, avoid any human food. Macadamia nuts, chocolates, formula milk, candies, and the likes are not supposed to be eaten by dogs regardless of age. Some of these can be poisonous to puppies.
Frequency of feeding
You should feed a puppy three to four times a day. But hey, this doesn’t mean you’re going to let the little pooch splurge on the puppy weaning food. If you’re currently feeding a ¾ cup of puppy food twice, spread it to three times a day with a ½ cup per serving. This way, your doggo will get a continuous supply of calories to prevent pangs of hunger and lethargy.
A one-time-big-time feeding scheme isn’t a bright idea.
Opting for smaller portions will actually help your puppy digest food easier. Just imagine yourself eating two large burritos in one go. You’ll fill stuffed to the brim. But if you cut it in parts and eat it all over the day, it will feel better on the tummy. Even if your pup turns an adult, it would be wise to stick to a three-day feeding method to prevent the risk of gastric torsion, especially if you have a deep-chested one.
One problem associated with weaning and feeding is the risk of obesity. Some pet owners adore chubby pets. Although it seems cute, excess weight isn’t a good thing for young pups. Don’t let your dog become chubby. This is the reason why you have to follow a food portion per day. If you observe that your doggo is gaining too much weight, it’s time cut on food intake. Knowing when to start feeding puppies solid food also includes knowing when to cut some scoops.
Also, it’s important that you take your pup to short walks so he can burn the excess calories. At 8 weeks, puppies can be leashed for walking.
However, don’t do walks right after they eat. Let an hour or two pass before you go for a stroll.
Your veterinarian’s opinion is very much valuable at this point. The dog doctor can tailor the advice based on your pet’s breed and current physical health.
Getting past the puppy food
Puppies shouldn’t stay forever on their puppy weaning food. Since puppy food is high on calories, it’s not very healthy to continue the feeding until they are adults. In general, I can’t advise of a specific age when puppies should be switched to an adult diet. It all depends on the breed of your pooch.
The rule of thumb here is that the smaller the breed, the faster it is to mature. That means transitioning from puppy food to adult food happens faster to these canines than with bigger dogs.
Again, the second transition should be slow and careful just like weaning a new pup. Various digestive issues may arise if you feed haphazardly.
For those who have multiple puppies, it’s important to watch over who the bully is and who is not. Those pups that are constantly pushed aside should be fed separately from the pack. That way, it gets proper nutrition from the puppy weaning food without the need to fight for it.
Also, you have to keep them hydrated. Pups are like adult humans, they won’t drink water unless they’re pushed to do so.
Sadly, you can’t influence puppies with fitness trends or online health advice. You have to assist them by using a small water cup.
Place the cup close to the pup’s mouth to encourage him to drink. Aside from hydration, enough water intake will wash the pooch’s mouth to prevent premature tooth decay.
Best food for weaning
If you’re looking for the best food to feed your pup after weaning, here are two of the guaranteed options I recommend:
Pet Ag Esbilac 2nd Step Puppy Weaning Formula
If there’s one puppy weaning food that you should get, it would be Pet Ag Esbilac’s 2nd Step Puppy Weaning Formula. This is a creamy cereal-like food that helps puppies transition to solid food easier. It contains dried meat solubles, rice flour, protein concentrates, and Vitamins A, B, C, and more. This is a powerhouse of nutrition that your puppy needs so much.
This Pet Ag weaning food meets the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). You have the option to serve it as is or blend it with a wet puppy food.
This puppy weaning foodwill provide the nutrients your puppy needs on the crucial point of their early life. It’s also delicious which makes it very attractive even for a picky eater. If it’s a little too creamy for your pup to handle, pouring water on the food will solve the issue.
Blue Buffalo Homestyle Puppy Canned Food
If you’re looking for a heavier kind of puppy food, the one from Blue Buffalo is an excellent puppy weaning food. First, its main ingredient is chicken and garden vegetables for an excellent dose of minerals and vitamins. This is rich in protein, whole grains, and moisture that help your pup acquire the necessary nutrition. Still, know when to start feeding puppies solid food before serving this.
This homestyle recipe is guaranteed to be yummy even for finicky pups. It doesn’t have soy, wheat, corn, and by-products that will piss the tummy of your pet. Although this is a bit expensive, the purchase is worth it considering the nutritional value. Make sure that you keep an eye on the serving to prevent overeating.
The Blue Buffalo Puppy food is a pate, but if you want to make it soupier, just add water and mix it well. This puppy weaning food should make it more appealing to the pup and hydrating as well.
Proper weaning and introduction of the puppy weaning food are crucial to raising a healthy pup. Like humans, transitioning to a new diet is a real business. You have to be patient and cautious to prevent pissing anyone’s stomach.