How to Take Care of a 3-Week-Old Puppy

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When puppies are 2 weeks of age or younger, they need to be feeding off their mother every three to four hours.
Image Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

Congratulations! Your dog is either pregnant or about to become a mother to a litter of adorable puppies. Now is the time to read up on 3-week-old puppy development before you hit that critical stage in your newborn puppies' lives.


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If you're wondering about things like feeding the puppies, weaning the puppies at 3 weeks, socializing them, and wondering what the appropriate puppy bath age is, all you need to do is conduct some research.

Weaning puppies at 3 weeks

When puppies are 2 weeks of age or younger, they need to be feeding off their mother every three to four hours. If they cannot latch onto the nipple, it's possible that you'll need to bottle-feed them to ensure they get those vital nutrients. As puppies reach 2 to 4 weeks of age, they can feed every six to eight hours. During this period, you can begin weaning your puppies at 3 weeks of age or so.


To successfully wean the pups, take dry food and mix it with a milk replacer as well as water so they can eat it without any trouble. Make sure the food is fortified for puppies, so that it contains the ingredients they need for their fast-growing bodies. Over the next few weeks, you can make the food less moist, as the puppies will begin to be able to chew it.


What’s the puppy bath age?

At 3 weeks of age, your puppies are likely smelly. However, you shouldn't immerse them in a bath until they are of the appropriate puppy bath age, which is at least 8 weeks of age. This is because your puppies cannot regulate their body temperatures before then, so it could be dangerous.


If your puppies are pooping on themselves or getting one another messy, simply take a damp cloth and wipe them down. That's safe to do at 3 weeks old. Make sure your puppies are not too cold by putting a heat lamp in the den where they are staying with their mother. After you wipe them off, they may need that heat so they don't start shivering.


Development at 3 weeks

When it comes to 3-week-old puppy development, you're going to see that your puppies are gaining strength. They may start wobbling around, stand, and sit without falling over. It is also when they start teething, which is why they can dive into that solid food mixed with milk replacer and water.



The puppies should also begin socializing with each other at this time. Keep them away from other dogs until they receive their vaccinations at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Also, supervise any visits with children, and make sure you and your children are gently cuddling the pups at all times. If the mother gets protective and growls, give her back the puppy, and wait a little longer until you begin interacting with them on a frequent basis.


Also, take your puppy to the veterinarian if you see any sickness like diarrhea or vomiting occurring. With lots of love and care, your 3-week-old puppy will continue to develop normally and live a happy and healthy life for many years to come.

Some helpful products to care for your pup

As your puppy gets older, he's going to go from breastfeeding to eating regular dog food. In between those stages, you can mix dry kibble with water until it's soft and then feed it to your dog. Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food has nearly 10,000 ratings and an average of five stars on Amazon. It's made with real chicken and contains DHA for omega-rich fish oil. The antioxidant-rich formula is going to support your puppy's developing immune system as well.

Since you'll need to make sure your puppies are warm at all times, it's a good idea to invest in a heater if you don't have one in the room where your puppies and the mother are staying. AmazonBasics offers the 1500W Oscillating Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat, which has over 1,800 ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. For safety, it has a tip-over switch with auto-shutoff as well as overheat protection with auto-shutoff. Remember not to put it too close to your puppies or the mother just in case they try to play with it.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.



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