Eight weeks is the longest a puppy should drink milk. People who are experts at raising puppies say that they should be completely weaned off any type of milk between six and seven weeks old. It may be a struggle with the puppy at first but keep at it. It is important for the well-being of the puppy.
When Does a Puppy Start Drinking Milk?
The answer is right after birth. The mother dog gives birth, cleans the puppy off, and encourages it to suckle. A healthy puppy should immediately begin to drink its mother’s milk. There are all sorts of nutrients in it that puppies need.
Signs That Something Is Wrong
If any of the puppies do not immediately start drinking their mother’s milk, it is possibly a sign that something is wrong. If most or all of the puppies do not suckle, something could be wrong with the mother’s milk. In that case, a call to the veterinarian could be in order.
If one or two puppies fail to drink the mother’s milk, the problem may be with the puppies themselves. If it is an older puppy that you have adopted and is not properly weaned, it could still need milk. If it does not drink, consult with a veterinarian to make sure nothing is wrong.
What Can the Veterinarian Accomplish?
Whether it is a problem with the mother dog or the puppy, a veterinarian may well be able to resolve it. Mother dog’s milk is always the best option. If the problem cannot be resolved by the vet, then you must step in.
What To Do If This Is the Case
In any of the above-mentioned scenarios, you will need to take action for the sake of the puppy’s health. A substitute for dog mother’s milk must be found right away. In NO case can milk be eliminated. At this age, a proper puppy-specific milk diet is crucial.
What To Know First
You cannot promptly go to the refrigerator and get ordinary milk for the puppy to start drinking. There are specific milk products available for puppies. Did you know that cow’s milk is absolutely out of the question? This is true. Why? Let’s examine that now.
About Cow’s Milk and Puppies
Milk from a cow can make a puppy sick if anything more than a few tablespoons are given. It is high in fat and sugar and is difficult for the puppy to digest. Plus, it lacks the vital nutrients that a mother dog’s milk possesses.
It may seem like we are contradicting ourselves, but in fact, we are not. Cow’s milk must not be given to puppies. However, if there is no mother dog, or a puppy will not suckle from her, a milk replacement MUST be administered. It just needs to be a specific kind of milk.
What About Lactose-Free Cow’s Milk?
Sorry, but the answer is still no. Even lactose-free milk, if it comes from a cow, can be harmful to puppies. Some people substitute plant-based milk products. What about those?
What About Plant-Based Milk for Puppies?
We are talking about products like soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. While these are not harmful to a puppy’s digestive system, they still lack the nutrients found in the mother’s milk. Therefore, these are not good substitutes.
How About Goat’s Milk?
This is a better substitute than cow’s milk. It contains all the nutrients, electrolytes, and proteins a baby dog will need. It is also easier for the puppy to digest. It is not as difficult to find goat’s milk as someone might think. Some grocery store chains should have it as well as pet supply stores.
What About a Puppy That is 8 Weeks Old, Can It Have Cow’s Milk?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO. The milk will aggravate a puppy’s intestines and cause horrible bowel problems. Even a few tablespoons, if given too often, can lead to these issues.
At 8 weeks old, your puppy should be completely weaned. So there is no valid reason to administer any milk, nor moisten his or her dry food.
Commercial Milk Replacer for Puppies
Initially, this form of milk for puppies may seem like a waste of time. In actuality, it is the best substitute for the mother dog’s milk. It is created with all the vitamins and special dietary supplements required by puppies. It can be found online in addition to local stores.
You will notice that goat’s milk is also available from online retailers and specialty pet stores. This also meets the requirements of puppies. Either one of these forms of milk replacement is acceptable.
Can You Make Dog Milk Replacer?
Yes, you can; however, it should not be a permanent substitution for commercial brands. That is because it is not possible to replicate all the necessary nutrients if you make it yourself. This method can be used in an emergency. You can ask your veterinary personnel for guidelines.
How Do You Make Milk Replacer for a Puppy?
The following directions are good for one four-ounce puppy to be fed for one day:
- Put in one tablespoon of powder
- Add two tablespoons of warm water
- Mix thoroughly
- Check to make sure milk is not too warm
- This makes roughly two and one-third tablespoons of milk replacer
- Feed to puppy through a nursing bottle or a medicine dropper once every few hours
How Much Milk Should a Puppy Drink?
It depends on the weight of the puppy. The experts recommend two tablespoons of formula per every four ounces each puppy weighs. This amount needs to be broken up into equal feedings for an individual puppy every 24 hours.
Can You Use Evaporated Milk?
According to reputable sources, yes you can. Packaged and shelved evaporated milk does make a good substitute. This is good to know in emergencies. The evaporated milk can also be mixed with other ingredients to add nutritional value. Examples would be egg yolks or yogurt. Do be certain to warm this formula before administering it.
How Long Should a Puppy Drink Milk?
Now to the answer you have been waiting for. At what age should a puppy stop drinking milk altogether? Authorities on animal behavior, in this case, dogs, have some advice. They say a puppy ought to be completely weaned between six or seven weeks old.
How Do You Achieve This Goal?
If the mother dog is around, she will generally see to this herself. If she is not, you must estimate it. It is a great idea to keep track of when the puppies were born to estimate this correctly. A puppy may try to keep drinking milk beyond that age, but it is better for it if you discourage that.
If the puppy appears distressed when it cannot have milk, try a nutritious snack as a substitute. The people in your puppy’s vet office will likely have some suggestions. It should be easy to find these in any store with a pet section.
Find a Suitable Veterinarian
We touched on this earlier. If there is a problem where one or more puppies will not nurse from the mother, the vet will know what to do. They can guide you every step of the way to ensure the puppies grow up healthy and strong.