Giving Your Puppy Water For The First Time: A Step-By-Step Guide

Dogs should gradually switch from their mother’s milk to solid food. How old do puppies have to be to drink water? 

Giving Your Puppy Water For The First Time: A Step-By-Step Guide 1

How old should a puppy be when they start drinking water?

A very young puppy should not drink water – it should have its mother’s milk only. However, you should introduce it to water and other foods after three or four weeks of age. Introducing it to water early is a bad idea and may even harm the dog. 

I have taken care of a litter of puppies before, and you have to do everything gradually. Puppies grow up fast, but they do everything one step at a time. Don’t worry if your dog won’t try water the first time you offer it. 

Wean a Puppy Slowly and Gradually

It should have a mix of its mother’s milk, water, and other foods for some time. Wean the puppy off of its mother’s milk gradually, using dog food moistened with water. 

Eventually, solid food and water should replace milk completely.

Keep Your Puppy Close to the Mother for the First Three Weeks

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Raising a puppy with its mother is much easier than raising a puppy yourself with milk formula. The mother will usually do a good job raising her pups.

The puppy should not normally be taken away from its mother during this time. 

However, a puppy must learn to be away from its mother after a while. It will start doing this after only three weeks. 

The dog will leave its mother and explore the surrounding area for a short time. 

Three weeks is around when you should start giving your dog water. Try giving your pet a bit of water and moistened dog food near its sleeping area so it can try it when it leaves its mom. 

Let Your Puppy Learn to Explore the World

Your puppies don’t need to be any more than three or four weeks old to start exploring the world. Let the puppy move around on its own if it can. 

Puppies start standing and walking at 2, 3, or 4 weeks old, though even at 4 weeks they are still unsteady. 

Young puppies are very sensitive to cold, so make sure your puppy is somewhere warm. A room with cold drafts is not a suitable location. 

Your Dog Will Grow Up Gradually

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A puppy may eat wet dog food or dry dog food softened with milk formula the first time you offer it. The dog might be less willing to try water, so gently nudge your dog toward the water. 

Dogs have to learn to stand before they can walk and walk before they can run. A dog won’t necessarily try water right away, and there is nothing wrong if it doesn’t. 

Puppies grow up quickly. It will learn to stand, walk, run and obey you before you know it. Don’t try to rush the process.

A Puppy Can’t Have Anything But Its Mother’s Milk at First

Very young puppies are too delicate to have anything other than their mother’s milk or high-quality canine milk formula. 

This is because their digestion is so sensitive that not even water is ok. 

The mother’s milk is the perfect food and drink for a puppy. It has the right nutrients, plus antibodies that protect the puppy from getting sick. 

New puppies are very vulnerable to diseases and need the mother’s antibodies to protect them until their immune systems develop. 

Switching to Water is Important

Your puppy can’t stay a puppy forever. It needs to eat and drink on its own, not rely on the mother to provide it with nutrition and hydration.

Sooner or later, the dog will stop nursing. When this happens, your dog should already be used to having food and water on its own. 

The transition from the mother’s milk to an older puppy’s diet should be smooth and painless. 

Hydration is just as important for dogs as for humans and other animals. Water is necessary to create new cells, keep the body temperature stable, digest food, and much more. 

What If You Wean Your Dog Too Early?

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Weaning your dog too early can make it fail to grow up rather than grow up faster. The dog may become a slow learner that retains many puppy-like behaviors into adult life.

A dog that is weaned early may act aggressively, destroy objects, or bite people. 

A dog can be hurt by a “bad childhood,” including being weaned too early. A dog may get very scared when its owner leaves or be excessively playful as an adult. The dog may be harder to toilet-train and disobedient. 

Early weaning can also lead to poor physical health, including a weaker immune system. The puppy may lose weight shortly after the early weaning. 

These Problems Are Not Always Permanent

Sometimes, you can help a dog mostly or fully get over these problems. A trainer might teach a dog that was weaned too early to behave properly. 

However, early weaning does cause harm, and the harm isn’t always temporary. 

How to Introduce Food and Water After a Few Weeks

The gentlest way to introduce puppies to water and food is to put a shallow dish of food and water outside their sleeping area when the puppies are a few weeks old. 

The puppies will sometimes leave their sleeping area to explore even though they walk unsteadily. They will find the water and try it when they are ready. 

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t give your dog water before it’s ready. A very young puppy should have nothing other than its mother’s milk – not even water! Giving your dog food or water too early can impair its development. 
  • Dogs are ready for water after three weeks. They should also start eating a mix of dry dog food and water at that age, or moist dog food. They should gradually switch from their mother’s milk to other foods. 
  • Your puppy can also start being away from its mother and start exploring the world at around three weeks. It should only be away from its mother for a short time and should be in a warm area. This is a slow process – the puppy won’t even be able to walk well at three or four weeks.

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