I just rescued a 5 week old lab puppy. He was being abandoned by the owners and it was take him now, or never take him. I know he is much too young to be away from his mother, but the conditions the pups were living in...taking him now probably saved his life. I know we can provide a better home for him than where he was living; if you can call it that.
Anyway, he is 5 1/2 weeks old.
What should I be feeding him?
How much should I be feeding him and how often?
I worry about socializing him because he is so young, any suggestions?
I am also trying to figure out how to house train him. The owners put the dogs outside once the puppies were born and that is where they stayed. For all the care they got, they could have been stray dogs.
We have a crate for him, and some puppy pads. He has gone on the pads and outside, so far, so good.
He has obviously not had any medical treatment yet, no deworming, vaccines, nothing. I am calling my vet as soon as they open to speak to them about him, aka, Hank.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
I feel horrible for him. For the conditions he was living in, but also because I had to take him away from his mother so soon. I know that I did make the right choice for him, because I honestly do not think he would have made it to a year...let alone 3 months old. I just feel bad. I know he misses his mother and his litter mates, and if I could have taken them all too I would have.
Please help me out here, I want to give him the best life possible.
You will get some advice that disagrees with mine on puppy food.
I recommend, as do many canine nutitionists, that you feed a Large Breed Puppy food from a national company (Eukanuba/Iams, Nestle-Purina, etc.) for the first 12-14 months. The composition of these foods has been based on many longitudinal clinical trials by the companies as well as similar ones by independent university nutritional scientists to assure the best development of growth plates, joints, etc.
There will be some who argue Labs are not "large breed" because it says in the Lab standards that they are a "medium breed" dog. While that's quite true, dietary scientists are not bound by the Labrador Retriever breed standards as written and base their definition of "large breed" as those dog breeds weighing over a certain # of kilograms as adults -- which is around 50-55 lbs, IIRC. Since most adult Labs weigh more than that, go figure.................
Another thing that can create a detrimental effect on joint health and development is too early spaying and there are a number of fairly recent JL posts discussing this.
Some argue that "puppy" food and especially "large breed puppy" food is a scam and that adult food is perfectly fine or even better. I disagree. I've read longitudinal nutritional studies published in JAVMA (the Journal ofthe American Medical Assocn) as well as in other sources. While it's true that many puppies can be fed a diet of adult food and have an adulthood with no joint problems, consistently more puppies fed specially formulated foods for LB puppies achieve the same desired level.
As for puppy socialization, I have some experience. My first Lab, Bess, we got from a competing Lab Breeder in 1967 at 5 weeks age. (This was in an era before it was widely known about the effects of early socialization or non-socialization.) My wife and I didn't live around other dogs for Bess to play with but our home had frequent human visitors.
As a result, Bess never socialized with other dogs. When friendly dogs approached her with tails wagging and wanting to exchange greetings, she'd look at me with a quizzical expression, as if saying "Why's this strange creature bothering me?" Bess was always super-friendly with any human and I often wondered if she thought of herself as being one.
So, although I got Puff when she was 9 weeks old and she'd socialized with her litter mates, because she and live alone, I made sure that she got at least 30-60 min. of play time with other young, friendly dogs at least 3X/week or more, for her first year. There were some suitable dogs in the neighborhood and I recruited other playdates from church members and other groups I belong to. While Puff loves people, she also loves meeting other dogs.
While Bess's and Puff's early weeks aren't comparable, I'm sure that IF I'd made similar efforts with Bess, her rejection of other dogs would have been much less.
But blessings on you for taking this puppy in and giving it a caring home. May you all have long and loving, rewarding lives together.
P.S. -- re: house training.
When I got Puff, I kept her puppy/baby-gated mainly in the kitchen because it wasn't carpeted and could be more easily cleaned. (When there are accidents, clean them with either "Nature's Miracle" or hydrogen peroxide to kill the odor saying "here's a great place to pee")
I used a 2' x 3' plastic box from Nestle-Purina called "Second Nature" designed especially for that purpose. (They no longer sell it but you can easily make your own.) Nestle-Purina sells pads for it but we used newspapers, always leaving a bit of scent to beckon her back to the desired place.
Since I'm retired, I was with her through the day and was sensitive to times she was likely to go and her posture in preparing to go. I'd whisk her to her box and praise and reward her for going in the proper place. She learned very quickly and it was never a problem.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 09-17-2012 at 01:57 PM. Reason: add P.S.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I would feed him puppy food as well, and get him to the vet for a check up and worming, no shots yet. 5 weeks they can eat solid food but you can also wet it down for him. Take him outside for a potty break as much as possible. At this age they pee often because their bladders are small. He will also need to have a bowel movement 10-30 minutes after each meal. You should feed him 3-4 times a day.
"Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"
Your puppy will not have a warning before he needs to potty. He is to young to have an "urge' and let you know. That will take awhile. Just begin his potty training like you would if he were older, but plan on it taking longer. Also, puppy pads are confusing and tell your puppy its ok to potty in the house. I would talk to my vet about a good food choice. Some foods are very rich and may cause gastric upset. What ever food you choose, wet it down with water. Do not give him milk. Thanks so much for rescuing the little guy! Where are you located?
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
Feed him 3 x a day and approx. 1½ - 2 cups per day. I never measure so I'm not sure how much my puppies eat at 5 weeks. All I know is that they're usually eating 3 cups per day at about 8 weeks.
♣ Laura ♣