The timeline for feeding your new puppy changes rapidly over the first six months. Learn what and how you should feed your puppy based on the key development milestones she will experience.
Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for a puppy’s growth and development milestones. However, by using the following milestones as a guide for healthy growth, developmental problems can be spotted — and possibly prevented — early on. By knowing these milestones, you’ll also know when your puppy is ready to begin weaning.
|7-10 days old||Puppies double their birth weight.
Puppies begin to urinate and defecate on their own.
|10-18 days old||Puppies attempt to stand.
Puppies’ eyes begin to open.
Puppies’ ears begin to open.
|18-21 days old||Puppies hear and respond to noises.
Puppies begin to walk.
|3 weeks old||Begin weaning process for orphaned puppies.
Puppies begin responsive vocalization.
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
|4 weeks old||Begin weaning process for mother-fed puppies.|
|3–6 months old||Puppies’ adult teeth erupt.|
When your puppy is ready to begin weaning (at around 4 weeks for mother-fed puppies and 3 weeks for orphaned puppies), use this step-by-step process:
The entire process should take approximately three weeks.
Does your mature dog sniff at his bowl and walk away instead of digging in? You may think he’s just being picky, but it’s important to keep an eye on how much he’s eating — especially if he’s a senior. While age-related diminishment of the senses of smell and taste may account for some of his disinterest in food, appetite loss can also indicate a serious medical problem.
“It’s important to give your dog enough calories because weight loss can be debilitating to senior pets,” says Wendy Brooks, D.V.M., who warns that a loss in appetite should be mentioned to your vet. A good rule of thumb: If your pet hasn’t eaten in a day, make a visit to the vet. Here are six ways to entice your canine friend with a nourishing meal.
Many animals find canned food more palatable because they like the taste and texture, Brooks says. You can top their favorite dry food with room-temperature wet food.
Dogs like a warm or room-temperature (not hot or cold) meal. Avoid serving him day-old wet food from the refrigerator, and keep his food away from heat. Another reason he might not be eating: It's too hot outside.
Dogs prefer consistency when it comes to their food. Don't change every day, but try a new flavor, such as lamb or chicken, and see if he responds (it may trigger his sense of smell). To avoid an upset stomach, introduce a new food by mixing it with his old food in equal increments each day.
Common mature-dog health issues, such as arthritis or joint pain, can make it difficult for him to access his bowls. Keep food and water where he spends most of his time. Put a water bowl on all floors of the house, too.
Older pets are at a higher risk of dehydration. Provide a clean bowl with fresh water at all times. It will help prevent disease, such as a kidney condition, and aid in digestion.
Dogs are people pleasers. If you see him eating, give him a little verbal reward. He'll know it makes you happy and will repeat the behavior.