Weaning the dog puppy: six questions with answers


Whenever possible we should keep the puppies together with their mother until they have acquired the immunity and skills necessary to be healthy cats. Whenever possible we will keep the cats together with their mother until 12 weeks of age (3 months).

While it is true that it is commonly accepted that the kitten has to be at least two months with the mother, ideally at least until 3, whenever possible because it is the mother who will teach them many behaviors that, if they have not learned correctly, can be problematic in the future. In any case, a 3 month old kitten fed with breast milk, vaccinated and raised with his siblings is a better guarantee for his future as a healthy cat. It is also true that many people believe that since dogs tend to be weaned at 8 weeks that period of time is the same for cats, but remember that cats are not dogs, and they still have many things to learn.

Why is it necessary for the cat to grow up next to his mother?

There are two fundamental reasons that make this period of time so important: breastfeeding and learning behaviors.

Breastfeeding is very important for the puppy, whenever his mother is alive and possible the kitten should feed on breast milk since colostrum contains the necessary nutrients for the proper development of the defenses and immune system of the kitten.

Although there are commercial foods such as infant formula for cats, these are not perfect substitutes for breast milk. We should only feed a kitten with these milks when his mother is not with them for causes such as death, abandonment or illness.

As for weaning, it is the mother who will take care of it, at the right time she will begin to stop giving milk every time she demands it, forcing her to look for her food (after 3 weeks).

On the other hand, the vaccines of the puppy are normally applied up to 3 months, so it is recommended that you do not leave the house in a new environment and face new conditions without complete puppy vaccination.

Habits and behaviors that the puppy learns from the mother (they will begin to learn them starting from weeks 3 to 8):

The use of the sand tray that kittens will learn from the mother. Socialization, which you will learn together with the mother and her siblings. Also learning toilet and hygiene or controlling their strength are very important. The mother usually teaches her kittens to clean and she is the one who stops when the pups bite too hard or scratch without measuring their strength. They are absolutely natural behaviors for them and in case they have not been learned correctly it will cost us a little more to teach, trying to replace the important role of mother cat.

In real life it is quite likely that we will find cases in which the future adopter is in a hurry to take him away or the person who has the kitten has too much urgency to deliver them, not respecting these learning and feeding times.

What problems can cause us this?

In the case of cats that have not had the care and feeding of the mother (for whatever reason) we may encounter some of the following difficulties:

    Lower defenses, greater susceptibility>Conclusion: This does not mean that we should be afraid of the possibility of having a kitten without a mother or a kitten that has been weaned soon, but that we should keep the cats at 3 months with their mothers whenever possible. In cases where it is not possible because the mother is no longer there, we must replace all the necessary care, either we or with the help of other cats and take into account the list of difficulties to anticipate the problem and prevent it, so that the cat that his mother lacked is as healthy as possible.

1. What is weaning of dog puppies?

Weaning of the dog puppy is the gradual process during which lactating canine breeding begins the change in its diet: breast milk intake is reduced and special feeding for puppies begins to be introduced. "The weaning of the dog implies the gradual reduction of the child's dependence on milk and care of his mother," clarify the veterinarians of the Society Against Cruelty to Animals.

2. When does it start?

From three weeks of life, puppies experience some changes that lead them to a new stage in their development. The little ones they begin to imitate their mother's habits and they approach with curiosity to their feeder of which perhaps they peck some food. Since they are born, the external and internal changes that their small bodies undergo prepare puppies for the progressive abandonment of milk. Your stomach, for example, enlarges and thus increases your ability to ingest.

"Weaning of the dogs begins around three or four weeks of life and is completed around seven or eight weeks of age," these experts add. This phase is, consequently, gradual, as it lasts for weeks.

In that period a wolf or wild dog that lived in freedom would go out to collect food, hunt or find carrion. The wolf he would chew food and regurgitate it again to feed his litter. In all likelihood, a dog will do the same with her food. It is a new stimulus for puppies, which will cause the sucking instinct that characterizes breastfeeding to disappear progressively and appear, instead, tiny teeth of milk.

3. When does it end?

The ideal thing is for weaning to last until seven or eight weeks of life of the little dogs. By then, its budding baby teeth they already hurt the mother when they suck her nipple, so the dog will soon promote the entry of her children during the weaning period.

But nevertheless, it is important that it be done in a progressive way. It is essential, therefore, to respect the natural process of weaning and not to cut canine lactation radically, since it is one of the most important moments in the life of puppies. The little ones learn important lessons from their mother and siblings that will allow them to become healthy and balanced dogs.

Also the mother suffers with a non-gradual end of the lactation of her puppies. The mastitis, or inflammation of the breast, is not uncommon in the females that wean their puppies. Swelling is caused by a stagnation of milk, due to the sudden lack of suction. Before this or any other abnormality in the breasts of the dog, it is necessary to go without delay to the veterinarian.

In addition, this end of breastfeeding usually coincides with the separation of the puppies from the mother, since it is not often that a single owner raises the whole family.

4. What are the first foods?

The female will naturally guide her children towards the definitive end of their lactation phase. Puppies develop the ability to lick the food they get chewed from their mother. It is time to introduce, between take and take of milk, a transitional food.

At the beginning, the change may consist of a porridge prepared with high quality puppy feed. The preparation is simple. It has to moisten the croquette until imitating the texture of the bolus of porridge that the mother chews and regurgitates for her children. The hydrating of the croquette, however, must be carried out with contributions of water and never with milk, since the high lactose content of commercial milk will cause digestive problems in the puppy, such as diarrhea.

After this first phase of feeding with porridge, the dilution of the croquette should be reduced gradually, making the food increasingly solid. This operation allows children to start biting food, while providing them with a good supply of water. This is something that, on the other hand, should never be lacking either the puppies or the mother: fresh and clean water.

5. How to watch the puppies?

Dogs are social animals, pack. Also the puppies. This social behavior explains that, to encourage children to eat their new solid food, it usually works feed all the puppies in the same dish. Puppies, by instinct, compete for food and stimulate each other in the face of the new challenge of solid food.

Monitoring access of all of them to a sufficient amount of food is important. Many diseases of small dogs in this phase are associated with insufficient feeding.

6. How to prepare the transition porridge?

Puppy feeding is specific and is labeled as such.. In addition, it is very important that it is of good quality so that they grow healthy and strong. "Puppies have very large nutritional requirements, but their stomachs are still small, so they have to eat about six times a day to eat all the food they need, "concludes a study from the University of Missouri (Columbia, USA).

Make sure that they are offered an attractive food typical of the stage of growth they are going through and that it facilitates the transition of weaning. They will also be assured of something very important in this period: good digestion. The digestive capacity of the small dog is still far from those of an adult dog. And a complete diet prevents the appearance of any type of anorexia, very harmful in this stage of development.

The veterinarian will advise both in the final phase of weaning, and in the beginning of the dry diet of the dog, in addition to indicating what, after the definitive weaning, is the deworming and vaccination schedule of the little furry friend.

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Weaning of kittens should be done at the right age to avoid future problems during growth. Normally, it is the mother in charge of weaning. After 4 weeks of life of the kitten, he will stop giving milk and force him to look for food.

Now, if for some reason, the mother has not been able to be with the kitten until that moment, and you must take care of her feeding, you will have to resort to the infant formula, administered via a bottle or syringe. You will find this type of milk in veterinary centers and specialized stores. The form of preparation, quantity and number of shots is indicated on the package.

By the 4th week, your kitten will be ready to eat specific dry food for puppies. In the market there are a wide variety of options, such as Purina ONE Junior, a product rich in chicken and with whole grains, which guarantees its healthy development of muscle mass and skeleton, as well as its vital functions.

Wet food, which will also be necessary for your kitty's organism as it grows, you can start giving it a little later, when it is approaching adulthood. The same we recommend regarding snacks. It is preferable that you use them as a reward when you want to teach some behavior patterns.

Weaning of kittens should be done at the right age to avoid future problems during growth.

The kittens feeding

Before explaining when and how weaning takes place, it is important that we know some basic aspects of their feeding in those first weeks of life. If we want to know when the kittens start eating we have to go to the beginning, to colostrum. This liquid is the one produced by cats as soon as they give birth and is characterized by its immunological properties. Therefore, as soon as the kittens are born, once their mother releases them from the bag of amniotic fluid, she cuts the umbilical cord and cleanses them of secretions in the nose and mouth, we can observe how they go to a nipple to start breastfeeding by ingesting the precious colostrum that, later, will be replaced by mature milk.

The breast milk will be the exclusive food during the first weeks of life. The milk completely covers all the kitten's needs in terms of both physical and psychological development. In addition, mother and young communicate during breastfeeding. Everyone will purr in a sign of well-being. So the cat knows that her little ones are well and feeding satisfactorily. For their part, they massage their breasts with their front legs, which is a stimulus for the milk to flow out.

Kittens are born with their eyes closed and will spend almost all day sleeping. By eight days of life his eyes will begin to open. Approximately one week later, with about 15 days, they will take their first steps and, around three weeks, they will be able to start eating solid foods, beginning a transitional stage until they completely replace the milk. We will explain the process of weaning of cats in more detail in the following sections.

When to wean cats?

The ideal age for start weaning kittens it's around three weeks of life. Before, as we have seen, they need nothing more than milk and, therefore, we should not try to eat anything, we will not even offer them water.

With three weeks, the kittens already interact a lot with each other, they play, their mother leaves them time alone and their interest in the surrounding environment will be increasing, and this will include food. If we ask ourselves when and how weaning takes place, data like the ones we have mentioned indicate that they are ready to start the process.

However, we must know that weaning is not an exact science. There will be cats that show interest in food later, while others will be earlier. We must respect your times and, above all, bear in mind that we are facing a process that must always be done gradually and naturally. It should also be borne in mind that breast milk must be part of your diet, at least, until 6-8 weeks of age, so that nursing kittens will remain until about this age.

How to wean cats?

Once we know when to wean kittens, the time has come for us to know how to wean them. For it, we can choose different formulas. Thus, for sale we will find feed or wet food, always specially formulated for growing cats, or we can choose to prepare homemade food.

If we opt for the feed we will have to start soaking it with warm water to form a porridge, since, otherwise, the kittens will have difficulties to be able to eat the hard balls. On the other hand, if we want to offer homemade food, it is essential that we know that this is not synonymous with human leftovers. We would have to contact a veterinary specialist in nutrition and prepare a balanced menu, always taking into account that cats are carnivorous animals that require a diet based mainly on the intake of meat and fish.

With three weeks we can give the kittens a plate with the food we have chosen 2-3 times a day. A plate with low edges will facilitate access. Thus, they will continue sucking on demand and eat solid if they want. If the kittens do not have a mother and we are feeding them with a bottle, so we are interested to know what weaning of orphaned cats should be like, we should know that we can put the dish before giving it to them. Then, we will let them drink the milk they want.

Little by little we will notice that they will be eating more solid and less milk, so we will adapt the quantities, always gradually. If we give them porridge every time we must prepare them more solidly. It is very important that we accompany the increase of solids with the water offering, since it is essential that the kittens are always well hydrated. They must have clean and fresh water freely available. We insist that weaning of kittens should never be finished before 6-8 weeks. Early weaning and early separation from the family will have consequences on the future character of the cat. If the kittens are with their mother, she will decide when to end breastfeeding.

Any questions that may arise regarding how and when to wean cats may be resolved by our veterinarian.

When to remove cats from the mother?

As we have already noted, weaning of cats and separation from their mother should be something that marks the feline family itself. An early separation will cause problems of socialization and behavior in the kittens in the future. Therefore, it is not recommended to separate them before 6 weeks of life.

For more information, do not miss the following article: "When can kittens be separated from their mother?"

If you want to read more articles similar to Weaning of cats, when and how?, we recommend that you enter our Breastfeeding section.


With the term weaning Reference is made, if we are talking about men and if we are talking about animals, to the passage of liquid food to solid. In the cat this phase usually begins when completing four. week of life: in three months the my child You should not be more dependent, from a purely nutritional point of view, on your mother. Weaning should be gradual, so it forces the times dictated by Mother Nature would be a big mistake. Separating the puppy from the mother before she turns twelve would also inevitably mean going to various behavioral problems: Breastfeeding molds the cat from the characteristic point of view, determining its level of sociability and its inclinations. Here are some tips on how to wean a Kitty without being too affected by the changes you are about to find.

Wet or dry food in the first weaning phase.

The change to solid foods should begin around the third week of life. It should not be, as mentioned above, sudden, but gradual. Therefore, between one food and the other it could offer the cat something different from the milk to which it is accustomed: it could be a moist but also dry food, provided it is lengthened with a little milk to soften it. The cat, remember, in this phase it will not have teeth sufficiently developed to be able to cut over-elaborate foods.

How to behave if the cat ignores the food.

It is possible that the first attempts are unsuccessful: it is very likely that the cat puppy hesitantly observes the meat bites or croquettes that he has put with luck in the bowl. You could even think of it as a new game and then start pushing it with your leg to understand what it is. At this stage, we strongly recommend that you do not force him to eat: on the contrary, we suggest that you leave the food available for up to 30 minutes, at the end of which, if you have not shown the desired interest, we can take it turn to mother cat without making us too many. questions.

Errors not made during weaning.

Weaning a cat puppy is not an operation that is improvised overnight, relying on good luck. We must pay the most attention to each behavior of our little four-legged friend, if you want him to learn to be autonomous from an early age. If there is something that should be avoided during weaning, it is to force him to eat what obviously does not attract his attention yet: pushing his nose into the bowl is the most incorrect, because in doing so the cat will have a bad reaction. Traumatic memory of the first approach to food. Sometimes, the crashes are so intense that animals refuse to eat for a long time, which inevitably leads to serious health problems and even behavioral problems.

How to deal with the final phase of weaning.

At the age of six weeks, if everything is soft, the kitten should already be able to eat dry or moist foods softened with milk. At this point, therefore, we can modify their habits, reducing the amount of liquids and at the same time increasing that of solid foods. Finally, between eight and ten weeks, the time will be ripe to finally stop mixing the food with something liquid. The puppy will finally be weaned and ready to face his new life like an emancipated cat.

How to promote weaning of orphaned puppies.

A different argument must be presented in the case that we have to deal with orphaned puppies that, unfortunately, cannot be fed with the mother cat's milk. Weaning, where appropriate, will be even more difficult: in this case, the transition will take place from a bottle to a solid food, so in the first phase it will be useful to prepare baby food based on milk and wet foods to get used to gradually to the new diet. It is not recommended to use cow's milk, which is particularly dangerous for cats because it could cause diarrhea and stomach problems.

When do cats wean?

We cannot take as valid the periods of weaning of the dogs, because in the case of cats the dates change. In cats the weaning process It starts at 3 weeks of life and ends when they are 3 months old.

It is common for the mother get tired of feeding them by the third week, at which time we can take the opportunity to put some food on a plate. Find food for baby kittens or place soft food. Note that the teeth will not have them completely until the second month.

The mother will not cut her diet completely, she will continue to offer breast milk only in smaller quantities. What he will do from that moment will start teaching them how to hunt. Will be on the seventh or eighth week when you stop giving them milk completely.

At this stage they will also learn to use the sandbox. It facilitates access to the litter box so that they can learn to use it by seeing their mother. They will also begin to learn to clean themselves.

Is it at this time when we can separate the kittens from their mother? Not yet. You have to wait until 12 or 14 weeks, which is when cats are completely weaned. In these last weeks they will learn to socialize and strengthen everything learned from the mother. In addition, kitten vaccines usually extend until the third month.

Take advantage of that stage to play with them and get them used to being caught and caressed. Use these first moments to prevent them from biting or scratching their hands when playing (if they bite your fingers, stop playing with them).

Now you can separate the cats from their mother. They will be ready to live with a new family and have a happy and company life.