Got Milk? You Shouldn't!

Paper Trained
by
Scott Sandeman, D.V.M.
 
Q.)  We are feeding our 7 week old toy poodle a mixture of rice cereal, skim milk and puppy food.  Our breeder started her on this but it’s really a mess-can we switch her to puppy food soon?
A.)  Adding infant foods or milk to a puppy’s diet is a common practice among breeders as they attempt to ease the transition from  mother’s milk to solid puppy food.  While this is done with the best of intentions, supplemented cereal is not especially nutritious and cow’s milk contains lactose regardless of whether its whole milk or skim. Lactose or milk sugar is difficult for puppies and kittens to digest and can contribute to diarrhea.
Puppies would be better served by weaning them from their mother with a gruel made of a good quality puppy food mixed with warm or tepid water- a process that can start at 3 or 4 weeks of age.  The only alteration of this diet should be to gradually reduce the liquid so that by the time they are adopted, the diet is strictly dry puppy food.  Conscientious breeders will also send home a few days or weeks of rations of this diet to minimize any potential stress from a diet change in their new home.   Since your puppy is already on a diet that includes puppy food, you can immediately stop the supplements completely and add water to the food for a few days to ease the switch to puppy food only.
Feeding times, types of food and amounts should be a discussion with your veterinarian –an exam and consultation that should take place in the first couple of days of adoption to discuss this very important subject!

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