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Beagle Newborns & Weaning

newborn Beagle puppy
Baby Butters
Photo courtesy of owner: Linda
What Weaning Is

Weaning a Beagle puppy is the slow yet steady process of when a pup changes over from the dam's milk to solid food. 

This must done step-by-step or serious health conditions can quickly develop, including Hypoglycemia. Some studies also show a correlation between early or improper weaning and food allergies or intolerance. 

In regard to food changes, this will be the most dramatic one for a dog. By following some easy guidelines, you can safely transition a pup from milk to food without issues. 
When Weaning is Done

When newborns are at the beginning of the 4 week mark, the dam usually expresses a decreased interest in allowing pups to suckle. Milk production is slowing down and it is time for the pups to start gradually receiving nutritional independent of the dam. 

It is during this time that the owner must work to help the pup with the slow transition over to solid food. Even if the dam is interested in continuing to nurse a pup, by end of the 4th week weaning should be encouraged to teach the puppy to eat on his own, as the dam's milk will soon decrease and then dry out.
Early Weaning

In some cases, the dam will express disinterest in feeding her puppies while they are still very young. This can actually happen from day 1 after giving birth or it may happen early, any time from birth forward. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including blocked milk ducts. For this reason, the dam should be brought for a full and complete medical checkup to determine if there is a health issue that is causing the decrease or stoppage of nursing.
In other cases, the dam will have no health issues and for unknown reasons will not want to allow the pups to suckle. In any case, it then the responsibility of the owner to make sure that puppies are eating.

It is a false and dangerous rumor that human milk or goat milk should be given. Puppies should be given high quality milk replacer. Note: When feeding a newborn Beagle, it is very important to not use a syringe to "shoot" the replacer into the mouth of the Beagle puppy. A pup can drown from this. Use a dropper.

You would continue to offer a liquid diet up until that 4 week mark where you would then slowly introduce solids.
newborn Beagle puppy with eyes closed
Newborn Beagle baby
Photo courtesy of owner: Julie Allen, Louisiana
Overview of How to Wean a Beagle Puppy

Weaning a Beagle involves a smooth transition from mother's milk to puppy food. If not, allergies can become a big issue for the owners of the dog; as they must be extremely vigilant in regards to what the dog eats, most likely for the rest of his life. In addition, Hypoglycemia (a fast dangerous drop in blood sugar), dehydration and other health issues can occur.

Weaning a Beagle puppy should begin with a base of the same food that the dam has been eating along with a quality canine milk replacer. To start with, you will want more liquid than solid. Mix this in a blender, slowly adding the liquid until it has the consistency of a thick soup. 
During this age of 4 weeks old, the pups will be spending more time away from the dam to play with each other while she gets a break from the ruckus. It is during one of these play events, once an appetite has been worked up and they are not close to the dam to attempt to nurse, that the mixture should be offered.

You'll want to have this in a very shallow dish that they can easily reach into. Offer this once on the first day. Having no experience with solid food, a puppy that is just being weaned may only lap at it and sniff it to investigate it and that is fine. Then going forward, you can serve it 3 to 4 times per day.

While you are paying attention to feeding the puppies, this will give the dam a good opportunity to have more time to herself. She will be very exhausted and in need of some alone time; much like a human mother who just needs to get away for a few moments to regroup. This step is also important for the weaning Beagle puppies to get used to having the dam away for periods of time and be more accustomed to your presence. During this time, handling them and speaking to them is part of the socialization that they need to prepare to be independent.
Every 4 to 5 days, add a bit less liquid as before. As time goes by, the mixture will become more solid and the pups will be nursing less. By week 7, a puppy should be fully weaned. In some cases, there will be a late bloomer that struggles with solid foods and a slow, more gradual weaning process will need to be followed. This can bring the pup to be at the 8 or 9 week mark until he is on solid food; and this is okay as long as he is not transitioned to a new home until he is comfortable with normal meals.

You do not need to be fanatical regarding amounts. If the puppy seems satisfied and is gaining weight, you are giving him enough. If there is a stall in weight gain or a loss, this is something that should be reported to the veterinarian right away.

Tip: All puppies should be weighed every day, from day 1 until 2 months old. There should be a weight gain, every single day from birth to 1 to 4 weeks old and increases at least every other day from the 4 week mark to the 8 week mark.  
8 week old Beagle puppy named Pepper
Pepper, 6 months old
Photo couresty of owner: Heather
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