My litter of miniature and toy Australian Shepherds are in the process of being weaned. At about 3-4 weeks old, I started offering small breed puppy food to the puppies. Initially, I mixed the kibble with hot water and K9 Puppy Gold powder available online. I’ve found that the PG gives the food a smell that is irresistible to the babies and makes the transition much easier with no stomach upset.
After a few days of “soup”, I slowly decrease the water, continuing with the addition of PG. By 4-5 weeks old, my litter is eating heartily and my dam is visiting them less often. With five chunky monkey puppies, that’s a good thing. She’s done her job well and deserves to gradually move to the sidelines.
There are many excellent puppy foods on the market, but I have chosen to use Diamond Puppy Food for Small Breeds and Wellness Puppy Food for Small Breeds. I initially start with the Diamond because it is grain free and the kibble is tiny so there’s no danger of choking. About five weeks when the pups have their teeth, I start adding the Wellness to the mix. The Wellness kibble is still small but larger than the Diamond.
You may be asking why I use two foods instead of only one. I have a couple of reasons, first it gives the new owners a choice of two different foods in case one of them is not available in their area. The biggest cause of sick puppies at a new home is a change in food. Secondly, I think slow change up on dog food occasionally with different protein sources helps the gut flora of an adult dog to be adaptable, much like they would be if they were scavengers.
I’m very picky about dog food and have a link from my vet on my website about choosing a food for your dog. However, I am not brand loyal as long as the food is rated at least 4* on dogfoodanalysis.com and does not contain corn and wheat, high causes of allergies in our pets. I do buy smaller bags of food for my adult dogs and rotate among brands like Timberwolf, Wellness, Merrick, Orijen, California Natural etc. It has worked well for me and my dogs do not typically have issues with stomach upset.