Puppy mush is the first semi-solid food that nursing puppies will enjoy. At first, it is more of a puppy gruel that is very soft and milky. Week after week, the puppy mush will have less water content and become more and more solid.
Dog breeders have to monitor closely the food intake of the puppies from their mother and decide when it is the right time to gradually wean them off. A mother dog will, at some point after a month, decide that enough nursing happened and the puppies should be able to eat solid dog food. She will offer less milk for various reasons (weak lactation, puppies have teeth that cause her pain, etc). This is the perfect time to introduce the puppies to mush and gruel, generally around the third and fourth week of their age.
It’s not rocket science, really. Mix water, milk formula, and dry kibble. Let it cool and give it to the puppies making sure it is very mushy. If you prefer natural feeding, you can prepare a beef or chicken mush by grinding the meat finely. As time goes, ground the meat more coarsely.
What Is Puppy Mush
At around three to four weeks old, puppies begin weaning from their mother’s milk and begin a diet consisting of puppy mush, or puppy gruel. This process of transition lasts 7 to 8 weeks. Puppy mush is a soft alternative to hard food that allows puppies to begin the process of eating without aid or depending on their mother’s milk. It is made primarily of dry dog food mixed with puppy formula (milk) and water to establish a consistency that is easily chewed and digestible. The use of puppy mush for weaning is gradually introduced into the puppy’s diet and increases in consistency by every week until dry food becomes its main source of nutrition.[pullquote-right]Puppy gruel is a much softer and moister version of puppy mush.[/pullquote-right]
Puppy gruel recipes are aimed to facilitate an easier weaning transition from plain liquids to very soft foods. These meals should take care of the puppy’s basic nutritional needs, and include a variety of vitamins and minerals. Puppy gruel is a softer version of puppy mush. Gruel contains more wet ingredients such as water or puppy formula replacement. After its first week on gruel, the amount of liquid is decreased so that a thicker version, mush, is formed. These meals should contain a variety of quality proteins, healthy fats, as well as complex carbohydrates to establish a complete source of nourishment for the growth and well-being of each puppy.
How Often To Feed Puppies Mush
A younger puppy when first starting the transition should be fed 3 to 4 time a day if they are eating adequately at every meal. If they are not, then give them a little bit of mush several times a day more regularly. Each week you should decrease the amount of wet ingredients, water or milk, so that the consistency gets thicker. This will prepare them for a dry food diet when they have completed the weaning process. As they get older, you can decrease the amount of feeds to three times, then finally two times a day.
Determining how often you should feed gruel for puppies depends on the age, as well as how far they are developing and growing. You want to make sure you don’t overfeed nor underfeed a puppy. Weigh them every week to make sure they are gaining weight because if they are not they are not being fed enough. In this case, increase the amount. Often times, puppy food will already come with the information on how many servings to give a puppy but we can stick to a consistent rule that most breeders tend to follow with success. Creating your own puppy mush formula with all the necessary ingredients creates a healthy foundation for your puppy’s diet. Aside from this, knowing when to feed or not to feed is also a crucial element and could actually make or break a successful transition.
How to Train a Puppy to Eat Puppy Gruel
Training a puppy to eat mush requires a lot of patience. Using puppy mush for weaning the puppy involves the separation of mother and pup first. This process begins with the introduction of solids more and more until the puppy no longer needs to nurse, or when the mother begins to run out of milk supply and begins to thin. Preparing to train a puppy to eat begins with the understanding that this is going to be quite a messy ordeal. So always have cleaning supplies handy and remain patient.
The best way to monitor the progress is by weighing the puppies on a weekly basis to ensure that they are, indeed, gaining weight. Furthermore, you may at this time separate the more aggressive puppies and give them their own bowls because this can cause some conflict for food and cause some puppies to eat less than they should.
Prepare your mix with the puppy mush formula and hard food until it is very soft and begin by scooping some up with your fingers and place it in his mouth. It is normal at this stage for the puppy to become quite agitated and begin to wrestle you. Just be patient and continue introducing the food to his mouth. This will take quite a few tries, each time he will start to eat a little bit more than before. If you are consistent with this, 3 to 4 times a day, the puppy will begin to recognize his new food and eat it regularly.
Training a puppy to eat puppy gruel is quite an experience and depends entirely on how well the breeder responds to any given situation. The dog owner must be attentive at all times and keep track of the amount of food is given and when to increase the consistency and amount.
What Superfoods Can I Add to Puppy Mush
In addition, you can also serve some broccoli and dog-friendly seeds which will add a whole new level of nutrition to your dog’s diet. Dog breeders may be put off by the idea of feeing their puppies some offal, however, these types of meat organs have been known to add substantial benefits to their health and are considered a top super food. When adding wet ingredients such as water to the dry food, it’s recommended to use a good quality puppy formula instead, or goat’s milk.
Goat’s milk contains more nutrients than cow’s milk and the latter can even have adverse effects on the puppy, such as diarrhea. Also, the milk will serve as their water for when they are thirsty as well. Puppies need 25 to 35 grams of protein to grow.
The transition from mother’s milk to puppy gruel is not only designed to allow a puppy to eat on his own, but to properly provide essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to grow. The food you give a puppy needs to be aligned with his physical needs and be proportionate to his age, breed, and health condition. Fortunately, there are quite a few ingredients available for puppies today that will help expedite their growth and keep them flourishing. When buying the dry dog food to mix in with the wet ingredients, opt for grain-free and corn-free dog foods to avoid abdominal issues in the puppy. Also, try to avoid cheap food because as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
How to Make Puppy Mush
Puppy mush recipes for puppies, as well as puppy gruel recipes, are done in several ways depending on the breeder’s personal choice. What’s important is that you have the right ingredients and the right consistency. A nursing puppy who is used to drinking nursing milk is used to consuming liquids as complete meals.
Now that the puppy is going through a transition, he must become accustomed to the act of eating on his own and eventually relying on dry food. Puppy mush recipes should include a form of dry kibble, water, and a high-quality formula for mixing. Many breeders prefer to use a blender to mix their ingredients, however, there are other ways to obtain the same results without losing its function and palatability.
Homemade Puppy Gruel Recipe
Gruel recipes for puppies begin with the right ingredients. This is something you can easily make at home provided you have the right essentials. You want to first make sure that you have a quality brand of dry food that’s going to be used as the base of the ingredient. Next, you will need a good milk replacement formula and some water. Not all breeders use water as some may feel that the milk should be enough. This is based on personal preference. If you want to feed your puppies a raw dog diet, start with mushy ground beef for example.
Ideally, you want the puppy gruel recipe to be boiled and blended well. Additionally, you will need a bowl that will be easy for the puppies to stick their heads in and eat as they are small. A small, flattened bowl will work, or you can use pizza pans which are shallow and wide. Have some paper towels ready at your disposable because this can get quite messy.
To make the puppy mush recipe at home, you will need a blender. This recipe can feed up to 6 to 8 puppies:
- Place two cups of dry food of a very high quality
- Place some minced boiled meat
- Add in 12.5 oz of puppy milk formula
- Fill the rest with warm water
- Blend well
Not all breeders use blenders and that is ok. You can also make a homemade puppy gruel recipe just by manually mixing up some ingredients. What’s important is using a good quality of dry food for optimizing the puppy’s health. The consistency needs to be soft enough for a baby, similar to baby cereal, and it should increase every week. In this case, you can just add the wet ingredients to the dry food in a bowl and mash it down to the desired consistency.
Easy Puppy Mush Recipe
There are other methods available for creating a puppy mush recipe without having to depend on the fancy ingredients. If you do not have a blender, for example, mixing it by hand is the easiest form. It’s also possible to simply use some regular dry food instead of a higher quality. However, it is always recommended to use a higher-grade brand for its quality because that means the puppy will be given a higher protein count as opposed to regular commercial brands. In the case you cannot find a high-quality kibble, just buy some regular commercial puppy kibble and use it as the base for your recipe. For an easier mix, you may use just warm water to mix the ingredients as it tends to be easier on their tummies than milk replacer.
- In a shallow bowl place 2 cups of dry kibble food of choice
- Pour warm water over the dry kibble until it is completely covered
- With a potato masher, smash the kibble and water until soft oatmeal-like consistency forms.
- Place the bowls in their feeding spots and let the puppies have their fill. You will have to interject at times, so remain patient.
Allow the puppies to eat at their rate. This process can take up to a half hour or more depending on how fast they are progressing and how much you need to intervene. If they are not interested in the puppy mush, you can add a little bit of canned food as the smell may attract them more.
Preparing your puppy gruel recipe includes preparing for messy eaters. Have your paper towels ready and an effective bowl for eating. As mentioned, many breeders tend to use pie or pizza pans because of its shallowness and size. Again, this will depend on the puppies themselves and in the event you have some bullies in the litter, separate them and give them their own bowl. Depending on their age, you will have to tweak the consistency of the gruel regularly so that each week it is thicker.
How Long to Keep Puppy Mush
Mush for puppies needs to be watched for freshness and not used twice. You make one serving and then throw the remains away so that it is not exposed to air too long and lose its quality and flavor. The issue concerning store-bought, dry food is the lack of moisture contained within it. These foods tend to be made with the goal of conservation in mind so that they stay fresh for longer periods of time. In doing this, the flavor and appeal are lost, therefore the moisture is at a minimum. In order for puppy mush to go off there needs to be a substantiate amount of moisture and humidity.
Once water is added to the dry dog food, the mush may start to go off. It then is no longer safely edible. Of course, this all depends on the ingredients used as well, that’s why always check labels and be cautious of what you add to the mix. Knowing how to make puppy mush recipes and how or when to serve a puppy is not sufficient. A breeder must also be knowledgeable about how the foods are mixed and how long they last before they are no longer edible, or when they lose their potency.