Puppy Basics: Feeding Tips for the First 6 Months

The timeline for feeding your newborn puppy changes rapidly over the first six months. The following is a broad overview of the key development milestones that your puppy will experience to help you learn what and how you should be feeding the newest member of your family.

Why Is It Important to Know Milestones for Puppy Development?

Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for growth and development milestones for puppies. However, by using the milestones as a guide for healthy growth, developmental problems can be spotted—and possibly prevented—early on.

Why Is It Important to Know Milestones for Puppy Development?

Age Milestone
7-10 days old Puppies double their birth weight.
Puppies begin to urinate and defecate on own.
10-18 days old Puppies attempt to stand. 
Puppies’ eyes begin to open. 
Puppies’ ears begin to open.
18-21 days old Puppies hear and respond to noises.
Puppies begin to walk.
3 weeks old Puppies begin responsive vocalization. 
Begin weaning process for orphaned puppies. 
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
4 weeks old Begin weaning process for mother-fed puppies.
3 to 6 months old Puppies’ adult teeth erupt.

How to Wean Puppies with IAMS®

1. Start introducing a small amount of water in a shallow dish at about 4 weeks of age. Most puppies will play in the water; however, within four or five days, they will begin to develop drinking skills. Some animals might require longer periods for training, so don’t be discouraged if the puppy resists bowl training.

2. Begin mixing an IAMS ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Original formula food with water. Be sure to provide a separate dish for fresh water also.

3. Gradually increase the amount of soft food while decreasing the amount of water in the mixture until the puppy is eating soft food only.

4. Repeat the process, mixing the appropriate dry IAMS puppy food with the soft food, then increasing the solid food while decreasing the soft food until the transition is complete.

The entire process should take approximately three weeks.