Ratio Raw - Weaning

When to start weaning? This can be a individual thing for both breeder and nursing bitch. One must consider the health, growth and strength of the pups. It's also good to think that weaning is a progression not a cold turkey jump, therefore it should take at least three to four weeks to completely wean a healthy litter before sending them to their new homes. Weaning is not only a time for the puppies to learn to eat rather than nurse, but it is also the time in which you are teaching their intestines how to accept new foods and digest nutrients from new sources.

Ideally somewhere between three and four weeks puppies can start to get the "taste" of goats milk from the breeder's hand to the pup's mouth, then advancing to eating out of a shallow bowl. It is important to note here that the food bowl must be shallow similar to a plate and just enough milk to cover the bottom. Boxer puppies aspirate easily and even drown in food bowls when their legs are unsteady and they are unsure how to eat. Diligence and awareness are a must!!!

We start with plain goats milk once or twice per day so puppies can get a taste and learn a licking action rather then the sucking action. It is normal for puppies to use their feet because they are used to *kneading* the breast to speed up milk delivery. Therefore, messy puppies are normal!! This can be good as it can encourage an uninterested mom to clean them off, as well as puppies to lick off each other getting used to the taste of milk and again the licking action. Also, the breeder/owner should be giving each pup a full body moist wipe down (we recommend water with a few drops of tea tree oil), looking for changes in each puppy. Again, regular handling makes for better social pups.

After the pups have started to get the idea that yummy stuff is found in the bowl we blend together banana, yogurt, goats milk and an egg. Start with small amounts in each bowl until it is gone, then refill and feed until each puppy has a full tummy.

Each stage for puppies will be different in length and this is when the breeder must be aware of how the pups are progressing, watching the stools, the reactions of pups and how the bitch is maintaining with her litter.

Just around five weeks our puppies will be introduced to two things: digestive enzymes and a small amount of ground liver once per day added to their goat milk mix. Please note the pups are still nursing full time on mom at this point.

Another four to five days into this routine (if puppies are thriving) we then make up a ground 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 ratio mix for the puppies, making sure everything is very well ground and mushy. Most veggies will need to be put through the blender thoroughly. Small chunks of food are a large concern. Over zealous puppies will choke easily, as well as be unable to digest properly resulting in a lack of nutrients for growth. Remember weaning is not just teaching a pup to eat out of a bowl but is it to teach a baby intestine how to digest! Keep food simple, small and easy!

We always do our best to make sure pups are nursing no less then two to three times per day after five weeks until they are seven weeks of age. This then cuts back to once a day after seven weeks if puppies are thriving and doing well.

We feed puppies four to five small meals per day between the ages of five weeks and seven weeks, then move them to three times per day after seven weeks for a healthy litter. Litters that are struggling or delayed must have their weaning times delayed.

Tripe can be started early, though as it usually comes in large pieces, it will need to be ground or cut. Tripe can be a potential choking hazard, so we don't usually give tripe until closer to eight weeks and it is given partially frozen. Alternatively, thawed tripe can be given, but each puppy must be fed and observed individually so they are free to chew without the worry of a littermate stealing. If you can get ground tripe, please start giving it to the babies at five weeks.

This is the "grocery list" we use to feed our puppies:

  • Goat's milk
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Banana
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Greens +
  • Vitamin C
  • Fish oils
  • Chicken with Bone
  • Veggies
  • Beef or Bison Organ meat
  • Tripe

For those wishing to move pups onto kibble, it has not been something any raw or semi raw feeder we know starts until after eight weeks. Vaccines and home change stress are contributing factors to this decision.



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The information contained within this website is not intended to be misconstrued as medical advice.
Contact your veterinarian before attempting to change your dog's diet.
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