As superb and wonderful as puppies may be, they aren't born doing all of the things that they do routinely as adult dogs. Just like human babies, newborn puppies don't really do much of anything on their own, and that includes fulfilling their sustenance needs. Canine independence comes slightly later.
Tiny puppies fresh out of the womb usually don't begin drinking water for several weeks. In fact, for the first few weeks of dog's life, all he needs in terms of nourishment is delivered directly from mommy's nursing. Not all puppies have mom nearby, however, in which case puppy formula and a milk replacer work just fine. Until weaning starts a few weeks after a puppy is born, he generally won't drink or eat anything other than mom's milk, and that's perfectly normal and wonderful. Weaning typically ends when a puppy is about two months old.
The ASPCA states that mother dogs often initiate weaning when their pups are approximately three to four weeks old. Around this time, you can begin to work solid foods slowly and gradually into a puppy's daily diet, although it may help to make dry kibble into a mushy gruel by mixing in formula or warm water. Encourage water drinking at this point, and make sure that fresh water is a constant fixture in your puppy's immediate vicinity. Hopefully, the little one mimics the mother dog in her water drinking habits.
Whether a puppy will drink water at four weeks all depends on his individual behavioral patterns. Remember, not all puppies are the same. Some may take to drinking H20 very quickly, and others may be a bit more resistant, although usually not for long. Also, if the mother dog is slightly late in starting up the weaning process, a puppy at this age may not have had any exposure to the ubiquitous liquid yet. He still may be in full "nursing" mode, although most mother canines do indeed begin weaning around the one-month marker.
Water is a crucial nutrient in any canine diet, puppies included. Once a puppy is old enough to start weaning, make sure that you always set out a bowl of clean and cool water for him, whether he drinks it immediately or not. Make sure the bowl is shallow, as you don't want to risk the frightening possibility of drowning. Also, make sure the bowl is sturdy on the floor. The last thing you want is your clumsy little pup knocking it over and spilling it on himself.
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images