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How to Wean Puppies and Kittens

Normally, kittens and puppies should begin weaning at around four weeks old and be fully weaned by seven to eight weeks of age. This is around the time the mother begins pushing them away when they try to feed. If you’ve been bottle feeding the newborns, it’s okay to begin this process around five weeks of age.

Start the weaning process by separating the newborns from the mother during feeding time (usually three to four times per day). For both puppies and kittens, you’ll want to transition them to eating from a shallow plate or bowl. Both species need to start out with a soft meal before fully transitioning to eating dry food. KMR 2nd Step and Esbilac 2nd step are designed to assist in this transition while providing next-generation nutrition to get puppies and kittens off to a healthy start.

KMR 2nd Step™ Kitten Weaning Food is a creamy, digestible cereal that provides a complete diet to transition nursing kittens to eating solid food. Kittens that are up on their feet and lapping KMR from a bowl are ready to be introduced to KMR 2nd Step.

Esbilac 2nd Step Puppy Weaning Food is a creamy, digestible cereal that provides a complete diet to transition nursing puppies to eating solid food. Puppies that are up on their feet and lapping Esbilac from a bowl are ready to be introduced to Esbilac 2nd Step.

The weaning process may not be a smooth one, but don’t panic. There are some things you can do to help the process along.

  • Allow the puppies or kittens to lick the food mixture from your finger, then guide them toward the bowl where they will smell the food and begin to understand the bowl as a source of food. 
  • If the newborns are rejecting the food mush, you can take a step back and offer them milk replacer in a bowl. The first step is to get them used to eating from the bowl. Once they are used to eating from the bowl, you can try to re-introduce the food mush.

You’ll also want to be sure to avoid these potential hazards to the litter:

  • Do not force the puppy or kitten’s face into the bowl. This may cause them to inhale the food and choke or develop pneumonia. 
  • Control portions if you’re weaning a litter of puppies who will grow into large dogs. The puppies could suffer from bone or joint problems later in life if they eat too much during this period of growth. Consult your local vet for advice on the proper amount to feed your specific breed. 
  • Any uneaten portion of KMR 2nd step or Esbilac 2nd step should be removed after no more than twenty minutes.

Keep track of the litter’s progress by weighing them regularly, at least once per week. If you’re concerned about the health of your puppies or kittens, or want to understand if the litter is progressing normally, contact your local vet.

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