Many breeders and veterinarians differ slightly on when to wean puppies. A general consensus is to begin weaning a puppy to solid food at 3 to 4 weeks of age. We personally begin weaning our golden retrievers after they are 3 weeks of age, and their first set of teeth have broken their gum line. By six weeks of age a puppy should be receiving 4 meals a day and for the most part no longer nursing.
When to Wean Puppies
Around day 22 I generally mix up a bowl of food for our pups. I take a couple scoops of dry kibble and add water to it. I cover the food, and let it sit for 20 or so minutes to soften the kibble. Then I take a can of wet food that is similar to the ingredients of the kibble I am using and add a scoop of it to the food. Additionally I add a couple scoops of puppy milk replacement to the mix. The amount depends on how many puppies I have. The specific one I use is in the link provided. Then I offer the food to the puppies. The first day I offer them two meals. By week 4 I have them at 3 meals a day. By week 6 I have them feeding four times a day.
The first couple feeding will be a mess. However, generally the puppies go insane over it. Over a weeks time I take out the wet food from the mix. After four weeks of age I then take out the water and milk replacement. At that time they are eating dry kibble 3 times a day. As mentioned before I add another feeding by the time they are 6 weeks of age. By then the mother is for the most part done nursing. Now a puppy will try and sneak a feeding in there here and there. That’s nothing to be alarmed about. The mother will also begin pushing the puppies away as well and generally only allowing them to nurse to release milk buildup in their breasts.
Also after week 3 I place a bowl in the pen with water. I only put about a half inch of water at a time, that way the puppies can’t drown in the water. They begin to learn how to drink water that way. I progressively add more water in it as they grow. In regards to the food, many breeders don’t add wet food or milk replacement. I personally like using milk replacement because I feel the puppies need the calcium that they will be lacking via less feeding from their mother. The wet food I use just to attract the puppies sense of smell and interest more.
Puppy Feeding Bowls We Use
The first couple weeks I use a puppy feeding saucer for them to eat out of. For goldens I use a 15″ saucer as it’s large enough to feed 8 puppies for the first week. After a week I use two of them. Recently I had someone personally make me a puppy feeder online that I use around 5 weeks of age. Each puppy has their own food bowl. I portion the amount of food they need a day into 4 equal meals. Depending on the food you feed, it will be a different amount. This is the bowl we had made.