How to Introduce a Puppy to Its First Food

Introduce puppies gradually to solid food.
i cat's food image by Ekaterina Shvaygert from

Weaning from mother’s milk to solid food is an essential step in the development of every puppy. Eating solid food indicates that the puppy is developing normally and will soon be ready to move onto his new home. Introduce new food slowly to avoid digestive upset.

Step 1

Introduce your puppy to solid food when he is 3 to 4 weeks old. Puppies become mobile at this age and will begin to explore their environment. Puppies will often sample from their mother’s bowl, a sign that they are ready to try solid food.

Step 2

Pour two cups of high-quality puppy food in a shallow feeding dish. Add one cup of hot water to the kibble, and let the mixture soak for 15 minutes. This will soften the food enough that it will not hurt the puppies’ tender mouths.

Step 3

Line the feeding area with disposable housebreaking pads, and place the dish of softened food on the pads. Call the puppies to the dish, and allow them to sniff and explore the food. Some puppies will slowly sample the food, while others will dive straight into the dish.

Step 4

Let the puppies eat their fill, and pick the dish up when they are finished. Wipe each puppy clean with a wet rag, and pick up the soiled housebreaking pads.

Step 5

Feed this mixture to the litter three times a day for the first week. Reduce the amount of water by 1/4-cup a week until the puppies are eagerly eating dry kibble. Adjust the amount of kibble fed according to the size of the litter.

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