How Long Does It Take to Wean a Dog from Its Mother?

by Ledan Seja
Puppies will start all kinds of new behaviors around the time they begin weaning.

Puppies will start all kinds of new behaviors around the time they begin weaning.

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If you're taking part in the development of a litter of pups for the first time, you're smart to wonder when they'll move from mom's teats onto puppy food. You'll start offering moistened food when the pups are around 3 weeks old, but they'll be around 2 months before they completely wean off mother's milk.

Weaning Time

Between weeks 3 and 4 of development, your litter's sharp little puppy teeth begin erupting through the gums, which quickly start to irritate mom's teats. The mother dog will start letting her pups know it's time to stop suckling around this time with small growls and nips; don't be alarmed, this is a normal dog behavior. Begin offering shallow dishes of water for the puppies throughout the day as they'll begin to lap water on their own around this time. They'll also start to lap up softened food around 3 to 4 weeks old. Mix warm water with a puppy formula kibble and let it sit until it's moist. The puppies should start crawling over to the shallow dish of moistened food. Gradually reduce the water content in the mush over four to five weeks until the pups are eating dry puppy kibble. Don't force the puppies to stop suckling their mother; they'll continue this behavior sometimes past 8 weeks off and on.

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About the Author

Ledan Seja has been writing since 2009, specializing in natural ecosystems, gardening and landscape design, the environment, wildlife, insects, pet rescue and childcare. Her work has appeared in various online publications.

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