Should my newly orphaned, 3-4 week old pups be fed only puppy formula or are they old enough to try and start on a gruel?
My family took in a stray that was dumped off a month or two ago. She appeared to be a lab mix, but what we didn't realize at the time was that she was pregnant. A few weeks ago, she had seven puppies, seemingly with some bulldog or English terrier background.
Just this past week they opened their eyes, but yesterday she began eating grass along with another adult dog we own. We think they may have found poison set out by someone near by, as we live out in the country and rat poisons, insecticides, etc. are not unusual.
He recovered, and seems to be doing quite well today. Unfortunately, she got worse, and no vet could be found willing to look at her on a weekend. Earlier today, she died. The pups seem to be fat and healthy right now, but obviously a lot of things are fixing to change for them. I have been looking various places on the web for advice, and taken note of your Newborn Puppies page, but was wondering if we should go ahead and try starting them on puppy formula mixed with a little dry food or if they should stay on a strictly liquid diet for a while longer.
They just opened their eyes this past week, and we think they are about 3-4 weeks old.
I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to the momma of these pups, it's very sad and some dogs simply don't get the chance at the happy life they deserve. At least you took her in and are able to take care of her puppies for her.
If these puppies just opened their eyes a week or so ago (this usually happens at about 10 days to 2 weeks of age) they are probably close to 3 weeks old. They should be toddling around by now and interacting with each other.
If this is the case, then I'd recommend that you begin to wean them off the liquid only diet. If they will drink from a bottle you can give them both puppy formula that way, and mixed with dry puppy food for another week. Make sure that you soak the puppy food well with hot water and then mix in the formula so that it's very mushy and 'soupy'. As they get older and more familiar with chewing and lapping, you can cut down on the liquid in the food and they'll get what they need by lapping water from a bowl.
These little ones are lucky that they're at this stage and are already healthy and strong, it shouldn't be too difficult to get them on the right track now.
Do be sure to keep these pups away from any areas where they may be able to get into toxic or dangerous substances. A fenced in pen or something similar will be necessary when they get outdoors. Also, check with your vet about getting them started on their puppy shots as the immunity they got from their momma's milk will wear off sometime within the next few weeks.
I wish you and these puppies the best of luck and hope they all find loving homes.
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