Puppies bring so much joy into our lives, but when is the correct time to wean a puppy off of their litter?
So, when should you wean a puppy? Weaning a puppy off of their litter is a process that begins when they are between three and four weeks old, and ends when they are eight weeks old. They shouldn’t be separated from their litter before they turn eight weeks old.
But what does the weaning process look like, and is it possible for you to entirely wean your puppy when they are younger than eight weeks old? Make sure that you continue reading this post if you want to know the answers to those questions.
When should you wean a puppy?
Just like how human babies get weaned off their mother’s breast milk over a duration of time, puppies need a period of time to get weaned as well. Human babies might get weaned within a couple of days, a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months.
However, dogs shouldn’t get weaned off too quickly or too slowly. It usually takes them a few weeks to be complexity weaned of their mother’s milk, mother, and litter box.
The weaning process of a puppy begins when they are around four weeks old and ends when they are about eight weeks old. It is always preferable to allow the puppy to have a gradual weaning process whenever it is possible.
The term, whenever here doesn’t imply that the duration of the weaning process is negotiable or that it could be reduced. It just acknowledges the situation of orphaned puppies who can never get gradually weaned of their mother and their mother’s milk.
The reason the weaning should be gradual that take place over several weeks is because the puppies need enough time to begin learning crucial behavior lessons from their mommy and their other mates living with them in the same litter box.
These behaviors that a puppy is supposed to learn while they are still in the litter box includes things like:
- How to inhibit their bad biting habits?
- How to see and understand the signs of dominance
How to wean a puppy off of their litter?
When a puppy is three or four weeks old, you can begin their weaning process. First, you will take the mother out of the litter box, separating her from her nursing puppies who are between three and four weeks old. You should keep her away from the litter box a couple of hours at a time.
While their mommy is away, it is time to introduce the puppies to the new method of eating. Place a flat plate or a pan inside the litter box with their food. The time the puppies spend away from their mother reduces their dependence on her milk and her twenty-four presence in general.
The duration in which the mother is separated from her litter box and the amount of food that should be given to the young puppies should be increased gradually as time passes by over a duration of four to five weeks.
With time, the puppies will become less dependent on their mother’s presence and her milk, and become more confident in themselves and independent. They will be able to spend more time away from their mommy.
By the end of the five weeks, they should be weaned entirely or almost wholly weaned off their mother.
What should you feed your puppy during their weaning process?
We have talked about the weaning process, but we have not discussed one very important detail. That detail is what kind of food you are going to feed your puppy while their mother is away from the litter box.
Generally speaking, it is always a great idea to use the same high in quality, nutritious puppy food that you plan on feeding it to them when they are weaned. Giving them the same food during their weaning phase, and their growth phase is going to make your life so much easier.
However, make sure that the food they receive during their weaning phase is moistened with warm water.
This is going to make the food have gruel like texture that is soup, which is going to encourage them to eat the food. It is also going to appeal to their taste sense, which helps in encouraging them to eat more.
The first couple of times the mother is removed from the litter box, the young puppies may need some encouragement to find the plate and start eating from it.
One way you can do that is by allowing the puppy to taste the gruel from your finger. Just dip your finger in the gruel, and place it close to the dog’s mouth so they can lick it. Don’t forget to leave the puppies a bowl of fresh
Why are all training processes recommended to start when a puppy is eight weeks old or older?
Any form of puppy training should begin after your puppy turns eight weeks old. Eight weeks is the recommended age to start any sort of puppy training your puppy, but what if your puppy turns out to be younger than that?
Why does training a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old dangerous, and how is it going to hurt them physically?
I see why this might seem confusing to some people, especially since the training techniques currently used are all based on implementing positive reinforcement methods. This means that there are not any forms of violence involved in a puppy’s training sessions.
First things first, it is never okay to use violence while training your dog no matter how old they’re. Now, let us talk about the reasons why you should not train your dog if they’re younger than eight weeks old.
Reason number one: The Law
Did you know that you can not adopt a puppy unless they’re at least eight weeks old in most states? It is literally illegal to adopt a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old.
However, it is important to note that the main reason why you should not train a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old isn’t because of the law.
Reason number two: The puppy’s health
If a puppy gets separated from their litterbox and their mother at an age that is younger than the recommended eight weeks old, they become more prone to developing behavioral and mental issues throughout their life.
See how detrimental the effects of separating a young puppy from their litter box and mother is? Well, imagine training those poor little things as well. The negatives effects from getting separated from litter box before when it was meant to be are going to increase and worsen significantly.
It doesn’t matter that the training techniques you are using are not violent- once again, training your dog should never be violent no matter how old they are.
It is still unsafe for a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old because they are still in a supercritical stage of developing both physically and mentally.
However, if you are in a situation where you have just rescued a stray puppy, then head to the vet as soon as possible to get them checked up. The veterinarian should be able to approximate your rescue pup’s age.
If the puppy turns out to be younger than eight weeks, then don’t undergo any forms of training. Don’t forget to ask the veterinarian for advice on how you should handle this difficult situation. Any tip is going to be very helpful.
Other questions related to when you should wean a puppy?
Is weaning puppies when their only six weeks old possible?
No. Like we have discussed earlier, puppies who are separated from their litter before they turn eight weeks old are prone to developing mental and behavioral issues.
Can I adopt a puppy who is four weeks old?
You should not adopt a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old. First of all, separating a puppy from their litter before they turn eight weeks old leaves them prone to developing behavioral and mental issues.
Secondly, it is illegal in many states to adopt a puppy who is younger than eight weeks old.
What are the dangers of separating a puppy from their litter before they turn eight weeks old?
A puppy who is separated from their litter box and mother before they are eight weeks old are prone to developing mental and behavioral issues in their life.
That’s it for today’s post. You should now know when a puppy could safely get weaned and how to do it. If you have any question related to weaning puppies, then feel free to leave a reply in the comments section down below.
If you have weaned a puppy before and you feel comfortable enough with sharing your experience with us, then we would love to read about your experience. Feel free to share that with us in the comments section down below.