When to Start Puppy Weaning

Weaning Puppies Starts Between 3 to 4 Weeks of Age!

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The start of puppy weaning begins a few weeks before your pups will be totally and completely weaned.

It is too taxing on your Golden Retriever to have her nurse her puppies and be their only source of food for weeks on end. Also, this will interfere with the puppy's growth development.

Puppy weaning is simple. Starting at 3 weeks of age, puppies should be introduced to soft puppy food, not adult food.

weaning puppies, Golden Retriever family

When they are first introduced to kibble, they will play in it and make a huge mess, not only all over the floor, but all over themselves!

But within 2 to 3 days, they will have learned that their food is a great treat, and will eagerly look forward to eating it.

It is best to have momma out of the room while the pups eat. Some Goldens are funny about their pups getting food and will growl at the pups and eat the food themselves.

When the pups are done eating, bring the momma back in to finish up whatever is left over and she will also clean up the pups!

Starting at 4 weeks of age, the puppies should have been eating enough by now that you can begin keeping mom away from them for a few hours at a time.

I always find it best when weaning, to have them totally weaned by 5 and 1/2 weeks of age.

Smaller breeds of dogs may nurse a bit longer, but Goldens generally have big litters and huge puppies, which is why weaning should be done earlier.

puppy weaning, Golden Retrievers puppies lined up to eat

As you increase the number of times a day you feed the puppies, decrease the amount of time that momma spends with them.

Her nursing is supply and demand.

By decreasing her time with them, her milk supply will naturally start to slow down and her teats will not become overfull, which is extremely painful for her.

A puppy will continue to nurse as long as he is allowed, but this doesn't mean that he should!

They will even try to nurse a male dog, who really doesn't appreciate that!

Weaning puppies is just another stage of their overall development and is quite easy to do. Just don't make the mistake of waiting too long to start working on it!



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Golden Retriever in a cowboy hat


Golden Retriever puppies in basket


Old Golden Retriever smiling