Weaning should begin when puppies are between three and four weeks old. The sooner the puppies are weaned, the lower the stress for the mother and the sooner she will return to her normal state. If puppies have been hand-raised for any reason, you can start the weaning process sooner. As they develop, they may begin to slowly wean and receive specific puppy foods around three to four weeks of age.
This process can take three to four weeks to complete, which means puppies should not be left with solid puppy food alone until they are more than seven to eight weeks of age. Puppy weaning is a gradual process that usually takes place between 4 and 8 weeks of age. Puppies will initially begin researching soft puppy food, in addition to their mother's breastfeeding. Because puppies are very attached to their mother, weaning should start small, and puppies should spend only a few hours away from them.
Before giving your weaned puppies any nutritional supplements or vitamins outside of their usual diet, you should consult your veterinarian, as consuming too much of a certain nutrient or vitamin can cause health complications. At the end of the weaning process, the puppy will no longer feed on its mother and will be able to go to the toilet independently. There are some aspects of weaning puppies that can make the process difficult, such as finding the right time and making sure they receive the right amount of food in the first few weeks. During the period from birth to the puppy's weaning, the mother's natural instincts often manifest themselves.
Different breeders may prefer a different schedule for the weaning process, depending on litter size. Weaning puppies involves the gradual change in a puppy's diet from milk to solid foods and decreases the mother's need for care. You can transition back to normal dog food around month 4, when puppies begin weaning their mother. The mother dog should start eating puppy food after a few weeks of pregnancy and while she begins to breastfeed and wean her puppies.
Most breeders and pet owners generally begin weaning their puppies around 3 to 4 weeks, but some puppies start a week later, depending on their environment and the timing of feeding as they transition. In a large litter, or one where there is a big difference in the size of the puppies, it's usually a good idea to provide more than one bowl of food, so that everyone eats enough. By week seven or eight, their milk production will cease without stimulation from nursing puppies once they are fully weaned. If there are puppies in the litter that don't do well away from their mother, you can allow them to stay with her for a week or so.