Puppies who reached the end of the fourth week beginning the fifth week of their lives are a little bit less difficult to care for then the smallest ones. But their care is not less intensive.

From the 4th week you can slowly and carefully start to socialize the puppy and get it acquainted with different things. But always remember to take it easy, just a few minutes are enough when you are starting out. Do not over stimulate them. A simple start is to add a few toys to play with and to hug them; this will suffice for week 4 to 6.

Jerommeke 4 week, little snuggle bug

During the 6th week the puppies get their first inoculation according to the veterinarian’s schedule. Usually the schedule follows weeks 6-9-12-15. The puppies can get a little ill following their first inoculation. This usually happens the same day or the day after but most of the time not any later. Sometimes the puppy becomes very ill after the first inoculation; the cause in most cases is parvo. The disease would have been lingering in the puppies’ body and sets on full after the first inoculation. It is not impossible to save a puppy that has contracted parvo but it is a very labor intensive job. Please be very careful not to let the puppy get wet after the inoculation. Their resistance is very low after the shot and they are more susceptible to getting sick.


Around the 4-5 week period you can start to offer soaked kibble. Start by feeding them completely pureed kibble and slowly progress to larger pieces. There is an easy way to do this. Take a large sealable container. Add the amount of kibble for 2 to 3 meals and a large portion of water. Place the sealed container in the fridge for a few hours and voila your soaked kibble is ready. At dinner time spoon the mix into the bowls and add a little bit of warm water, make sure the mixture is not too cold or too hot and you are all set. Around 6 to 7 weeks of age all the puppies should be able to eat un-soaked puppy kibble.

As long as you are feeding them the soaked kibble you will notice they drink less. This is because of the fluids in the soaked kibble. Of course fresh water has to be available at all times. Please take notice, as soon as you stop soaking the kibble they will require more water.

At what age can puppies leave the nest?

Jerommeke 8 weeks, ready to leave

Even if there is no mother dog present it is recommended to keep the puppies together until the age of 8 weeks. This is very important for the development of the puppy. They have already experienced a hard time because they do not have a mother and they are missing out on her positive influences. Together they teach each other enough of life to develop into a balanced dog. They learn from each other that biting hard hurts, they learn how to play and they need each other’s warmth and protection during those first two months. And the most important thing, their nervous system is maturing; this process takes until the 7th week of age.

Research has show the nervous system only matures when the puppy is in the nest. If you take the puppy out of the nest before this time it might cause issues. Nervous systems will not be completed and scar tissue may even occur at the end of the systems.

You might ask yourself what happens in a situation like that when the puppy does not have a nest or is taken out of the nest too soon. It is our experience that some of those puppies grow up to be very unbalanced dogs. Not all of them because we have encountered a few very sweet and open dogs which were brought up by bottle feeding without a nest. But we also encountered a fare share that did have issues later on in life. Do you want to know more about this, have a look at puppies leaving the nest early, for more information.

The day of the placement arrived

Playing outside can be exhausting

8 weeks of age, the time has come to leave the nest. If everything worked out the new owners are lined up and the puppies are ready to move to their new homes. Ask the new owners to pick up the puppy in the morning, this way the puppy has the whole day to get used to the new situation and they go to sleep at night feeling more relaxed. Give the new owners a bit of the kibble the puppies were eating and of course their inoculation booklets. It would be best of the new owner continues to feed the same kibble the puppy is used to, especially during the first few weeks. Moving can cause the puppies’ resistance to disease to lower and you want to prevent them from having diarrhea. Also clearly specify on which dates the puppy has to get their inoculation and preventative treatment for worms.

Another very important point, do not just give a puppy away to anybody! Please check out the people adopting the puppy. Are they compassionate, do they pick up the pup lovingly, do they hold the puppy close? Do you feel positive about this adoption or are you hesitant? Always listen to your feeling and talk about any issues you might see. A mismatch does not help anybody. Ask questions. What kind of dog are they looking for? How is their family situation? Do they want an active puppy or does a quiet timid puppy better match their situation? I have always given adopters advice on what kind of dog would suit them and also about the puppies, I would explain if they are sweet quiet or naughty playful puppies and what you could expect when they grow up. The first few times I doubted an adoption but went along with it my initial doubt always turned out to be grounded. Dogs would be returned because the relationship between the dog and the adopter was not a match. I have also turned potential adopters down because they did not pick up the puppy with love and they would keep a distance. After asking a few more questions it turned out these people wanted to cut the dogs ears because they thought it looks cool. You get a lot of people trying to adopt a puppy, you first interest is to protect these babies, so be very observant of any potential adopter! You did not raise the puppy with all this love and care to have them end up in a sad situation.

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