At around 4 weeks old, puppies begin eating food other than their mother's milk and also searching for water. In the wild, momma dogs will bring back food and regurgitate it for them once their teeth start hurting her teats. Companion dogs may still do this to a point, but as a dog owner, you'll have to interject by offering the young pups some softened puppy food.
Mix dry, high-quality puppy food with warm water or canine milk replacement until it is a soft, gruel-like consistency when the puppies reach approximately 3 weeks old. Let the mixture sit for a while so the small, dry pieces of kibble can soak up the liquid. You can also put the mix in a blender to get a smoother consistency.
Lay down newspapers where you'll be feeding the puppies or secure an area with an easily cleanable floor surface, such as tile. Prepare yourself for a mess -- these pups will crawl into this mixture and get it all over them, your floor and even you! A bathtub or shower floor is another option.
Place the gruel on a flat, saucer-type dish on the ground. Young puppies may not be able to eat out of bowls yet.
Place a small amount of the gruel mixture on the tip of your finger and hold it up to the puppies' noses, leading them with your finger to the saucer.
Allow the pups a few tries to get used to the gruel then give them about 30 minutes with the gruel mixture.
Decrease the water and milk replacement formula in the kibble gradually over the next two weeks until your pups are eating dry puppy food.
Items You Will Need
- High-quality puppy food
- Canine milk replacement formula
- Flat saucer
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.