Early weaning of the puppy what are the risks

Early weaning of the puppy what are the risks

Weaning is a crucial stage in the life of a puppy. It is the period during which he will go from an exclusive diet of his mother’s milk to a more solid diet. It is also the period during which he will detach himself emotionally from his mother, to become autonomous and prepare himself for adult life.

Normally, at a certain age, this separation is done naturally and without much difficulty when the puppy feels ready. On the other hand, if it happens too early, or even worse, if it is forced, it can cause great suffering to the little animal, and have serious and often irreparable repercussions on its adult life.

Discover the risks of early weaning of the puppy.

1- Early weaning of the puppy : the ideal age for weaning

Without outside intervention and if things follow their normal course, weaning should start at 4 weeks. It is the mother who will initiate it, because the puppies are teething, she will be bothered by small bites and will start to push her puppies away. It is at this moment that we will start to integrate solid food, preferably growth food, in order to compensate for the absence of milk, but also, to provide them with all the nutrients they need to grow well.

Weaning is also a period of education. It is during this symbolic separation that the mother will teach her babies the basics of their behavior in society. That’s why, in order to guarantee the good physical and psychic development of the puppies, it must be done naturally, but also gradually. If they should be able to eat kibble and pate at the end of the seventh week, the emotional weaning can last several months. And this is quite normal.

2- Early weaning of the puppy : what are the risks ?

As you can see, it is more than beneficial for puppies to wean themselves naturally. The mother’s milk should not be removed overnight, and the separation from the mother should not be too abrupt. If the process is forced, but not done in the natural rhythm of things, it can have repercussions both on the physical condition of the puppy, and therefore its health, but also on its future behavior.

3- Early weaning of the puppy : the consequences on his health

When a puppy is weaned too early, it is very likely that he will reject solid food. It’s only at three or four weeks of age that he develops the necessary curiosity to try other foods. Before that, all he will be interested in and all he needs is his mother’s milk.

In other words, weaning too early can be very disruptive. There’s a good chance he’ll refuse to eat solid food. And he may suffer from malnutrition and dehydration. For other puppies who will accept food because of hunger, replacing the mother’s milk with an exclusive solid food diet can have serious consequences on their still fragile digestive system.

4- Behavioral consequences

A dog that is weaned too early is bound to develop behavioral problems. There are two reasons for this: the psychological distress caused by the brutal separation from the mother, and the lack of education.

The emotional detachment must be done naturally and gently. When a small puppy, whose slightest stimulus can cause great distress, is forced to separate from its mother, it will lose its only source of comfort. Unfortunately, no human presence can replace or compensate for this need. Consequences: in adulthood, he will suffer from emotional dependence, he will become very possessive, and he will try to attract attention by all means by multiplying the silly things or by barking excessively in this case.

As said before, the weaning period is also a period of education. It is during this time that the mother will teach her puppies to become familiar with her environment, but especially with others. Biting, motor control and self-control are therefore acquired during this period. This is why we often see in dogs weaned too early a very high aggressiveness, the inability to control themselves and even less to understand the rules, the absence of any notion of obedience and a very high propensity to rebel.


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