Between 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the breed, the puppies are eating soaked kibble. Be sure to introduce the solid food slowly. Give them only a few bites of soaked kibble or up to a teaspoon of gruel the first day and gradually increase the amount. Start slowly offering a little more each day. Do not just give them a bowl full the first day. You have to get their tummies adjusted to the new type of food. Before you introduce food make sure you have wormed the pups the week before so that you do not do both at the same time or you could irritate the stomach and cause diarrhea and irritable bowel.
It is advisable not to start pups on solids too young. There is no formula as to when to start, as the health of the dam and pups and the breed plays a role, but it is best not to start too early. You need to take into account the breed (smaller dogs wean later), the health of the dam, the size of the litter and if the dam's body is holding its own or being dragged down and if the dam has enough milk. Often if you do not start solids by the time the dam feels it is time she will take matters in her own hands and regurgitate food for the pups. This is your cue to start feeding them.
Some recommend adding a little bit of low-fat plain yogurt and a little bit of low-fat cottage cheese for puppies over the age of 6 months and to the dam's diet. If the puppies have worms or are introduced to solid food too quickly it can sometimes bring on diarrhea. Canned pumpkin is known to help treat diarrhea and is often given to lactating dams. Be sure to properly worm your dam and pups. Always ask your vet's advice.
Larger breeds can start food at 3.5 to 4 weeks, but the toy breeds generally do not need solids till 4.5 to 5 weeks (but again, this depends on litter size, and the quality of care the dam is giving the puppies).
They are becoming quite active, and should spend lots of time with the dam. You will notice group playing.
It is good to put them on their backs, in a submissive position, daily. Each pup needs individual attention.... Weekly nail trimming and weighing should continue.
Assorted noises, like TV, radio, child’s play, etc. should be part of daily routine.
Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese
Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.