Akita bitches will feed and indeed demand to feed their puppies until they are about eight weeks of age. They continue to produce large quantities of milk and the fullness of their teats stimulates them to feed their babies. The more they feed, the more milk is produced, and so eventually you have to give a helping hand.

Obviously, the pups will not be so keen to feed from their mother once you start feeding them. It is difficult to judge the right time to wean puppies. It should be when they look fine but you have the feeling that a solid meal would give them that extra strength to stand and move around. It does not depend on the precise age of the litter: the puppies could be three and a half weeks old or four and a half weeks old. But when you see the puppies feeding fiercely, emptying the teat and quickly moving to the next, you will see that mealtimes are developing into a frenzied search for food, and it is time to start weaning.

I always wean on to solid food. We have found that Akita puppies do not take kindly to any milk except their mother’s. We recommend that you use very finely minced beef and place a small amount on your fingertips and allow the puppy to sniff it. Within seconds it takes the morsel into his mouth. The pup will soon realise it not only tastes good but it makes him feel good to have a nice, full tummy. A teaspoonful is ample for the first two or three times, usually at breakfast and tea. Again, keep a close eye on the toilet and use the sweeteners to regulate. Remember what they always tell us humans: “Healthy on the inside means healthy on the outside!”

It is a good idea to keep the mother away for longer periods when you are weaning. Although you are providing food, the Akita puppies will still need their mother’s milk, which contains the natural antibodies against disease. If she is kept away, the puppies will be more ready to accept your food and the mother will have the chance to replenish her milk store. She may object initially, but her absences should be increased gradually. If you feed the puppies before she does, they will not draw on her so hard when she returns.


by Amy S Morin