When To Wean Pit Bull Puppies

when to wean pit bull puppies
Image by Sam Haven from Pixabay

Although many mother dogs commence the weaning process of their puppies on their own, you could step in to aid the process and make it faster. But then you’d need to know when to wean Pit bull puppies.

Some people prefer to take the weaning process upon themselves and they start weaning the puppy when it is only three weeks old. Some, on the other hand, prefer to wait for when the mother dog starts showing signs to suggest the right time for a weaning process. However, you must be sensitive and pay rapt attention to these signs. So, let’s take you through some of the signs that will tell you that the weaning process is about to begin.

When the pup is about three to four weeks old, the puppy’s first milk tooth should start showing. As the teeth grow, it starts to hurt the mother dog who then gradually becomes reluctant to nurse the pup. As the mother dog attempts to run away from the hurt, she leaves her puppies for long periods of time and the puppy becomes more and more independent and has to look to other sources of food. 

Now, your pit bull is in a domestic setting, not out in the wild, so, you have to start the process of weaning it early. While its mother’s milk provides the puppy the necessary nutrients for growth and development and provides antibodies to prevent it from diseases, it is still better to commence weaning your puppy once it is three weeks old. This article will expose you to different ways to go about it.

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Weaning Your Pit Bull Puppies

Step 1: Expose Your Pregnant Dog To Puppy Food Early

Before your dog births its puppy at all, you should feed her puppy food. Puppy food has basic nutrients and high proteins that will make your dog gain the needed weight. However, because you don’t want your dog to be overweight, you should start out by feeding your dog with a small quantity of puppy food when it’s pregnant. Doing this will make it easy for the puppies to switch to puppy food when they are given birth to. 

Step 2: Introduce Your Puppies To Puppy Food Gradually

When your puppies are already three weeks old or more, don’t just abruptly wean it off its mother. Start by introducing puppy food to make up about 10 to 15% of their daily calorie intake. Allow them to continue getting nursed by their mother even while they eat new foods. Continue the process by introducing the puppy food over and over so they will take less of breast milk. 

Don’t be in a hurry to wean a puppy that is too slow when eating on its own. It can cause the puppy to be malnourished. So, allow it to continue getting nursed by its mother while you strategize on ways to gradually draw its attention from its mother’s milk. 

Step 3: Motivate Your Puppies To Eat Puppy Food

It is possible your puppies refuse to eat puppy food once they are introduced to it. They may resist sometimes. It is your duty to cajole your puppies and place it in front of the food as many times as possible until the puppies eat the food. This does not mean you should force the puppies or hold their head down to the direction of the food. Look for enticing ways to make the puppies eat their food. 

Step 4: Take The Mother Away While The Puppies Feed

Separate the puppies from their mother for about 1 to 3 hours a day. Put the mother in a different part of the house and leave the puppies to their food bowl. It is inevitable that they will whine for the first few times but as time goes on, they will understand that they have to eat the food from the bowl. 

Step 5: Regularly Check Up On Your Puppy

Monitor your puppies’ health during the weaning process to ensure they are adding the required weight. Check if your puppies are vomiting or have diarrhea. Don’t hesitate to visit a veterinarian in case any problem arises. 

Step 6: Transition The Mother Dog To Regular Dog Food

When the mother dog has stayed four weeks after the birth of its puppy, replace the food gradually. You can start by replacing a quarter of the puppy food with regular dog food. This will aid the digestive system to adjust to the changes. The mother dog continues to give the puppy nutrients until it totally switches to regular dog food. 

Step 7: Wean The Puppies Completely Off Their Mother’s Milk

By the time the puppies are about 7 weeks old, they should have been completely weaned. They should be able to eat dry puppy food and drink water on their own by then.

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Preparing Puppy Food

Step 1: Mix The Replacement Milk Into The Dry Puppy Food

You can get the replacement milk from any pet store or from the vet. When the puppies start walking at about 3 weeks, mix the dry puppy food with the replacement milk in a large low pan to make it easy for the puppies to eat. 

This dog replacement milk will provide your puppies with the necessary nutrients and prevent them from getting choked on dry chow when they begin to try out the food.

Step 2: Use A Blender

It might be too much to immediately present your puppies with a sludgy combination of dry chow and replacement milk. So, you can give the puppies the feel of an infant’s cereal by using a blender to blend up their food.

Step 3: Feed The Puppies Thrice A Day During This Weaning Process

Usually, puppies that are below six months of age ought to be fed three times daily and later on, when they’re above 6 months, it can be reduced to two times daily. Don’t increase the amount of their food too much in order to stabilize your puppies on a healthy eating plan and prevent them from picking up dirt to eat or begging for more food. 

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For more information, you can check out the video below to learn more about weaning diets for puppies.

Drying Up The Mother Dog’s Milk

Naturally, when the puppy stops breastfeeding, a mother dog should stop lactating. This should be between 4 to 8 weeks if the dog owner champions the weaning process. However, if the puppy and its mother are left alone, the mother can continue to breastfeed the dog for up to 10 weeks. 

If the weaning is carried out properly, the mother’s milk supply should begin to dry up as the weaning continues. Normally, a dog produces milk based on the level of demand from her pups. So, the earlier you separate the puppy from its mother, the earlier the milk will begin to dry up. The dog’s body then signals to begin decreasing its milk production. 

Ways You Can Dry Up A Dog’s Milk 

Before you decide you want to strategize ways to dry up your dog’s milk, you first have to get the consent of the vet. A vet must approve if this measure is necessary. Normally, you should not abruptly stop a dog’s milk production. Once there is no stimulation, the milk will cease coming out on its own. However, there are situations where you might have to interfere and stop the production of milk. In such cases, you  can try these remedies:

1. Reduce The Food And Water Intake

During the dog’s pregnancy, you would have probably given the dog enough food to give her the needed energy to sustain herself. Reducing the food and water intake will affect the milk production and cause it to dry up. 

Try withholding food and water for about 24hours. The next day, feed the dog a quarter of the normal ration. By day three, make it half of her normal ration on the third day and three-quarter on the fourth day. Then adjust it to the regular diet. 

2. Use A Pet Cone

You can use a pet cone to stop stimulation especially if your dog licks her breast excessively. The best way to prevent this is to use an Elizabethan collar also known as a pet cone. This will prevent it from licking its breasts. Doing this is stimulating the breasts which, in turn, leads to the production of milk. So, you’d have to discourage it.

3. Try Feeding Your Dog Parsley

Parsley is a natural diet that can help to dry up mammary glands. It will help to reduce the prolactin levels that will, in turn, decrease milk supply in the dog. 

Parsley is safe for dogs, so, if you place your dog on a parsley diet for a few days, it could help to dry up the dog’s milk. Only restrict the parsley to leaves and stalk because parsley oil and seeds could be toxic to the dog. Make sure you consult a vet before trying these natural food-based remedies. 

4. Use Pills

Vets can prescribe pills to help a dog stop lactating. Drugs like cabergoline have an anti-prolactin effect that can dry up the milk in the mammary glands. Also, diuretics like furosemide can stop milk production. Some vets can also suggest mild tranquilizers. However, these pills cannot prevent fake pregnancy symptoms from showing. Also, pills should never be the first resort to help your dog stop milk production. So, you should follow the advice of a pet expert.

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When Should You Stop A Mother Dog From Lactating?

There are some rare situations where you would have to stop milk production in a dog that has newly given birth and stop her from also feeding her puppy or puppies. If the dog suffers from health issues, it is better to stop her from lactating to prevent her from passing on the disease to her puppies. 

Only a vet can diagnose a dog for these kinds of health issues and likewise suggest remedies. The disease could be any of these:

1. Eclampsia

This is caused by a decrease in the dog’s calcium levels. The symptoms normally show up suddenly and can be characterized by panting, seizures, spasms, and restlessness. The breastfeeding can be continued if the dog is placed on oral calcium supplements but most times, puppies are usually removed until the dog recovers. 

2. Acute Metritis 

It is a bacterial infection and the symptoms are, fever, lethargy, smelly lochia, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most dogs with this disease always require hospitalization and the infection coupled with the separation from her puppies may cause the milk to dry up. 

3. Acute Septic Mastitis

It is a breast infection that results in swelling of the breast and intense pain. The milk produced, if a dog has this disease, may be toxic to the puppies. So, the puppies should be fed artificially in such a situation. The vet usually prescribes antibiotics to cure the infection. The milk can be dried up by carefully extracting the milk from the breasts after ensuring that they are softened. It will help reduce milk production and even help the dog recover.

Can you tell when your Pit Bull is pregnant? Click here to learn How To Tell If Your Pit Bull Is Pregnant.

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