Gruel for puppies is the first solid food that young dogs will taste. This concoction is basically an easy to eat soft mush that's made from dry dog food and water and is fed as a supplement to the mother's milk. Gradually, gruel for puppies is fed in larger and more frequent solid meals until the dogs are weaned from their mother and no longer need to nurse.
The weaning process typically begins around 3 to 4 weeks of age, though nursing puppies should remain with their mother until about 8 to 10 weeks of age, which is when they'll be fully weaned. Puppies will nurse less and less during weeks four through seven, and it's at this stage that young dogs can have supplemental mush in their diets.
Choose high-quality chow
Much the way babies smear pureed peas all over their face, the first few times that puppies eat solid food results in the same kind of mess. Indeed, most pups will end up wearing more than they eat, so you only need enough gruel for puppies to give them a small taste.
It's best to wean a puppy using the same dry food their mother has been eating, which should be a high-quality puppy chow that will ensure balanced nutrition. Don't be tempted to feed adult food to a puppy, as it won't contain the important nutrients that specially formulated puppy kibble offers.
Making gruel for puppies
To make your own mush at home, put a cup or two of dry dog food into a mixing bowl or pan. Note that the amount is determined by the number of puppies you're feeding and their size. You can also ask your dog's vet about how much and how often to feed your pet, but in general, puppies require four feedings a day when they're between 6 and 12 weeks of age.
Add water to cover the dry food and then use a large spoon to combine the mush well. Cover the bowl and allow it to stand long enough to soften, usually about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the amount of food.
After the gruel for puppies has softened, stir and mash the mush until it is the consistency of a thin porridge, adding a little more water as needed. When your puppy matures and learns to eat more successfully, you can gradually thicken the mush, but keeping it thin at first is wise. You can also add canned dog or puppy food at this point, but for the first meals, keep the amount very small or the mush will be too thick.
Encourage interest in mush
Do you have a pup who's a bit skeptical of the meal you've made? You can guide your pet to his food dish and then gently place his nose into the bowl to introduce him to the food and coax him to try it. You might also warm up your puppy's bowl of mush to make it more desirable. Start with three small meals of puppy mush a day and increase to four. The consistency of the mush should get more and more solid until your pet can eat plain dry food.
Remove mush after mealtime
Puppies are playful by nature, so to stave off a potential mess, be sure to take away whatever mush is left over after your puppy has eaten and then clean up the area. If gruel for puppies sits too long, it could spoil. Be patient as your puppy learns to eat solid food. All dogs go through the same developmental stages, but some litters or individual pups move a little faster (or slower) than others.