When can puppies eat dry food?

In this brief guide we will answer the question, “When can puppies eat dry food?” We will discuss what weaning is in puppies and how long it lasts. We will also look at a 4 weeks weaning guide. We will discuss how you should feed your puppy in the first year and how much to feed it.

When can puppies eat dry food?

Puppies can start being fed solid and dry food when they get to 4 weeks because at this stage they are not able to get all their calorie requirements just from their mothers milk. 

At 6 weeks most puppies are usually weaned. Puppies that are 8 weeks and younger require that you moisten their dry food until it becomes moist and spongy.

What is weaning in puppies and how long does it last?

Weaning is the process whereby there is the gradual transition of the puppies from milk to now solid foods and it is a very important stage in their development. It usually occurs when the puppy gets to 4-5 weeks of age.

At birth, puppies exclusively rely on their mother’s breast milk. If they stay on the breast milk for too long, this makes the transition a tad difficult. It is also important for the mother to get some rest and breast from being suckled.

The weaning process for puppies takes about 4 weeks. Puppies require to have a mushy texture so be cautious on what they are eating. After the 4 weeks of weaning, most puppies usually would have developed a full set of teeth 

Let’s take a look at a 4 week weaning guide:

  • 1st week: 1 part of dry dog food and 3 parts of liquid
  • 2nd week: 2 parts of dry dog food and 2 parts of liquid
  • 3rd week: 3 parts of dry dog food and 1 part of liquid
  • 4th week: At this stage you can start feeding your puppy solid dry puppy food.

How should I feed my puppy in the first year?

Puppies that are 6 to12 weeks

Puppies in this age group are good with being fed puppy food.Puppy food is usually well formulated to be able to meet the dietary needs for the puppies normal development. If you feed them adult food they will be deprived of essential nutrients they require.

You can feed them 4 times in a day so as to meet their nutritional requirements. If you have large breeds you can feed them unmoistened dry foods when they are 9 or 10 weeks and for small breeds when they are 12 to 13 weeks.

Puppies that are 3 to 6 months

In this age group you can decrease the feeding for your puppies from 4 to 3 per day. At this age it is normal for a puppy to start losing its potbelly and pudginess by the 12th week. If your puppy is still round and plump at this age, continue to give it puppy-size portions until its body is all matured up. 

Puppies that are 6 to 12 months

At this age group, commence feeding your puppies just once in a day. You can spay or neuter your puppy so as to lower its energy requirement. After the procedure you can change their food from puppy food to now adult maintenance food.

For small breeds the switch can be made when they are 7 to 9 months of age and for bigger breeds this can be done anywhere between 12 to 14 months. 

Puppies that are 12 months and above

When the puppies are above 12 months, feed them just 2 half portions each day.

How much should I feed my puppy?

Puppies, when they are growing, require a lot of calories so as to rapidly grow. They require about twice as many calories per pound compared to an adult dog of a similar breed. Puppies usually rapidly grow in the first 5 months so make sure that you meet their nutritional requirements so as not to stunt their growth. 

As guidance you can scour around for feeding charts that are usually on labels of commercial puppy foods. They do a good job in providing estimates of amounts of foods based on a puppies age and weight. 

You can learn to create a puppy feeding schedule here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide we have answered the question, “When can puppies eat dry food?” We have discussed what is weaning in puppies and how long it lasts. We have also looked at a 4 weeks weaning guide. We have discussed how you should feed your puppy in the first year and how much to feed it.

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