When puppies stop suckling, you have to ease them into dog food by soaking it so that they can eat comfortably.
However, after some time, you will have to transition your pup from soaked dog food to dry food.
It is common for several dog owners to wonder when is the right time for this.
This article will help answer all your questions regarding wet and dry foods, and puppies.
When your puppy gets to around 4 to 5 weeks, they have to start eating dog food.
They can no longer rely on their mother’s milk for the nutrients that their bodies need.
Also, the longer a puppy depends on milk, the harder the transition will be.
As for mothers, they also need to rest and take a break from breastfeeding the kids.
At four weeks, puppies can not start eating dog food immediately as their baby teeth are barely out.
Therefore, adding water gives the food a mushy texture which is easy to eat.
Remember that up to this point, the pup’s instinct has been to suckle food instead of chewing.
Wet food makes this easier.
Also, the mushy food produces a naturally appealing smell that attracts the puppies.
You need to be patient because this process may take a few tries before the pup can eat properly and stop relying on its mum for food.
Also, ensure you do not soak the dry food for too long, as this can make the food inedible.
Finally, ensure you soak the food in warm water as that will warm up the food.
Cold food is not appetizing, and there is a high chance of your puppy living there.
There is no problem if you keep adding water to your puppy’s food.
However, you risk the chance of your dog becoming a picky eater.
It is better to do it for only a short period of time.
Why Adding Water to Their Food Should be Temporary
As mentioned, this only needs to be a temporary solution to prevent the dog from becoming a picky eater.
Some dogs may never outgrow wanting mushy food.
This can be challenging if it gets to a point where the dog refuses anything else apart from mushy food.
Furthermore, the food needs to be soaked for about 30 minutes.
Longer than this can lead to fermentation.
Soaked food can also attract flies.
Above all, this process is time-consuming, and if you are leaving to go to work, then you might not have 30 minutes to spare waiting for the dog’s food to properly soak.
When to Stop Soaking Puppy Food
It is safe to move your puppies from wet to dry dog food at around eight weeks.
At this age, they have a full set of baby teeth and should be able to eat dry food.
It might take about a month for the transition from wet food to dry food to be completed.
However, in the process, every two to three days, you can reduce the water content little by little. This gives the pup time to adjust to the texture.
If you notice that your pup is avoiding the food, consider adding water.
You can do this as many times as your pup needs.
However, transitioning a puppy to dry food is often not that difficult.
It only requires a bit of effort and some monitoring, and you are good to go.
How You Can Help Your Puppy with The Transition
Soaking the puppy’s food is one step to ensuring your pup has a smooth transition.
Ensure that the wet food has an oatmeal-like texture, making it easy for the puppy to eat.
Another way of helping the puppy is through the food you select.
Get food specifically for puppies as they contain the calories they need for growth.
Also, puppy food comes in smaller kibble sizes, making it easier for them to eat.
When checking the ingredients, go for grain-free foods that also have limited ingredients to prevent food allergens.
Also, check that the first item in the ingredient list is not corn or grain.
Such foods have little nutrients as they are mostly filler types of food.
But when a type of meat is the first ingredient, you know you are giving your puppy the required nutrients for growth.
Here is a guide to what your puppy will need for growth.
- Extra protein: The additional proteins are to help in the development of muscles and other body organs.
- High Calories: Since they are growing, puppies need a lot of energy. That is why you will find that puppy food has a lot of calories compared to adult dog food.
- Glucosamine: This is an ingredient that helps with the development of bones and teeth.
- Lots of nutrients: Your puppy needs nutrients like magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and Vitamin D.
- Digestible ingredients: Ensure that you feed your dog foods that can easily be absorbed into the body so that the pup gets all the nutrients it requires.
How Much Food Should You Feed a Puppy and How Often
Puppies have small bellies, meaning they only hold little food.
During the weaning process, you will have to feed them small amounts but frequently.
Ideally, it should be about four times in a day.
When it comes to the amount, it depends on the size of the puppy.
The food package also comes with feeding recommendations, including the amount of food to serve your dog.
From 8 to 10 weeks, your puppies should have fully transitioned to dry food as this is when their baby teeth are fully out.
However, note that the transition can be easier for other people, and for some, it can be hard.
Either way, introduce dry foods to your puppy as early as four weeks and be patient.
Even if your puppies are fussy, do not get discouraged, as they will eventually get there.
The most important thing is that you ensure your puppy is getting high-quality food with enough nutrients for proper growth.
If, at one point during the weaning process, you need help, consult with a vet on what you can do.