How Old Are Puppies When They Stop Drinking Milk From Their Mother?

by Naomi Millburn
    Puppies usually start weaning around the third week of their lives.

    Puppies usually start weaning around the third week of their lives.

    Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

    Overlooking a litter of young puppies can be overwhelming. This you've already discovered. As they mature, you want your litter to be appropriately socialized and growing properly. But if things go right, Mama dog will do most of the work for the first several weeks.

    Nursing

    During the initial month of your puppies' lives, there's no need to feed them anything other than the milk they get straight from Mama. In terms of fulfilling puppies' specific nutritional necessities, nothing beats Mama's milk. In reality, however, many puppies don't have access to their mother dog. In these cases, bottle-feed your puppies formula and a commercial milk replacer -- it's not too complicated at all.

    Weaning

    Once a mother doggie starts to wean her cuties away from exclusively nursing, the weaning process begins. According to the ASPCA, this usually occurs when a litter is around 3 to 4 weeks old, although it varies slightly. The process isn't an instantaneous one, however. Even after puppies have started eating some solid foods, the mother usually still occasionally nurses. The Humane Society of the United States says weaning is typically fully completed when a puppy is roughly between 6 and 7 weeks old. Once weaning is totally done, puppies finally cease drinking their mother's milk, full stop.

    Cow's Milk

    Never attempt to feed puppies milk that comes from a cow. Remember, puppies and adult dogs alike often have a tough time digesting milk and other dairy products. Drinking cow's milk can lead to a frustrating bout of stomach discomfort and diarrhea, so don't take the chance. Only mother's milk and puppy-specific formula are safe options.

    Water

    Once puppies stop drinking milk from their mother, the only beverage they need is water. The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine advises that H20 is an absolutely integral component of a balanced and healthy puppy diet that also encourages thriving growth and development. Regular and frequent clean water consumption is very important not only for puppies but also for adult canines.

    Photo Credits

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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