How to Introduce a Puppy to Its First Food


The transition from their mother's milk to eating solid food is a big milestone in puppies' lives. It signals the start of their independence from their mother and a step toward the time when they go to new homes to lead lives of their own. Some new dog breeders are confused about how to introduce a puppy to its first foods. Getting a puppy to nurse isn't difficult, but after it's been feeding on its mother's milk all its life, introducing solid food can pose a challenge.

  • Place the newborn puppy at the mother's side with its nose on the mother's nipple. Puppies instinctively grab the nipple and begin suckling. If you are bottle-feeding, simply insert the nipple of the bottle into the puppy's mouth. Start the process of weaning the puppies off mother's milk at the age of three to four weeks.

  • Mix two cups of high-quality puppy food in a blender with 12.5 oz. of puppy milk replacement formula. Then add hot water until the blender is full. This feeds six to eight puppies of a medium-sized breed, but you can store the extra in the refrigerator for later feeding for smaller puppies.

  • Blend the mixture until it is the consistency of human baby food. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish and set it down near the puppies. Let the puppies investigate it on their own.

  • Use your finger to scoop the mash to the puppy's mouth if it doesn't get the idea to eat it. Most puppies begin eating the mash on their own.

  • Decrease the amount of milk replacement formula and water gradually as the puppies get older. By seven weeks, they should be eating solid puppy food.

Tips & Warnings

  • Puppies have small stomachs, so they need small, frequent meals. Allow nursing puppies to feed whenever they want. Feed weaning puppies three or four times a day.
  • If a newborn puppy does not begin nursing on its own, talk to your veterinarian immediately.

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  • Photo Credit puppy image by Waseem Ghattas from
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