nutrition

Towards trouble-free weaning

Weaning is a dramatic period for puppies. It is probably the most demanding few days in the first six months of their rapid development. They need to go from a 100 percent liquid diet (mother’s milk at 77 percent moisture) onto a 100 percent solid diet (at 8 percent moisture). Eukanuba offers Puppy Small Breed, which makes weaning easier for the lil one.

 

Why do you need a weaning product?

The transition phase of weaning occurs while the puppies are undergoing tremendous growth as their organs nutritiondevelop. The weaning needs to be as smooth as possible, especially on the gastrointestinal system which is undergoing dramatic changes. If a puppy develops diarrhoea in the weaning period, the fluid loss in the stool is potentially very harmful, even life threatening, so weaning is a critical period.

What changes take place during the weaning period to puppies?
The exact age when puppies are weaned will be determined by the breeder. Internationally, breeders start at 6-7 weeks of age, with weaning being completed by 8-9 weeks.

If early weaning is chosen, then puppies can start to eat a soft gruel (porridge consistency) from 3-4 weeks and this coincides with the eruption of their deciduous teeth (+21 to 35d). By 5 weeks of age they can take semi-solid food and at 6 weeks of age they can take solid food with weaning being complete by 7 weeks. However, some breeders may want to extend the weaning period for longer.

At the time of weaning there are many changes happening. The composition of mother’s milk changes during the lactation period with protein levels staying fairly constant over seven weeks while fat levels will initially increase over the first two weeks and then drop off after six weeks. Other changes include:

  • The diet goes gradually from liquid to solid during weaning.
  • They will change their gut bacteria profile as they mature and develop the adult ‘ecosystem’.
  • Enzymes are developing to digest solid food.
  • Mothers’ milk is very digestible and so provides energy.
  • The protective immunity (called passive immunity) obtained from the mother’s first milk (Colostrums: this is the milk rich in mother’s antibodies that puppies must suckle in the first 24 hours after birth).

What makes Puppy Small Breed beneficial as weaning diet?

  • Protein: high quality, highly digestible animal based. Supports growth and tissue accretion. Puppy Small Breed has 32 percent protein dry matter and mother’s milk has 26-33 percent dry matter, so it’s at an ideal transition level.
  • Fat: high quality, highly digestible at 21 percent dry matter. Mother’s milk is 22-42 percent dry matter. The moderate fat levels will ensure smooth transition as the digestive system of the puppy starts to develop enzymes needed to digest fat.
  • High quality, highly digestible carbohydrates.
  • Beet pulp for gut health.
  • Highly digestible nutritional matrix.

At what age should you use Puppy Small Breed as weaning diet?

Packaging guidelines show from six weeks onwards, but it can be used from 3-4 weeks of age if the breeder decides to wean at this age. Please see table :

How do you feed Puppy Small Breed as weaning diet?

Do not use Cow’s milk or any other species’ milk as their composition is not suitable to feed puppies. The mother is also able to eat Puppy Small Breed if she wishes.

Puppies should be allowed access to the Puppy Small Breed gruel for 30-60 minutes three times a day. Mix it with warm water in the proportions indicated in the table above.

If your puppy is three weeks old, mix one part Puppy Small Breed with three parts warm water. If your puppy is four weeks old, mix one part Puppy Small Breed with two parts warm water. If your puppy is of five weeks or older mix one part Puppy Small Breed with one part warm water. These guidelines amounts are a starting point and your puppy may need more food depending on age, size activity and temperament. Do not allow the gruel to remain with the puppies for more than one hour. Clean, fresh water must be available at all times. Gradually, incorporate Eukanuba puppy food Kibbles in the gruel at 5-6 weeks of age and remove the milk replacer to allow complete transition to Eukanuba puppy food by 6-8 weeks of age.

In order to reach optimal body condition, you may need to adjust food intake. This represents the total recommended volume of feeding amount by the number of times you feed your dog per day to get the actual portion size per feeding.

How long can you feed Puppy Small Breed as weaning diet?

The weaning period should be fully over within 21-28 days and puppies can transition from the Puppy Small Breed onto their Eukanuba breed size puppy nutrition.

What about puppies with loose stools?

For puppies with occasional loose stools, you can feed the Puppy Small Breed. If the loose stools persist then, consult a vet. Poor stool quality in young dogs can be caused by dietary indiscretion, parasitic and viral disease and therefore a vet needs to be involved if the problem does not get better within a few days.

What about weaning large/giant breeds?

Puppy Small Breed does have relatively high calcium at 1.2 percent. As Puppy Small Breed will be mainly fed for a short time then we do not think this is such a critical issue for large/giant breeds when used for weaning. Its lower energy at 4007 KCal/kg will aid with controlled growth in these breeds.

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