Puppies can eat before they can lap, so a soggy bowl of a good quality puppy food, such as Burns Mini Bites is advised at weaning. Feed by hand at first – the puppies are used to putting their heads up to feed, so will have to learn that their food is at floor level. However, don’t continue hand-feeding once they know where the dish is. They’ll soon get the idea and will wade in, laying in it, rolling in it, eating it off their brothers and sisters … this is the messy stage, but a warm damp flannel will clean them up before they go back into their nice warm bed. I always allow the bitch in to her puppies at this point – she will eat up the leftovers, help clean up the pups and give them a drink.
Initially, the pups need to be fed every 3 hours from early morning to late evening – about 6 times a day, and it is a good idea to change their bedding after they have been cleaned after each feed. Let them eat as much as they want before settling down to sleep again.
By 7 weeks, the puppies will be interested in crunchy food, so offering them alternate feeds of wet and dry food will be welcome. By this stage they should be lapping well, but do ensure they are taking sufficient fluids.
When the puppies are ready to leave for their new homes good breeders will make sure the new owners have a supply of the same food the puppies have been used to – this will minimise tummy upsets.
They should be fed every time they wake up, alternating dry, crunchy biscuits with moistened biscuits and ensuring they have a supply of clean drinking water at all times.
Puppies are not babies! Please don’t feed puppies on soup – it is far too salty, or porridge, or anything babies would normally have – these are puppies, and a good quality puppy food is best. It is not necessary to add tasty treats to puppy’s food as this will throw the protein balance of the food out, unless a teaspoonful of some tasty morsel will tempt a reluctant feeder.