Diet for a Prematurely Weaned Puppy
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Breastfeeding is essential for puppies; the mother's milk is not only a source of food, but also a source of antibodies and bacteria that begins the colonization of their digestive system. In fact, just like humans, dogs are not born with defenses but rather get them from breast milk until their immune system begins to mature.
Breastfeeding in dogs must last 4 weeks, ideally 8. This is because this process allows the puppies to get fed but also to learn through the mother's methods of gentle biting, licking and growling.
Sometimes, however, breastfeeding for 4 to 8 weeks is not possible due to various problems that may affect the mother. In this AnimalWised article we will show you the ideal diet for a prematurely weaned puppy.
Don't get a puppy younger than 2 months
You must resort to a good nutrition plan for prematurely weaned puppies when breastfeeding has not been possible for medical reasons, such as mastitis in dogs.
This information should not be used to separate a puppy from its mother before the recommended time. This can result in very negative consequences for the dog, as being deprived of the sense of belonging to a group may cause the following problems during the first stage of growth:
- Separation anxiety
- Suckling other objects, such as cotton or fabrics
We know that bringing a puppy home is a very exciting experience, but if you want to be responsible owners you must ensure that this is also a positive experience for the puppy. It is always best to avoid getting a puppy younger than two months old, whenever possible.
What kind of food should you give a prematurely weaned puppy?
For a minimum of four weeks it is essential to feed the puppy with artificial milk, with a composition as similar as possible to that of its mother's milk. For this you will have to go to a special shop and ask for a formula for puppies.
Under no circumstances should you give it cow's milk, as it is very rich in lactose and a dog's stomach cannot digest it. If you cannot find a formula for prematurely weaned puppies, then choose pasteurized goat's milk as its lactose content is the most similar to the mother's milk.
The milk must be warm. You can buy a bottle for premature babies from a pharmacy, as the outflow of these bottles is best suited for a young puppy.
After the first 4 weeks, you can begin to introduce solid food specifically for puppies, such as pâté or grain feed. Initially, alternate it with milk until gradually after 8 weeks the puppy is only eating solid food.
How often does a prematurely weaned puppy need to be fed?
The first three days you should feed it continuously, that is, every 2 hours, both during the day and night. After the first three days, feed it every 3 hours.
This frequency in the weaned puppy's diet must be maintained during the first 4 weeks. Afterwards, you can begin to alternate bottle feeds with solid food.
Further care for a prematurely weaned puppy
In addition to giving the puppy a diet that is as similar as possible to what its mother would provide, you must provide specific care to keep it healthy:
- Stimulate the sphincters: During the first few days of a puppy's life it is unable to urinate or defecate by itself. Therefore, you must stimulate its sphincters by gently rubbing a cotton wool ball in its anus and genital area.
- Avoid hypothermia: A newborn puppy is prone to hypothermia. Make sure that the puppy has a heat source and that it stays at a temperature between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius (75.2 to 78.8º F).
- Ensure contact: All dogs need contact, but especially puppies. You must spend time with them and stimulate them, but never interrupt their sleep.
- Healthy environment: The immune system of a prematurely weaned puppy is too weak to prevent any infectious disease, so you should keep the puppy in a suitable and completely hygienic environment.
If you want to read similar articles to Diet for a Prematurely Weaned Puppy, we recommend you visit our Lactation category.