All newborn puppies feed on breast milk. It not only contains all the nutrients necessary for growth, but also strengthens the immunity of babies, protects them from diseases, until they become old enough for vaccinations. When the puppies reach the age of three weeks, the mother dog begins to spend more time away from them, thereby preparing them for excommunication. At this time, puppies must learn to eat solid food. It is important for you as the owner to know how to excommunicate the puppy, how to help him start eating on his own. Read the article further to learn this.
Features of breast feeding puppies
After the mother gives birth to her offspring, her mammary glands begin to function intensively. In the early days, colostrum stands out from them - a lighter and more useful food product for puppies than milk. It is more easily digested by the weak body of the doggie and helps him quickly adapt to extrauterine nutrition, that is, to mother’s breast milk. By the way, it is twice as fat as cow in fat content.
The quantity and quality of milk is influenced by the dog’s nutrition. The healthier and more natural her food, the better it will be in her lactation and, accordingly, puppies will grow sooner.
They eat from two rows of nipples located on the mother’s stomach. In total, the dog’s mammary glands can be from eight to twelve, but the nipples are always the most mammary. Does a mother have enough milk, can only determine her children. If maternal nutrition is enough for them, then they grow before our eyes, are calm, and after feeding they always get in a pile. When the bitch does not have enough milk, the squeak of puppies, their poor weight gain, and anxiety serve as an indicator of the problem.
Duration of lactation in dogs
Usually this process in bitches lasts from six to eight weeks. Veterinarians do not recommend artificially interrupting such an important period, so breeders do not excommunicate puppies from their mother for up to two months. Mother after eight weeks reduces feeding time on her own, spends less time with her offspring. That is, nature has laid the process of the gradual cessation of lactation with the growth of puppies.
It is such a phased weaning of her offspring by a bitch from her breast that will never cause stress and digestive problems in babies. Young dogs will grow up, getting acquainted with ordinary food or feed specially designed for them.
On the artificial termination of lactation
Often, owners, breeders have a need to give puppies at an earlier age, and therefore, stop the allocation of milk from the dog's nipples. How to do it correctly, without consequences? There are several options. And first, you should try ways to stop lactation without medication.
Experienced breeders advise three days before the puppies are given to minimize the amount of protein food for the bitch. What does it mean? Remove all milk, meat, fish from her diet. Leave your mother on porridge, vegetables and water. On the day of distribution of the offspring, it is better not to feed the dog at all, but to organize longer walks - two, three hours, grease her nipples with camphor oil.
Proponents of a more radical method of stopping lactation advise three days after separation from puppies not to feed the bitch at all and give water to a minimum. Yes, this is a rather tough measure, but it is very effective. Fasting helps to avoid mastitis, which can lead to complications for dogs.
More humane dog breeders recommend after binding the puppies to tie cabbage leaves to the dog's nipples.
There are medical methods for stopping lactation in bitches. For this purpose, preparations are used halostop, cabergoline, parlodel, bromocriptine, ovariavit, dostinex. The latter is used to stop lactation in women.
A veterinarian will help you choose a medication, calculate its dose for the dog, and the dosage regimen. Do not forget that cessation of lactation is an intervention in the natural process. Do not do this on your own, not having enough experience.
You also need to know that it certainly won’t help to stop the process of milk extraction from the mother’s nipples. It is about squeezing it out of the mammary glands. Such a measure acts exactly the opposite - and only enhances lactation.
Some females after separation from offspring begin to suck out milk themselves. Do not allow this. Limit access to the nipples with a special cardboard collar worn around the neck of the bitch. Provide your pet with sufficient physical activity after separation from puppies.
Note that after lactation, most bitches begin to molt violently. Do not worry: this is a completely natural process.
When to take away babies
It is common practice to remove puppies from their mother after their teeth erupt, i.e. from the age of one month and older. The ideal time is 6 weeks. Before giving babies to new owners, the main owners should not only teach to eat “adult” food in terms of skills, but also to accustom it to its assortment (meat, fish, cereals, cottage cheese, etc.).
How to do it?
Dogs have a very developed maternal instinct, therefore, radical weaning of all puppies at once is carried out at once in extreme cases and for strict medical reasons. It is best to take one puppy from a nursing female every 2-4 days, depending on her subsequent reactions.
Separating puppies from the mother dog is allowed only after they completely switch to solid food.
Transfer puppies to solid food
Starting from 3 weeks of age, the mother dog begins to leave the puppies for a long time, instinctively accustoming them to be without it. By week 4, you should begin to gradually transfer the kids to solid adult food.
For the first intake of "adult" food, a mixture of dry food and special puppy milk with water is prepared, which is crushed in a blender to the consistency of baby food. The mixture is given to puppies 3-4 times a day, allowing breast milk to be fed. Weekly, you need to increase the amount of feed and reduce the amount of liquid, changing (by eye) the consistency of the mixture to a thicker one. With the right transition, by the age of 7-8 weeks, puppies should eat only “adult” food.
An important point: at the time of transferring the puppies to liquid and solid food, it is advisable to feed the mother dog with the same composition, moreover, from a common large bowl, so that the kids take an example from it. If the puppies cannot understand what to do, you need to dip your finger in the mixture and grease the muzzle without touching the nose. It is not worth dipping a muzzle in a bowl to eliminate the risks of food particles getting into the respiratory tract. As a thicker and harder puppy food is formed, replace with solid / dry food and a lactating dog to reduce milk production. At the same time, increase the amount of food for puppies, and reduce the dog. Be sure from 5-6 weeks from birth, each puppy should have its own bowl.
In addition to ready-made dry food, puppies can be given cereals with minced meat, vegetables, soups, meat, adding 1 tsp to the food. fish oil.
Features of the transfer to adult feed
- it is not advisable to soak dry food only with water - this will reduce the concentration of nutrients and vitamins,
- you can’t rush puppies in eating “adult” food, let them eat it in a rhythm convenient for them,
- do not excommunicate puppies sluggishly eating solid food - this can lead to malnutrition and emaciation,
- It is recommended to give canned food only after the skills to eat dry food soaked in milk.
Natural cessation of lactation
With a gradual timely weaning of the offspring, everything goes away on its own and without complications. It is useful to increase the physical load of the dog, the duration of the walks - this contributes to the "divergence" of milk in the mammary glands.
An excellent option in parallel with food restriction is a short excommunication of the mother from the puppies. With proper control, after 2-3 days without babies, lactation begins to fade on its own. It is important to monitor the condition of the dog, so as not to miss the malaise due to possible mastitis.
Dog food at the time of weaning puppies
On the first day after the simultaneous weaning of puppies, the animal should be put on a hungry, dry diet. The measure is tough, but it is necessary. Milk production is usually halved. After a day, the dog is fed twice a day in the usual portions, which she was fed even before she was tied. They give water to drink only after eating, during the day access to water is limited. The animal is kept like this for 3-5 days.
Medication to stop lactation in a bitch
There are times when medical assistance is needed. The range of products to stop lactation in the dog abound. It is important to conduct course therapy without missing a dose, without shortening the duration of treatment. As prescribed by the veterinarian, they use: Galastop, Mastometrin, Ovariovit, Parlodel, Dostinex, Bromkriptin.
Dosage is determined individually or according to the instructions for drugs:
- Galastop: for each kg of weight, 3 drops once a day for 7-10 days,
- Ovariovit: once, 1-4 tab. per animal, depending on size and for 7-90 days (the duration of the course is determined by a specialist and is determined by the general condition of the pet),
- Mastometrine: subcutaneously or in the thigh, 1-4 ml for one individual 1-3 times / day. during one week,
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel): 0.06 mg / kg twice a day for at least 10-16 days.
What can not be done
It is not recommended to dress the mammary glands, express milk, and also smear with something annoying (camphor) without consulting a veterinarian. You can’t allow the dog to lick milk on his own with his tongue - it is recommended to wear a special collar on his neck, excluding access to the abdomen.
After the artificial termination of lactation, the dog begins a strong molt. There is no reason for panic - a temporary inconvenience against the background of hormonal changes, the hair will grow back in full.
After weaning puppies, milk does not always burn out on its own. Sometimes an animal needs help. A caring owner must know how to stop lactation in a dog, and how he can help his beloved pet.
What to do if after weaning puppies suck each other (ears, paws, tails)
This can happen if puppies are weaned too early. In babies of dogs, the sucking reflex is highly developed, so it is recommended that they be fed with milk using a small rubber bulb to compensate for breast sucking. There is no harm from sucking each other apart from the constant irritation of the tips of the ears, tails or genitals of puppy boys. You can distinguish between them during sleep - with fabric or partitions in a sleeping place. You just need to not allow this to be done and stop it when this process is noticed.
If puppies whine after weaning
Perhaps digestive problems or puppies do not eat up. With an early weaning and a sharp transition to an adult, solid food, violations of the gastrointestinal tract may occur, accompanied by bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. If the puppies' tummy is swollen, liquid or hard-dry feces are noted, it makes sense to seek the advice of a veterinarian regarding the correction of the diet of babies.
Assuming the dogs aren’t getting eaten up, try adding one extra feeding, reducing the gap between them, without increasing the serving.
Puppies can also miss their mother. Pay just a little more attention to them, iron, play, buy special toys.
Dog snarls at puppies
It happens that long before the start of timely weaning from the breast, the mother dog stops letting puppies to the chest. There are two reasons: problems with the mammary gland (the dog feels pain or any other discomfort), damping of the maternal instinct (after stress) or puppies smell like “not puppies”. If no signs of breast disease are found, puppies smell of puppies, but are not allowed to breast, start self-feeding offspring with milk and some acceleration of the transition to adult nutrition. It is possible that the lactating bitch herself decided to refuse to feed the babies for some reason.
What could threaten the early weaning of puppies?
Excessively early weaning of babies from a nursing dog can lead to stunted growth and development, disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract and metabolism. This can lead to a violation of thermoregulation, bone softness, inactivity, weakness, etc. At the final transition to solid food, these conditions are compensated, the puppies look healthy, but in the future, previous conditions can affect the general health of internal organs and systems.
Mom dog looking for puppies
With a sharp weaning of all puppies at once, the dog can walk around the house, whine and obviously look for its babies. It is important for a pet to understand, to treat her condition with understanding. It is enough to distract her from the search (to approach, stroke, take out for a walk, play), replace the bedding in the sleeping place so that nothing reminds of puppies. The amount of time for which the dog gets used to the absence of puppies is individual.