What to feed 3 week old puppies? - New updated 2023 - Tips for dog care, behavior, hygiene and training (2023)

Tips for feeding 3 week old puppies

When starting a new adventure with a puppy, you may have noticed that this is a very complicated task! Having a puppy takes a lot of dedication and time. Aside from that, puppies are very delicate and therefore need constant care. Do you want to know what to feed him? Here are some tips to help you feed a newborn puppy.

Although having a puppy is a wonderful experience, it requires regular care, so we need to pay attention to its diet.

How should a newborn puppy be fed??

Newborn puppies are less than 15 days old. They are easy to identify as they haven't opened their eyes yet. Therefore, as an extra precaution, you should not touch them unless they are eating.

Living with a Newborn Puppy:

If you've found a newborn puppy and don't know how to care for him, you should consider taking him to a foster home. There you will meet people with many years of experience in these cases. However, if you've decided to keep it, we have some advice for you;

First of all, you would need to create a comfortable environment for your pup. You won't need much. Just a box, basket or carrier!

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The normal temperature of newborn puppies is between 20 and 22 degrees. Remember that puppies can't regulate their temperature, so make sure it's neither hot nor cold. Otherwise it could be dangerous. If you live in a cold area, you may need to use a double electric blanket to protect against rodents. If you decide to use it, be sure to cover the heat lamp with a towel or blanket so the heat is not direct.

If you already have the ideal environment for the puppies, cover the basket with a blanket, leaving some space for air, like a 'burrow'.

If you want to bathe your pup more carefully, you can put a watch nearby as it can simulate his mother's heartbeat.

feeding a newborn puppy:

It is strange that one of the causes of death in newborn puppies is the result of improper nutrition.

If you come across a newborn puppy on the street, try to feed it as much as possible, as the puppy could die if not fed every 3-4 hours.

If you are looking to care for a newborn dog, here are some tips you can follow;

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  • First of all, you can get an artificial formula at a veterinary clinic. If you have more than one newborn pup, it is wise to purchase separate bottles for each pup in the litter. That way someone who has an illness will not spread it to the others! On the other hand, it wouldn't be bad if you had multiple teats for each bottle so you can decide which one fits the puppy's mouth best!
  • Heat the milk and see if it's warm like you would when feeding a human baby.
  • Take the pup (or the first pup if there are several) and gently wake them up.
  • Hold him tightly by his limbs and give him about 10 milligrams of milk, not like a human baby.
  • Make sure to stop feeding once the puppy has had enough. However, be sure to give the puppy the minimum amount of food it can eat.
  • If the puppy is making a lot of noise when being fed or is sniffling milk, take him to the vet as soon as possible! Such behavior is a sign that the milk has entered the lungs. Remember not to feed the puppy like a baby.
  • After feeding, use a cotton towel or damp washcloth to massage his genitals. Don't forget to check if the puppy has been urinating or defecating like a newborn.

Finally, remember to wash the bottles with hot water to kill any bacteria or germs. If you have more than one puppy in your care, be sure to tag them appropriately for easy identification.

Place the puppy back in the crate once he has fed enough to allow his temperature to be properly regulated.

Don't stop feeding the puppy even if he lacks energy.

Remember that there are two basic precautions:

  • Give the puppy food every 3-4 hours
  • Do not feed puppies excess milk that has lasted more than 12 hours

How does a newborn puppy develop??

In order to know your puppy's progress, it is important that you weigh him daily and record your readings. To be completely sure that the puppy is developing as it should, it should gain 10% more weight per day.

If your puppy isn't gaining weight, you need to feed him more food. The puppy should be fed every 3-4 hours, including at night, until it is 2-3 weeks old.

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If you're too busy to give your pup the care they need, get someone to help!

Once the puppy is 3 weeks old, you can start gradually adjusting their feeding times. From feeding between 4-5 hours for the first few days, you can slowly reduce the feeding time to every 5-6 hours. All this time he would also have to increase the feed dose, until now he feeds between 15 and 20 hours every day.

It is very important that you do not force the puppy when it has eaten enough and does not want any more food.

By the time your puppy is 3 weeks old you will notice big changes, by this point he will be more active, restless and much more developed than before!

So to feed 3 week old puppies we need to gradually reduce their milk intake by 5% while introducing wet food, soft food or food soaked in water or pasta for the first time.

If your pup starts eating bland foods, you can start by slowly reducing their milk intake and then weaning them off. At this time, it is fed with wet food and special food for puppies.

One of the most common problems when raising a puppy is that it lacks energy, doesn't move, and even has a drop in blood pressure. If you experience one of these cases, do not hesitate to give him sugar water in a syringe (no tip). Another option is to put a little honey in the snout since the puppy would suck it and little by little it will become more animated.

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Puppies that are bottle fed don't have natural defenses! This is because mother's breast milk contains some unique components that formula milk does not have. Therefore, it is recommended to take them off the street, away from other dogs, and also not to bathe them!

If you notice fleas, ticks, or other parasites on your pup, take him to the vet as soon as possible! He will know what to do in this case. Don't try to remove parasites yourself!

When your puppy turns 6-8 weeks old you will need to take him to the vet for the first vaccinations (according to gas,Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Parainfluenza, Leptospira) from that moment the puppy can also be marked with an identification chip with name, address and phone number, this is very important in case it gets lost!

Can Newborn Puppies Have Lactation Problems??

Once you've found a complete litter, be aware that not all dogs will survive. This can be our fault or because the puppy has a problem. These are the most common breastfeeding problems in puppies:

  • Gagging during lactation: This is usually because the puppy is in a bad position at the time of suckling. Beware of those that can be deadly. If you think this has happened, take the pup to the vet as soon as possible!
  • The puppy is weak and not forced - in this case, the first thing to do is find out if you are really feeding him the amount of food he needs. Make sure the puppy is getting the amount of food it needs, or more, at each feeding.
  • It has a bunny: although it may seem strange to you, it is actually a very common problem! This can be caused by incorrect temperature or insufficient power.

The vet will need to tell you what to do in your specific case.

If your pup has any unusual symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible! If he is weak, treat him as soon as possible, it will make a big difference if he lives or dies.

(Video) How to take care of newborn puppies


What can I feed a 3 week old puppy? ›

Puppy milk replacer should be the sole source of nutrition until 3-4 weeks of age at which time the weaning process may begin. The transition from formula to solid food is a gradual process, so be patient. Use a high-quality food formulated to support growth and reproduction.

What should my 3 week old puppy be doing? ›

At about two weeks of age, puppies should be alert and trying to stand on their own. At three weeks, they generally try to climb out of their box. At four weeks, all of the puppies should be able to walk, run, and play. "At four weeks, all of the puppies should be able to walk, run, and play."

What can I use to clean 3 week old puppies? ›

Use puppy wipes or a soft cloth to dry or damp wipe dirty areas. Be sure to use a different wipe or different area of the cloth when you clean your puppy's potty area. Use a clean dry towel or receiving blanket to dry the areas you just cleaned. Do not leave even damp areas to dry on their own just yet.

How often should 3 week old puppies eat solid food? ›

How often should my puppy eat? Puppies should eat three times a day from weaning through four to six months, if possible. After six months, twice-a-day feedings are fine. But if you're not able to feed your pup three times a day, don't worry.

Does a 3 week old puppy still need milk? ›

At about 3 weeks of age puppies can be encouraged to lap milk replacer from a shallow bowel, and once lapping feeding from a tube or bottle can be stopped. Slowly over the next few weeks solid food is added to the milk replacer and by six weeks of age the puppies should be fully weaned.

Do 3 week old puppies drink water? ›

Very young pups fulfill their hydration needs from their mother's milk. As they are being weaned and starting to eat solid food, they will need a fresh supply of water. Generally, young puppies need about one-half cup of water every two hours.

Can 3 week old puppies poop on their own? ›

After two weeks, puppies should urinate and defecate on their own.

How do you potty train a 3 week old puppy? ›

Take the puppy out to eliminate first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take them outside after meals or when they wake from a nap. Make sure they goe out last thing at night and before they are left alone. Take the puppy to the same spot each time to do their business.

How many minutes should 3 week old puppies nurse at a time? ›

Age 0-4 Weeks

Throughout the foster period, feed mom as much as she will eat – you cannot over feed a momma dog! Puppies: Puppies should nurse vigorously and compete for nipples. Newborns can nurse up to 45 minutes at a time.

How often can you bathe a 3 week old puppy? ›

You should bathe your puppy about no more than once a month unless necessary. Puppies and adult dogs have natural oils in their coat to prevent their fur from getting brittle or damaged and to keep it soft and silky. Bathing your dog too often can strip away those oils.

How often should three week old puppies poop? ›

It is not uncommon for a puppy to defecate 5-6 times per day. Some will eliminate even more frequently. The good news is that the pace of pooping will slow down as the dog matures. Although a 2-week-old puppy may defecate at every feeding, by 12 weeks, they may be down to only 4 times per day.

Can you use Dawn to clean a puppy? ›

"Dawn dish soap can be a safe choice to bathe your dog in rare circumstances, but it is not recommended as a regular shampoo." Your dog's skin can be sensitive to allergies, have different coat conditions, and even different pH levels than human skin, so this strong soap can be very irritating to their skin.

Can you overfeed a 3 week old puppy? ›

The important thing is to not overfeed newborn puppies or kittens! It is better to feed less and more often than to run the risk of diarrhea or sudden death. Feed until the tummy starts to distend.

Can 3 week old puppies go all night without eating? ›

Puppies, unlike older dogs, don't have fat reserves. Therefore, they can't go longer than 12 hours without food. This is particularly true for toy breeds that are prone to hypoglycemia (a drop in blood sugar), which can lead to serious complications. Puppies are also more susceptible to dehydration than older dogs.

What is the best homemade food for puppies? ›

Boneless chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, pork, or duck; deboned fish, especially salmon; and eggs which can be cooked with their crushed shells included for extra calcium. Organ meats are very healthy as well but typically should not make up more than 15% of the diet. Carrots, blueberries, peas, and more.

How often should 3 week old puppies nurse from mom? ›

Newborn puppies should nurse at least every 2 hours for the first week or two of life. After this, they can stretch the feeding times to 3-4 hours, as long as they are still gaining weight and doing well. Once the puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old, you can begin the weaning process by giving them access to puppy food.

How do I know if my 3 week old puppies are getting enough milk? ›

If the mother has some milk, feed 1/3 to 1/2 of the recommended daily amount, divided into one to three feedings. As long as the puppies are not crying and are gaining weight, they are getting enough to eat.

How long do puppies stay in whelping box? ›

They should be trying to climb out of their nest or whelping box by three weeks. By four weeks, the puppies should be able to walk, run, and play.

When can puppies have their first bath? ›

Bishop-Jenkins encourages her clients to start bathing their puppies as young as eight weeks old, as it establishes a life-long routine. But take it one step at a time. A puppy's first visit to the groomer often doesn't even consist of bathing. It simply serves to teach them that grooming isn't scary.

Do puppies need milk after 4 weeks? ›

The feeding requirements of a puppy vary depending on a number of factors including breed type, sex of your dog, age and their activity level. From birth to about 3-4 weeks of age, a mother's milk should satisfy a puppy's nutritional needs. From 4 weeks onwards a puppy will need solid food supplements.

What can you substitute for puppy milk? ›

Homemade milk replacer for puppies2 • 1/2 cup (120 ml) cow's or goat's milk • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water • 2 to 4 egg yolks • 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil • 1,000 mg calcium carbonate, if available. + Blend uniformly and warm to 95-100°F. ** Refrigerate between uses.

Can I put water in puppy food for 3 week old puppy? ›

At 3 to 5 weeks, depending on your dog's breed size, take good quality puppy kibble and soak it 2 parts water and 1 part kibble. Some kibble needs more water than others. The kibble will hold it's shape and soak up the water. You want to use as much water as you can and have the kibble pieces swell up and go very soft.

How do I introduce my 3 week old puppies to eat? ›

Between 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the breed, the puppies are eating soaked kibble. Be sure to introduce the solid food slowly. Give them only a few bites of soaked kibble or up to a teaspoon of gruel the first day and gradually increase the amount. Start slowly offering a little more each day.

How much Karo syrup for newborn puppies? ›

In an emergency, a formula of 1 cup cow's milk, 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon Karo syrup can be used temporarily. Puppies can ingest 20 cc (4 teaspoons) of formula per 16 oz of body weight per feeding. Pups can be fed with an appropriate sized bottle if they will suck effectively.

How much should 3 week old puppies eat? ›

Generally speaking, newborn kittens and puppies should consume 2 tablespoons of formula per 4 oz of body weight every 3 to 4 hours.

How much milk should a 3 week old puppy drink? ›

A newborn puppy should drink 15 mL of milk for every 2 oz of body weight and the starting point depends on the puppy's birth weight, it can be as little as 15 mL per day or as high as 120 mL per day.

At what age can puppies start pooping on their own? ›

Pooping Will Change With Age

After your puppy is born, they cannot form solid bowel movements until weaned off of his or her mother's milk at around four weeks.

How often do 3week old puppies poop? ›

It is not uncommon for a puppy to defecate 5-6 times per day. Some will eliminate even more frequently. The good news is that the pace of pooping will slow down as the dog matures. Although a 2-week-old puppy may defecate at every feeding, by 12 weeks, they may be down to only 4 times per day.

At what age can puppies toilet themselves? ›

For most, it will take between four to six months for your puppy to be fully reliable, but it will depend on their size, age and ability to learn. Some puppies can learn how to be toilet trained really quickly in only a few weeks, whereas for some dogs it may take longer and could be up to a year.

How do you introduce water to a 3 week old puppy? ›

Start by adding warm water to their dry food.

This will create a soup like consistency and give them a chance to slurp up the water as they eat, familiarising them with the idea of drinking liquid from a bowl. Use a shallow dish as a puppy water bowl.

Why is my 3 week old puppy crying constantly? ›

If you notice your puppy crying or whining frequently, be sure to take it to your veterinarian. Increased crying is a common symptom of most neonatal problems. If a puppy is crying, it may be overheated, becoming ill, experiencing pain, or not getting enough to eat.

What age can puppies eat dry food? ›

As puppies from the age of 3-4 weeks will be transitioning to soaked dry puppy foods, they are still very tiny at this point so make sure the food is accessible, without them having to climb over high rimmed bowls.


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