A guide for owners of a litter of puppies

by Vivien Richardson on October 18, 2009

A puppy’s mother knows best and for the first week or two a litter of puppies can enjoy their mother’s milk and you do not have to try feeding them anything else, just keep the bed clean and keep an eye on progress.

If at any time the mother dog is not able to feed her puppies contact your local vet immediately who will give you good advice.

At around three or four weeks of age your puppies will be ready to try a few mouthfuls of puppy food.  Choose a high quality dog food, specifically for puppies, which your puppies can stay on for a little while.  You may at first need to mix it with warm milk and make it quite mushy.  Gradually you can reduce it to dry food over a few weeks.

Do not be surprised if your puppies play a little with their first bits of food until they realise their brothers and sisters will eat it if they are not quick enough.  Mealtimes can be quite messy with a litter of puppies.

By the time the litter of puppies are seven weeks old they should be being weaned off their mother’s milk and able to eat dry food at each mealtime.

Portions of puppy food should be increased slowly but regularly due to a puppy’s high levels of energy. Puppies who are six or seven weeks old love to play and be cuddled. Cuddling your new litter of puppies will give their mother a rest as well as helping the puppies to socialise, but be sure you and your visitors wash your hands before handling the puppies.

Puppies should stay with their mothers until at least eight weeks of age, and many reputable dog breeders will not re-home a puppy until he or she is even ten to twelve weeks old.

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