A situation where a mother dog stops feeding puppies at 3 weeks can be very worrying. Should you encounter such a situation, you will want to know the possible reason(s) behind it, and what can be done about it. This article has the answers.
If a mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, it may be because of an illness (such as mastitis). It may also be due to milk production challenges or lack of proper maternal instincts. And it could also be because the mother dog is rejecting the puppies – due to birth defects or other issues.
Whatever the reason for it, a situation where mother dog won’t feed 3 week old puppies can be very perplexing.
It will leave you with difficult questions, like on what to feed puppies at 3 weeks<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, how to make a dog feed her puppies and so on.
But the key concern here will be, why has my dog stopped feeding her puppies and what can be done about it?
The whole situation may be a case of the dog mom not feeding puppies adequately. Or it may be a situation of a mother dog not feeding her puppies at all.
Puppies at 3 weeks tend to be still very delicate. Thus how to handle puppies 3 weeks old (now that their mother won’t feed them) will be a huge challenge.
It would have been more worrisome if the mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 2 weeks. But now that we are dealing with three week old puppies, the outcomes may be better.
Is It Normal For Mother Dog To Stop Feeding Puppies At 3 Weeks?
Upon realizing that mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, you may first of all want to know whether that is normal.
So the key question would be, is it normal for mother dog to stop feeding three week old puppies? Or, to put it differently, is it ok for the mother to quit nursing her puppies at 3 weeks?
So what is the true position? If a dog won’t nurse her puppies at 3 weeks, is that normal? The answer is that it is not normal for mother dog to stop feeding her puppies at 3 weeks.
But it does happen. So it is normal, but it is something that happens at times.
For puppies three weeks old is too young to be completely weaned. But most dogs start the process of weaning puppies at three weeks old. They, however, still nurse them partially, until about 8 weeks, when they usually wean them fully.
Thus a case of a mother dog not feeding 3 week old puppies completely is not normal.
In fact, even in a case where my dog doesn’t want to feed her 4 week old puppies, that would still come across as being somewhat abnormal.
If you research on when do puppies stop feeding from mother completely, you will find that that is usually at 8 weeks.
Or if you go further and ask, can puppies stop nursing at 3 weeks (completely), you will find that it is not ideal.
Therefore a case where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks would qualify to be termed as ‘abnormal’.
Why Would A Mother Dog Stop Feeding Puppies At 3 Weeks?
In a scenario where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, one of the key concerns would be on why this happened.
So one may be asking themselves, why doesn’t my dog want to feed her puppies anymore? Why won’t my mother dog feed her puppies, yet they are only 3 weeks old?
You may even rephrase it as, why does my dog not want to feed her puppies?
So, indeed, why would a mother dog stop feeding puppies at 3 weeks? The answer is that there are several factors that can cause the mother dog to stop feeding her puppies at 3 weeks.
Firstly, a mother dog may stop feeding puppies at 3 weeks due to illness. For instance, if the mother dog has mastitis, feeding the puppies will be a painful affair. She may opt out of it.
Secondly, a mother dog may stop feeding puppies at 3 weeks due to milk production issues. The dog may have a condition that makes it impossible to produce milk. Or the dog may have a condition that makes it impossible for the milk to reach her teats…
Thirdly, a mother dog may stop feeding puppies at 3 weeks because she lacks proper maternal instincts.
Fourthly, a mother dog may stop feeding puppies at 3 weeks because she is rejecting them. This may perhaps be due to birth defects they have. So she figures that they don’t have much likelihood of surviving. Therefore she opts to spare her milk.
If my mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, these are the factors I would consider.
By the way, even in answering the why won’t my dog feed her 2 week old puppies question, these would still be the key possibilities.
Let’s look at each in turn.
Illness As A Reason For Mother Dog Stopping To Feed Puppies At 3 Weeks
In some cases, if a mother dog stops to feed puppies at 3 weeks, the reason turns out to be illness.
The illness in question may be mastitis, which makes it painful for the mother dog to be suckled.
Another illness that may make a dog stop nursing puppies at 3 weeks is metritis. When metritis becomes systemic, it can make a dog stop feeding her puppies.
Milk fever is yet another illness that often makes dogs stop feeding their puppies early. Sometimes, it may even make the dog start avoiding the puppies. Thus if my dog doesn’t want to stay with her puppies, I would consider this as a possibility.
Some of these illnesses can heal with proper treatment.
Others, such as metritis, may mean that the dog won’t be able to nurse puppies any longer. So from that point, you have to start seeking alternative puppy food for 3 week old.
Actually, a dog with any of these illnesses requires urgent treatment. Once you discover or suspect any of these diseases, your priority shifts to getting the mother dog treatment.
So in the meantime, you have to figure out how to feed 3 week old puppies with things other than mother’s milk. True, for 3 week old puppies eating food (other than mothers milk) may be a challenge. But you have to help them do it, under these circumstances.
All in all, in any case where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, any of these illnesses may be the reason.
Milk Production Challenges As A Reason For Mother Dog Stopping To Feed Puppies At 3 Weeks
In any situation where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, the reason may be something to do with milk production challenges.
The underlying problem may be the one we refer to as agalactia: where the mother dog is simply unable to produce milk.
The underlying problem may also be the one where the mother dog produces milk, but it fails to reach the teats.
So in this case, you find that the mother dog wants to nurse her puppies. But she is simply unable to do so, due to milk production challenges.
Even in a case where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 5 weeks, this may be the reason.
In some cases, with proper treatment, the dog may be able to start producing adequate milk again.
But there are cases where the problem may prove impossible to solve. Then you have to work out what to feed puppies at 3 weeks, not that their mother has unsolvable milk production issues.
So the challenge will really be similar to that on what to feed a 3 week old puppy without mom.
But before concluding that the problem where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks is due to milk production challenges, you need to rule out other possibilities.
You especially need to be sure that it is not due to illnesses like mastitis and metritis.
Lack Of Proper Maternal Instincts As A Reason For Mother Dog Stopping To Feed Puppies At 3 Weeks
If a mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, the reason may be lack of proper maternal instincts.
There are three things that may cause this problem, where a mother dog lacks proper maternal instincts.
First is if the dog gave birth to the puppies through caesarian section. Then there may not have been a proper chance to bond.
Secondly, if the dog gave birth to the puppies while she was herself too young, proper maternal instincts may not form.
And third is if the mother dog was removed from her own mother too early. Then she may not be able to develop proper maternal instincts later on in life.
Earlier, while answering the when do dogs stop breastfeeding question, we saw that it is usually at 8 weeks. That is when they are weaned completely.
So the answer to the when puppies stop breastfeeding question is ‘8 weeks’.
But a dog without proper maternal instincts may stop breastfeeding the puppies at 3 weeks!
Sometimes, it may not even want anything to do with them.
You therefore find yourself having to work out how to feed 3 week old puppies with alternative food.
At times, it may happen at 4 weeks, rather than 3 weeks. Even then, you end up having to work out how to care for 4 week old puppy without mother.
Rejection As A Reason For Mother Dog Stopping To Feed Puppies At 3 Weeks
Some cases where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks turn out to be due to rejection. So the mother dog rejects the puppies. Therefore she opts not to feed them.
This is quite different from where mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks due to lack of maternal instincts.
In this case, the mother dog still has maternal instincts. But she sees something in the puppies that makes her reject them. That may be a birth defect, or general weakness at birth.
The mother dog – being still a beast – figures out that such puppies are not worth expending milk on. So she pushes them away.
In fact, some mother dogs may actively kill such puppies that they deem to be not worthwhile.
Or she just leaves them too early – and opts to be spending too much time away from them. That can get to an extent where you start wondering, how long can a mother dog be away from her puppies?
Then later, you come to realize that the mother dog is actually actively rejecting the puppies.
This may happen to just one puppy in the liter. Then you have to work out, what should I feed a 3 weeks old puppy, now that the mother doesn’t want anything to do with it?
Or the mother dog may actually reject the whole liter. Then you have to figure out what to do when mom dog stops feeding puppies, and doesn’t want anything to do with them.
In the final analysis, if mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, this sort of rejection may be the reason.
Early Weaning As A Reason For Mother Dog Stopping To Feed Puppies At 3 Weeks
While answering the when does mom dog stop feeding puppies question, we saw that that is usually at 8 weeks.
Indeed, even if you research on when can puppies stop nursing completely, you will find that it is at roughly 8 weeks.
But it is important to understand that the weaning process is not sudden. Mother dogs wean their puppies gradually. The process starts at 3-5 weeks, and is complete at 8 weeks.
There are, however, some mother dogs that may opt to fully wean their puppies at 3 weeks. Does a 3 week old puppy still need milk from mother? The answer is yes. But some mother dogs may still decide to cut their puppies off the milk supply that early.
Therefore if mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, this may be the reason.
So in this case, you find that the issue is not due to an illness, milk production challenges, lack of maternal instincts, rejection of the puppies or anything of that sort.
The mother dog simply decides to wean them off early.
You then find yourself having to work out what to feed a 3-week old puppy without mom.
All said and done, if mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, this may be the reason.
Mother Dog Stopped Feeding Puppies At 3 weeks – What To Do?
If a mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, you need to find ways to keep the puppies going.
The first thing is to work out what to feed 3 week puppies. You then need to figure out how to feed 3 week old puppies.
That can be just as challenging as working out how to get puppies to stop nursing (for those that continue nursing for too long). By the way, working out how to stop puppies feeding from mother can be rather hard.
But in all cases, you find appropriate food for the puppies, then give it to them in the right manner.
That, in a nutshell, is what to do if mother dog won’t feed puppies.
So, to reiterate, what to do if mother dog won t feed puppies is first get suitable food for them. Then prepare it the right way, then serve it to them properly.
If you were at a loss on what to do if mom won’t feed puppies, that is it.
What To Feed 3 Week Old Puppies?
The most important thing here is to find suitable 3 week old puppy food. If the mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, there has to be something to take the place of mother’s milk.
Earlier, when answering the when should puppies stop feeding from the mother question, we saw that that should be at 8 weeks.
That is also the answer we got to the when does mother dog stop feeding puppies and when do puppies stop feeding off mum questions.
Even if you ask, when does a puppy stop breastfeeding, this is the answer you get mostly.
Yet in this case, you have to find ways of feeding 3 week old puppies.
For starters, can 3 week old puppies eat soft food? The answer, thankfully, is ‘yes’.
So what you may need to do is buy some specially formulated puppy food. Then mix it with canine replacer milk/formula. Pound the food into a paste. Then feed the 3 week old puppies with that paste.
How often should 3 week old puppies be fed? The answer is that they need to be fed four times per day. Thus make arrangements to feed them that often.
By the way, that guideline is similar to the one for how often should 3 week old puppies get nursed.
How To Feed 3 Week Old Puppies?
If mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, you have to act as their ‘mom substitute’. And that means not only working out what to feed them, but also how to serve it to them.
Now how to feed 3 week puppies is quite challenging. After buying properly formulated puppy food for 3 week olds, you mix it with canine replacer milk/formula. (Don’t dare to use cow milk). If you can’t get canine replacer milk, it is better to use water.
After mixing the puppy food with canine replacer milk, you pound it to a paste.
Then you scoop this paste into a bowl. Place the bowl before the puppy. The puppy will then ‘detect’ it, and proceed to eat it. Initially, the puppy may be hesitant to feed. But with time, it will get used.
Ensure that you feed the puppies adequately. Remember, when you inquire on why do puppies die at 3 weeks, you find that lack of adequate food is one of the causes.
So it is important to get them enough food.
Afterwards, you will eventually have to work out when to stop feeding puppies at night.
Generally, you need to move towards normal solid food and normal feeding routines as the puppies approach 8 weeks.
Remember, while answering the when do puppies stop feeding from mom question, we saw that it is roughly at 8 weeks.
That is also the answer to the when does the mother dog leave her puppies to start eating solid food question.
So this is also when you should aim to have fully weaned your puppies.
Thereafter, they can be feeding in normal puppy food (not in paste form). And they can be adhering to a more conventional feeding schedule.
Final Verdict – Mother Dog Stopped Feeding Puppies At 3 Weeks
If a mother dog stopped feeding puppies at 3 weeks, it may be due to an illness (such as mastitis or metritis). It may also be due to milk production challenges or lack of maternal instincts.
It could also be that the mother dog is rejecting the puppies, perhaps due to birth defects. Or it could be that the mother dog has just decided to wean the puppies too early.
Whatever the reason behind it, you need to work out a plan on what to feed the puppies and how to go about feeding them.
In most cases, what you may need to do is buy for the puppies the specially formulated puppy food or kibble. Then mix it with canine puppy formula/canine replacer milk. But avoid cow milk.
After mixing the puppy food with canine puppy formula/canine replacer milk, pound it until it becomes a smooth paste. Then feed the puppies on this paste. They should be alright that way.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG OR WEBSITE, "Learn About Pet", DOES NOT PROVIDE YOU WITH MEDICAL ADVICE AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR PERSONAL VETERINARIAN AND USE INFORMATION HERE AS GENERAL ADVICE.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, food recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for pet food related questions.