If you just adopted a new puppy, you surely have your hands full. Puppies should be fully weaned by 8 weeks of age, so there's usually no need to moisten his food or give him formula. In case he isn't completely weaned, you can use certain liquids to wet his dry food, but he should never have cow's milk. Feeding your 8-week-old pooch cow's milk aggravates his intestinal tract, leading to sudden onset bowel problems.
Weaning is the period of time when puppies go from nursing every few hours to eating solid food. You can start weaning puppies as early as 3 to 4 weeks old by offering them small amounts of moist food several times per day. The process takes several weeks, but usually puppies are weaned and eating on their own by about 7 to 8 weeks of age, according to the ASPCA.
Problems with Cow's Milk
Even though your puppy may seem fully independent and able to handle anything you feed him by 8 weeks, cow's milk can make him very ill. Canines don't have the enzyme in their intestinal tract that breaks down cow's milk. The milk passes through his fragile digestive tract, virtually untouched. He'll wind up having soft stools or may possibly suffer from uncontrollable diarrhea until the dairy fully exits his system.
If your pooch seems uninterested in food and needs a little moisture in his food to soften it up, use water instead of cow's milk. Pouring a small amount of water onto his food brings out the meaty smell, enticing him to eat. Another alternative is canine milk replacer. This type of milk -- available at any pet store -- mimics his mom's milk and is easy for his body to break down.
Your ferocious 8-week-old pooch really only needs a premium type of dry kibble to eat. Opting for premium brands, versus bargain varieties, ensures his growing body gets all of the nutrients he needs. Cheaper dog foods often use low-quality ingredients that pass right through his body, with little absorption. Dry kibble is important because it not only nourishes his body, the crunchy chunks help scrub his teeth clean. If you're unsure which brand is right for your furry pal, talk with your vet to get a recommendation.
Continuing to moisten his food long after he is weaned or feeding him canned foods, might cause problems. Wet food sticks to your barking buddy's teeth, possibly causing early plaque formation. Canned food tends to have way more salt than puppies actually need, reports PetPlace.com. The excessive sodium gives him an upset belly, leading to diarrhea.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.