The amount of cuteness these little creatures have is simply too much to take. They truly make the world a better place.
That’s why we dog owners must make the world better for them. If you’re a puppy owner, then you know what I’m talking about. All puppy owners will do anything for their little pups, including turning into canine chefs to make some delicious puppy mush .
Hold on – what’s puppy mush ? How do you make puppy mush in the first place?
You don’t have to worry about that. I’ve got you covered! From explaining what puppy mush is , to giving you in depth information on the amount of mush puppies need, what it contains, and some nifty ideas – this article has it all!
Think of this as your guide to creating the best puppy mush in the world for your puppy.
After you read this, you’ll realize that the weaning process is nothing to be afraid of. It’s natural, it must happen, and it’s something you MUST participate in.
Your pup’s future is in your hands.
Now, let’s make some puppy mush !
What Is Puppy Mush?
Puppy mush (or puppy gruel) is nothing less than softened puppy kibble . You get the mushy texture by adding milk or warm water to the bowl, along with some other ingredients.
Most breeders first start by soaking cereals like rice. It’s easy on the puppy’s stomach, and a more economical option for first tries. Chances are, your puppy will only nibble on some solid food for the first few attempts until he figures out what to do.
Besides warm water , offering a puppy milk replacer or puppy milk formula and mixing cereals or kibble with it is also a good idea. In fact, it even gives more flavor to the meal.
Once the puppy has accepted mushy cereals, it’s time to add some kibble to the bowl. This is when things get interesting. Cereals are bland. But, kibble … kibble ‘s a real feast!
The first couple of meals will be too soft and runny. Yes, they will be yucky, but your puppy will eat them glady. As your puppy grows, the consistency of the puppy gruel should change and become thicker.
Slowly, but steadily, that mushy bowl of puppy food will turn into a semi-solid meal, then into a bowl of dry kibble for your growing puppy.
Yes, dry kibble is good for your dog since it exercises the jaw and gives it strength. But, tiny puppies should in no way eat dry kibble first. It’s a choking hazard, and it’s impawssible for them to chew on it.
Always start with puppy mush or gruel . If you stay tuned, I will show you what to add in order to enrich your puppy’s meal, and I will also show you some pretty nifty meal ideas!
How Do You Make Puppy Mush Rich In Nutrients With Human Food?
Human food, or simply fruits, veggies, meat, and cereal can easily enrich puppy mush and make it not only more nutritious, but also more flavorful. You can get the finest puppy food on the market, but facts are facts. You can always get more nutrients by serving human foods.
Now, I’m not saying you should completely switch to human foods. Some things, like poppy seeds and garlic , are ingredients that are extremely toxic to our canine buddies . What I’m saying is that you should add a part of fruits, veggies, or meat to your gruel recipes .
Combined with hot water , it may not be the most appealing dish, but your puppy will devour a bowl of mush with sprinkled goodies on top of it.
Most dog owners or dog breeders start feeding their litter of puppies some cereal mixed with milk replacer . If you can’t find any milk replacer , using goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk is a much better choice.
Goat’s milk is richer in protein and other nutrients than cow’s milk, and growing puppies need a lot of protein per serving. Also, it’s proven that cow’s milk can cause digestion problems, such as vomiting and puppy diarrhea.
The transition from mom’s milk to puppy mush doesn’t only happen because puppies need to learn how to eat soft food . It’s also because puppies need more nutrients to grow.
Adding fruits and veggies like broccoli, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cranberries, apples, blueberries, peppers, brussels sprouts, kale, pear, spinach, carrots, etc. will not only give your dog the much-needed nutrients, but they will also provide a nice boost to your dog’s immune system.
They’re superfoods worth having in every meal.
Don’t forget about real animal proteins . Usually, poultry or lamb is a good choice for puppies, but I wouldn’t run away from finely chopped beef, or even fish like salmon. Pick your favorite, but focus on muscle meat. Gizzards should only come as an additional protein.
Top Three Puppy Mush Recipes For Your Growing Puppy
When preparing the ideal puppy mush , you should have all the right ingredients. No, this is not some super-fancy cuisine, but still, you should know which ingredients are better for your puppy. We’ve discussed earlier about the superfoods or human foods you can add to your puppy’s mush. Keep those in mind.
First, you should know that there are two approaches to creating gruel . Feels like it’s rocket science, doesn’t it? But, for real now – you can either pick a raw food diet, which some dogs like Cane Corsos prefer or you can cook and prepare it like a dish you’d like to have.
But, don’t let the cooking part discourage you. Preparing puppy mush isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t take much time.
Some dog owners like to use milk only, while others add water. There isn’t really a rule here. Do as you want, or as your vet recommends to you.
For making gruel meals, you’ll need to have a blender since it’s much easier to work with than with a simple potato masher . What you do is blend the ingredients to the desired consistency.
First, gruel meals should be almost liquid, but the texture should change and become thicker over the weeks. A four- week-old puppy will eat liquid mush, while an eight-week-old puppy will eat soft food .
Serve the puppy mush in a shallow bowl for easier feeding. Also, keep some paper towels by your hand while you feed your puppy . You will clean up their little muzzles quite often since they’re just starting to learn how to eat, and mush will get everywhere, including on their nose!
The following three puppy mush recipes are pretty basic, and I consider them the starting point for every new canine chef.
Beef Puppy Mush
Even though many dog experts don’t recommend it, feeding your puppy raw meat is okay if you want to follow a raw diet throughout your puppy’s entire life. Usually, ground beef is the way to go since it’s soft and can be digested easily, unlike whole beef pieces.
To make this mush, you won’t need a lot of ingredients.
Your base for all puppy mush meals is dry puppy food and liquids.
The milk to hot water ratio should be in favor of milk. Water is there to make the mush runny.
Create a consistency depending on how big your puppy is. Mush it into a mixture that resembles oatmeal. Add ground beef, preferably cooked, and that’s it. Don’t add too much meat as it is a secondary source of proteins at this stage.
The amount of dry food you use depends on the number of puppies you’re feeding. Usually, it takes two cups to feed around six puppies.
The first time you serve puppy gruel , you will need to have lots of patience. Puppies eat slowly, especially those that are still learning how to eat solids. It’s a messy process and it takes time, but it’s of utmost importance!
Green Puppy Mush
How many times have we heard that we must eat our greens?
Trust me – you do want to be that puppy mommy or daddy who enforces healthy eating habits and sneaks in kale or spinach in every meal. Green veggies are rich in folates and vitamin K, which are essentials for proper brain development, strong bones, and blood circulation.
All puppy gruel can be enriched with some green veggies or fruits. I recommend you cook and puree them before serving them to your dog.
Here’s a lovely mush recipe packed with healthy greens.
Add cooked and pureed green apples, kale, some broccoli, and a pear to your puppy mush base. I don’t usually measure my ingredients, but you can. Just make sure your greens to kibble ratio is in favor of kibble .
I like this green puppy mush recipe because you can easily freeze and store the green part and thaw it as needed. So, in case you make too much of the puree, just pour it into an ice cube tray and leave it for situations when you’re out of time, but your puppies need to eat.
Pumpkin And Egg Mush
Pumpkin, no matter which type, is a terrific ingredient. I love using it not only for my own meals, but for my dogs, too. Also, it’s an ingredient on many kibble bags. The dog food brands I trust use superfoods like pumpkin because it’s rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
Pumpkin is pretty versatile, and it can be combined with all sorts of other ingredients. I’m pawsitive you’re gonna love this pumpkin and egg mush.
Add cooked pumpkin and egg mixture to your base mush. You can make it if you cook and puree the pumpkin, and then add one whole egg until it’s heath-treated and disappears into the pumpkin mush.
Combine the base with the pumpkin part.
You can also add some pureed apples or cranberries to this mush. I usually like my meals (and my pup’s meals, too) color coordinated. If I’m using red or orange veggies, I make the whole meal red. If I’m using greens, the puppy will have a green meal.
This is just my quirk. You can follow it or not. It totally depends on your preferences.
Weaning Puppies: When Can Puppies Start Eating Puppy Mush?
Puppy mush (or puppy gruel) is often considered a transition food . When puppies are born, the first food will be their mother’s milk . Nursing should last at least for the first eight weeks of their life. But, eight weeks is not a milestone when puppies are being introduced to solids.
It actually happens much earlier.
The introduction to solid food begins around week four , when puppies finally get to open their eyes and see the world around them. Now, I know mush isn’t technically solid, but it still has a different texture than mommy’s milk.
The first mushy meals aren’t meant to satisfy the puppy’s hunger. They shouldn’t replace a meal in the day either! Think of them as a way of puppies learning new textures, flavors, and different smells. Dogs determine whether they like something by using their nose.
That’s another reason why you should wait until week four because that’s the time when dogs start using their smell buds.
What’s important for you to know is that feeding your puppy mush should start at this stage, even though the mommy doesn’t show signs of weaning .
Some dog breeds will easily start weaning their puppies at around four weeks of age. This is a slow process, but you can notice obvious signs, such as a lack of milk production.
However, I’ve encountered many dog breeds that show absolutely no sign of them being ready to wean their puppies. Also, they seem to not know what to do to wean their babies. This is where you come to help. Let the puppies slowly transition from milk to their first puppy mush.
You must do this process as mommy’s milk will dry up when the puppies are around 12 weeks old.
If you don’t stop the weaning process in time, you’ll have many issues with your big puppies refusing to eat solids.
How Often Should A Puppy Eat Mush?
When introducing your puppy to new food, you shouldn’t let your dog eat as much as he can. Their belly is still tiny and don’t fit much food. Overeating may lead to vomiting, puppy diarrhea, or pooping too much . Neither of that is a lovely sight to see!
Your puppy should have several smaller meals throughout the day. I know they don’t eat much, but trust me… they will eat as much as they can and still consume a nice amount of calories that will keep them full until the next meal.
Smaller meals mean less of a chance of health issues related to the digestive tract. Don’t just throw dog food at your puppy, expecting him to go without any problems. That’s why we make puppy mush !
Every mushy meal will provide the proper amount of food your growing puppy needs. And, it will be enough.
The number of meals throughout the day is proportional to the amount of food your puppy eats.
Small puppies, those of weeks four to eight, will need up to four meals a day. These are tiny meals, so don’t make too much gruel because it will go bad. Do some math in your head before you mix cereals with some liquids.
Larger puppies, those that have been through the weaning process, should eat around two meals a day. These will be significantly bigger meals, but not more than a puppy could eat in one sitting.
If their belly is nicely round and your puppy is eating slower and slower, he’s absolutely full. Don’t offer more food until the next meal.
To be sure how much food your growing puppy needs, you should follow specially created puppy weight charts and puppy feeding charts. Most dog breeds have these created just according to their needs. Ask your vet to provide you with this helpful information.
What’s The Expiration Date On Puppy Mush, And How Do You Preserve It?
All food has its expiration date; even dry dog food ! You can’t expect anything to last for too long, especially not if it is left outside at room temperature.
You must be extra careful with what you’re offering your puppy. These are still young puppies with a sensitive digestive system and a weak immune system. They still need to grow and become stronger.
Many puppies that experience some severe health issues during their early puppyhood sadly don’t make it. Usually, the biggest cause is infestation of worms and bacterial infection.
To prevent such mishaps, don’t serve your puppy the same bowl of food twice. And, never leave the food out for too long!
Imagine the following situation: you’ve just started weaning your puppy and introducing him to soft food . Today’s meal is puppy kibble mixed with milk. It’s a hot day, and your puppy only had a few licks. He’s not in the mood, so you leave the bowl outside in the feeding area for him to come back to it.
Chances are, it will sit there for hours until your puppy returns to that bowl, and that bowl of puppy mush will go bad… really, really bad. Within two hours, bacteria will start to grow, and your puppy mush will no longer be safe to eat.
Not only does this become a danger for consumption, but such mush also loses flavor and quality. And, growing puppies need high-quality food.
Simply make a small batch of gruel , serve it to your puppy, and toss it away if there’s anything remaining in the bowl.
How Do You Make Mush Adaptable For My Older Puppy?
When it comes to making puppy mush adaptable to your older puppies, all you can do is change the consistency, and maybe add some more ingredients.
I recommend you don’t throw in a bunch of ingredients besides puppy kibble . Stick with kibble , milk, water, and maybe one or two extra items. For example, kibble , milk, and ground beef are perfectly fine for the beginning.
As your puppy grows, the texture of puppy gruel should look like mashed potatoes. It’s thick, yet creamy and easy to swallow and digest. I wouldn’t introduce big chunks of food if I were you. Well, not yet.
By the time your puppy is fully weaned and doesn’t depend on mommy’s milk, you can throw in some chunks of soft fruits or veggies. This is the stage when puppies start to work their jaw in order to make it stronger.
Dry puppy food is good for your pup since it helps the jaw to be strong, and it also sharpens their tiny teeth.
Adapting should happen as you go. Don’t just come one day and decide: Yup, it’s time for mashed potato-like mush. Adult dogs may like it, but growing puppies will have a hard time figuring out why runny mush became thick mush.
Also, as your puppy becomes stronger, he will need more nutrients and more energy. This means high-quality dog kibble and superfood ingredients like eggs, flax seeds, pumpkin, cranberries, and all the goodies I’ve mentioned earlier.
You can add whatever you like, but please steer away from grains and soya as they can cause severe food allergies. That’s not something your growing puppy needs at all!
To Sum Up…
Newborn puppies depend on their mom’s milk.
Growing puppies depend on you and your choice of puppy food .
You can’t just give dry kibble to your puppy at the beginning of the weaning process . You can make mush, and now you know how to make puppy mush !
The first week of preparing and consuming mush will be difficult for both of you. It will be messy, and it won’t go as you planned, but things will improve.
It’s up to you to teach your puppy how to eat and what to eat.
Serving a bowl of mushy puppy kibble with some milk and pureed fruits and veggies isn’t appealing, but your puppies will think of it as a real feast!