Dogs have different nutritional needs that depends on their life stage. Puppy mush is the perfect first transition food for your puppy and it helps prepare for adulthood.
Weaning period: what is it and how long does it last?
The weaning period is the first food transition in a puppy’s life. The animal experiences bodily and behavioral changes, which gradually prepare them to stop drinking breast milk. However, weaning is more than just a new diet because during this period, the pups start to become independent from their parents.
Puppies must get to know the external world in order to develop their abilities and survival instincts. It’s important that they are confident and have a good self-esteem to grow healthily. Three weeks after their birth, puppies begin to live a new stage of physical and emotional growth.
All of this is a begging of the weaning period, which lasts until the eighth or ninth weeks old. Their stomach starts to get bigger and become more resistant; this allows them to swallow and digest better. At the same time, their first baby teeth start appearing. So, they might be hungrier or more restless.
Their developing curiosity makes them observe and imitate certain habits and behaviors from their mother. It’s common that they’re interested in smelling and trying the food in their mom’s dish. However, puppies still can’t chew or digest solid foods completely.
A healthy female dog starts nursing as soon as the puppies are born and continues nursing them until they’re six or seven weeks old. The most intense period takes place during the second and third week, when the puppies are ready to start weaning. To guarantee that the puppies get the proper amount and quality of the milk, it’s important that the mother eats well.
The goal is to satisfy her nutritional and physical needs in order to keep her healthy. For that reason, it’s recommended to give her a well-balanced diet with the right proteins. A female can start this diet days before she gives birth, and she must eat it until the end of the nursing period.
The importance of following through with the weaning age
Unfortunately, many breeders don’t respect the weaning period because they don’t consider it to be cost-effective, and puppies are forced to be separated from their mother before they’re 30 days old. In such cases, they don’t naturally experience their body’s changes, but rather a radical change in environment and habits.
All of these bad practices usually have serious consequences for the physical and emotional well-being of the puppies. For example, physically, the puppy stops getting the essential nutrients and antibodies from the breast milk, which weakens the development of their immune system and makes them more susceptible to countless diseases.
At the same time, they puppy can get emotionally affected by the abrupt separation from the mother, which often causes feelings of fear and insecurity when arriving at a new home. Keep this in mind before you buy or adopt your puppy.
Preparing the puppy mush
It is important to make gradual changes in feeding your puppies; you want to avoid any digestive and immune systems disorders. It is also important to use balanced high-quality foods in the mush.
You can use the same food that the mother ate during the nursing period. However, it’s best to get them used to solid puppy food until they’re 12 or 18 months old. At first, the puppy mush should have 70% breast milk and 30% solid food.
The nursing period
The puppy can start to try this purée when they are three or four weeks old, when their baby teeth have started to come in. The mush should replace only one of the daily doses of breast milk; it should never be all doses since they need to have a well-balanced diet.
When the puppy is seven weeks old, the puppy mush should be made up of 100% solid food. All you need to do is to pour hot water over the food and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once the mush is at room temperature, it should be homogenized and ready to give to the puppies.
Around the ninth week, the puppies will be prepared to eat and digest solid foods. Finally, in case of adoption, the puppy mush must be prepared with a special powder milk for puppies. You can find this formula in pet stores and veterinary clinics.