How to wean a puppy?

Weaning Puppies:
The puppies will continue to suckle from the bitch until they are removed from the bitch at approximately 6 weeks of age. If the puppies are motherless or the bitch rejects the puppies, then it is your responsibility as the owner to raise the puppies. You will need to use a bitch milk substitute diet (available from your vet). Cows and goats milk are not suitable milk substitute, and a milk similar to that of the dogs must be used. Bottle feeding kits can be purchased from your vet or pet shop. It is important to use a teat size that is not too large or too small for the puppies, as this may cause problems during the feeding.
Puppies under 1 week of age need to be fed every 3 hours, and after this every 4-6 hours. By 3 weeks of age, the puppies can start to lap the milk substitute. The bitch would normally clean around the anus of the puppies to stimulate them to defecate and to keep the area clean. A similar effect can be achieved by stimulating the area with a moist tissue or cotton wool, which will need to be performed if the puppies are orphaned.
For the first 4 weeks of the puppy's life, the puppies cannot regulate their body temperature, and need to be kept in a temperature-controlled environment. They need to be kept warm but not too hot. Heat sources that you can use are heating lamps, or hot water bottles and heating pads, (the latter two both covered in blankets so that the heat source is not too hot). It is important to monitor the puppies so that they do not get too hot, and until they are 10 days old, they will have problems crawling away from the heat source if they do get too hot.
Weaning is the term used to describe the change over from one food to another, and for young puppies this is from the mother's milk to solid foods. For the first few weeks of the puppy's lives, they will feed just from the mother's milk (the bitch). At approximately 2-3 weeks of age, the puppies can start to eat a puppy food.
The puppy food that you use should be palatable and highly nutritious. For the initial part of weaning, warm water can be added to the Pedigree Puppy or weaning food to make it quite sloppy and possible for the puppies to lap. If there is a reluctant puppy, you may need to tempt the puppy by putting food on it's lips and on the end of it's nose. Warm (not boiling) milk or water can be added to the dry food to soften it for the puppy if necessary. Until the puppies are 8 weeks of age, they should be offered puppy food ad lib (as much as they can eat) then from 8 weeks the feeding guides can be followed on the Pedigree puppy labels. The puppies will need to continue on a growth food (either puppy small breed puppy or large breed puppy) until they reach adulthood. The point at which the puppy reaches adult weight will depend on the breed of the puppy.
If at any point you are concerned about the health of the puppies or the bitch contact your veterinary practice for advice.

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