|Barked: Mon Jun 11, '07 11:18am PST |
|Hi there... I'm a puppy foster mom, so I get puppies all the time that are way too young to be away from Mom, and not at all weaned. So we do bottle feeding, and everything we can that Mom either decided not to do, or owners decided not to let Mom do. Yes, there is a cut off when it's okay to take pups away from Mom, but the problem is - it seems to different with each breed and sometimes each litter.
I've seen lab puppies that really can't nurse anymore after 4 weeks. They're making Mom's nipples bleed, and Mom isn't willing to let them nurse anymore. So what I've done is rescued Mom from the pen, so they can't hurt her anymore, and then started making gruel for the pups. Just take some canned goat's milk, and some wet puppy food, or softened with water/milk dry puppy chow, and put it through your food processor. It's nasty stuff, and they will make the BIGGEST mess you've ever seen with it, but they love it - and it's a step in between milk and food. At first keep it really soupy, then as time goes on use less milk, more kibble, and at the end even throw in some puppy chow after food processing that they can chew on and start trying to eat.
I've never seen this method fail, unless they are just too young for it still and need bottle fed. But six weeks is not too early technically for a big breed's puppies. There may be a runt of the litter that needs longer to nurse, but for the most part I see that they're done nursing between 4 and 5 weeks usually.... but that's not the rule! There are a million exceptions to that, so I don't want people thinking that you should take the pups from Mom that early. Honestly, Mom knows best - let her decide. If she stops nursing them, or they are hurting her nipples - then it's time - but Mom knows.
If you have any trouble, or need any help with this little one, please feel free to email me anytime - firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be more than happy to talk and help wherever I can. Good luck!
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