How Long Do New Puppies Need to Nurse?

Written by rena sherwood
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How Long Do New Puppies Need to Nurse?
How long should pups nurse? (Two puppies of the spitz-dog in studio image by Ulf from

Newborn puppies need to eat every three hours, day and night for the first six weeks of their lives. The mother will begin to wean them when they are 6 to 8 weeks old. She does this by getting up and walking away when they try to nurse. Most puppies are fully weaned when they are 8 weeks old.

Time Frame

Until they are about a month old, newborn puppies can take as long as 30 minutes for each feeding session with either their mother's nipple or a bottle. Then, as they get bigger, they take less time to eat.


According to the Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, newborn puppies need to eat so often because they aren't born with very much fat and can become dangerously dehydrated very quickly.


Best Friends Animal Rescue suggests a newborn puppy formula of 1 cup of whole milk, 1 pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of corn oil and three egg yolks per puppy per feeding.


Puppies can start to eat soft foods from a bowl or spoon when they are 3 weeks old. However, they still need to nurse.

Body Weight

The Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook recommends weighing the puppies as soon as they are born and every 12 hours afterward to be sure the puppies are putting on weight. If they aren't, then you need to bottle feed them to help them grow.

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