Most new puppy owners bring home their pup when they are eight weeks old, and with good reason. Eight weeks is the exact age when puppies become completely weaned from their mother’s milk.
But if you’ve seen an eight week old puppy, you’ll realize that they’re still very small and cuddly, even for pups from large breeds.
A lot of new owners get confused about what to feed their pups at that age, since they do still seem to be so young. Let’s take a close look at what eight week old puppies should be drinking and eating and what to expect as we welcome them into our home.
Why is 8 weeks an important time in a puppy’s life?
Eight weeks old is a very important milestone for puppies. That’s the time when they finish weaning from their mother (they begin to wean anytime between three to six weeks) and that’s also the time when they have all of their baby teeth and might even start to grow some adult ones.
This is also the time in a puppy’s life when they are the most impressionable. They’re at what experts call the imprinting stage – that time in their life when they haven’t formed habits yet and can be trained easily and they can be socialized with other pets and people. Their environment and experiences are very important at this point because they’re soaking up all of the behaviors and impressions that they see and feel.
What should an 8 week old puppy be drinking?
At eight week’s old, your puppy is at that very important in-between stage where they’re growing out of being a puppy but they’re still learning how to be a dog. Training and socializing your puppy is very important but part of this milestone includes their nutrition and health too. A lot of new puppy owners often feel like they should still be drinking milk at this age to keep them healthy or at least a milk substitute, but is it as good an idea as it sounds?
Despite the fact that your puppy still looks very much like a baby, cute tummy and all, they are actually already completely weaned at eight weeks old. That means they no longer need their mum’s milk or any milk substitutes. In fact, giving a puppy (or even a dog) cow’s milk usually leads to diarrhea or at least a tummy ache.
All your puppy should be drinking at this age is fresh water.
If you want to give milk to a puppy as a treat, what types of milk can a dog drink?
If you’re looking for a treat for your new pup that mimics their mum’s milk, then your best options are plain yogurt, evaporated milk, or goat’s milk. Your puppy will love the familiar sensation but it won’t irritate their stomach in the same way that regular full-fat cow’s milk will.
If you want to get creative, you can mix the yogurt with either the evaporated milk or the goat’s milk, but even just the yogurt will be a fun and healthy treat for your pup. Just make sure that it’s free of any sweeteners, whether natural or artificial.
When giving your dog treats, keep in mind that you should limit it to just 10% of their total diet. The majority of their dietary needs should still come from their puppy food which is specifically designed to meet all of their nutritional needs.
Why is giving an 8 week old puppy milk a bad idea?
Milk, specifically full fat cow’s milk, can be very bad for dogs in general but can wreak havoc in an eight week old puppy’s sensitive stomach. Feeding your puppy cow’s milk can have severe adverse effects like diarrhea and even vomiting.
Cow’s milk is very high in fat and natural sugars which can irritate a dog’s stomach and especially a puppy’s. Because your puppy is still growing up and developing, he’s not as strong as adult dogs and might not recover as quickly if he ends up with diarrhea or experiences severe vomiting.
It is highly recommended that your puppy stick to fresh water for drinking. If you are giving your eight week old pup high quality puppy food, then he is already getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that he needs.
What should an 8 week old puppy be eating?
If they should be completely weaned from their mother’s milk at eight weeks old, what should your puppy be eating then? High quality puppy food, whether it’s wet or dry, should be all that your growing puppy needs to stay healthy. What’s important is that you choose puppy food that can give your new pup all the nutrition that he needs to build those strong bones and teeth and muscle. But how do you choose the right food for your puppy?
When choosing puppy food, the best step to take is to ask the breeder or the shelter where you got your puppy from. It’s likely that your puppy has already been eating puppy food since he was four weeks old to help your pup get started on a solid food diet. It’s also just as likely that they gave you a pound of the puppy food that your pup is used to eating when you brought him home, so it should be easy enough to buy more.
However, if you don’t know what your pup was eating (and somehow cant’ find out) or if you feel that it’s not giving your pup all of their dietary needs, then you can go ahead and find a high quality dog food that’s specially formulated for puppies.
When choosing the right food for your puppy, consider the calorie content which should be higher than regular dog food – a puppy needs a lot of energy because he’s growing very fast at this age. Feeding your puppy dog food for adults means depriving him of essential nutrients and proteins that he needs for his growth and development.
Having doubts? Never hesitate to ask your friendly, neighborhood veterinarian. They usually know the best quality brands and might even tip you off to a couple of great pet goods stores in the area.
What treats can you give an 8 week old puppy (instead of milk)?
Because you’re trying to wean your puppy from milk and introducing him to a solid diet, the best treats at this stage should be solid and big enough to munch on but chewy enough so that it isn’t a choking hazard.
There are a lot of good brands that offer treats specially made for puppies. These are great choices because you can rest assured that they are safe for your new pup to eat with the added bonus of being nutritious.
Be careful with giving your dog human food as treats because there are quite a few food that are unexpectedly toxic for dogs. While everyone knows chocolate is poison for our furry pals, not many know that onion, garlic, chives, and even raisins are bad for them too. Also, considering that your new puppy’s stomach is likely still sensitive, it’s best to stick to treats that are proven safe.
How often will an 8 week old puppy need to wee and poop?
An eight week old puppy will be able to hold their pee for as long as three hours which means you’ll need to let them out every three hours or so. You can find out how long a puppy can hold their pee by taking their age in months plus 1, so an eight week old puppy is 2 months old plus 1 equals 3 (hours).
Puppies will generally poop 30 minutes after they’ve eaten. They will also often poop as soon as they wake up so it’s best to let them out first thing in the morning. It is normal for puppies to poop as much as three to four times a day since they’re also eating a lot at that age.
If you’re the brand new parent of an eight week old pup then congratulations! Eight weeks is a precious and fun stage for having a puppy and it’s at that stage when they can be weaned from their mother and be introduced to solid puppy food. It’s also the stage where they’re most impressionable and trainable, making eight weeks a huge milestone for puppies.
Don’t fret, puppies are tougher than they look. Just be sure to keep in mind that puppies at this age need high quality puppy food and fresh water more than anything else. That, plus a lot of cuddles and socialization. You’re well on your way to becoming a great pup parent already!