Weaning puppies can occur in a spontaneous and natural way, with no need to force. However, it’s common practice among breeders to begin weaning around four weeks old. The weaning should be done by gradually feeding by tube as an alternative to breastfeeding.
To wean properly, introduce the solid food diet gradually, starting from the fourth week. In this phase, use softened food with warm water. To facilitate this process, there are special diets in the market under the form of kibbles of small size and high solubility.
The mothers understand perfectly how to wean their puppies. When their teeth start to grow, they are so sharp that it hurts the nipples of the mother. It makes them not approach their puppies to stop their nursing, or even give them a clear sign to stop by taking their little heads near the mouth. In the case of insistent puppies or too tolerant mothers, we should work to prevent their breasts from being hurt or receiving mastitis.
We can wrap the abdomen when the mother spends some education time with her puppies. Then, take off the bandage when the puppies sleep or when they are not with her. We can also use a Tellington bandage.
A correct intervention of the breeders should be done by not distracting the puppies in the weaning moment because their mother has to teach them many things during this period. To prevent the most important phase of education for the puppies by their mother would unbalance them, because they would lack fundamental inhibitions.
In fact, the first 10 weeks are useful to strengthen the rapport of the mother and her puppies.
We think that for puppies of 4 weeks old, the positive emotional effects from their mother is as important as the nutrients from her milk.