American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

Bringing owners, breeders and enthusiasts together to just talk dogs.

American Blue Lacy Dog Blog RSS Feed

Puppy Weaning

Nutrition During Weaning

The beginning of weaning is naturally imposed when milk production by the bitch levels off. It is as though the mother, having reached maximum production, gives up and admits that she can no longer satisfy the increasing needs of her puppies.

In small-breed bitches, lactation covers the most intense growth period of the puppies, and meets their greatest needs. In medium-and large-breed dogs, however, the puppies are “abandoned” by the mother’s milk at a critical period in their growth. So, while gestation and lactation are more taxing in small-breed bitches than in large-breed bitches, the opposite is true for the puppies.

No matter how the puppies get their milk, weaning should be a gradual change of diet beginning at about three weeks of age and ending at seven or eight weeks, at which time the mother will begin to distance herself from the puppies, mainly by asserting her precedence at the dog dish.

The puppies should not be completely separated from their mother before this time, so as to avoid adding any stress to a period that is already sensitive to any drastic change in routine.

Calcium requirement are calculated as a function of the puppy’s weight, ranging from 400 mg/kg at the beginning of growth to 200 mg/kg, the estimated need of the adult, at the end of growth.

As an example, a growing puppy that weighs 30 kg will require six times more calcium than a 5-kg puppy at the same stage of development. However, its energy requirement will be only four times greater. This is why it is important to feed each puppy a food having a calcium/energy ratio adapted to its growth potential.

Feeding the litter dry food that is always available avoids any competition for food among the puppies, and so also any diarrhea related to overeating. When weaning, it is recommended that the puppies be fed three or four meals a day for a limited time (15 minutes) to avoid obesity.

After weaning, two meals per day are adequate for most puppies.

Any obesity appearing when fat cells are multiplying at full speed (know as hyperplastic obesity) would be much more difficult to treat than excess fat acquired in adulthood (hypertrophic obesity).

During the growth period, any nutritional imbalance affects the tissues that are forming.

So small-breed puppies, weaned right in the middle of adipose tissues formation, are predisposed to obesity if they overeat. For this reason, slight under-feeding is less harmful in these dogs than overfeeding, since slightly retarded weight gain can be compensated for afterwards, while obesity arising during the growth period is difficult to reverse once the dog reaches adulthood.

In large-breed puppies, on the other hand, weaning takes place during the period of skeletal growth. Any dietary deficiency of proteins or calcium will affect the formation of the bones (osteofibrosis). In contrast, consumption of excess energy accelerates growth, which makes the puppy vulnerable to many problems such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy and joint dysplasias.

Related posts:


Photo Gallery Slideshow



Sign Up