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When Can Puppies Start Eating Wet Food? 3 Vet-Approved Stages

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

cute puppy eating raw dog food in a white bowl

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Dr. Athena Gaffud

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The age at which puppies can start safely eating wet food will depend on a number of factors. Experienced dog owners and breeders will start feeding their puppies wet food as early as 4 weeks. The age that most puppies go home with a family is 8 weeks, and they should be able to eat wet food with no problems by then. Weaning should be a gradual process from the puppies feeding exclusively from their mothers to being able to eat exclusively puppy food.

This guide covers each age at which puppies can technically start eating wet food and tells you how the food should be prepared and fed to the puppies for the best results.

Divider-Dog bone- NewThe 3 Different Stages When Puppies Can Start Eating Wet Food

1. Earliest – 4 Weeks

The earliest a puppy can start eating wet food is at 4 weeks of age, they should still also be suckling from their mother at this age. However, at this age, the food needs to be mixed with water or milk replacer in order to get the best results. At 4 weeks, wet food that has a particularly high moisture content is preferable to less moisture. That will change as the dog ages, but right now, puppies need food that is highly saturated in water. You can buy wet food that is specially formulated for puppies with high moisture content. Weaning should be a gradual process of transition from mother’s milk to dry puppy food over the course of a few weeks.

Four weeks is a time that mainly breeders will be feeding their dogs wet food in order to get them ready to go home with a new family at 8 weeks. Few inexperienced dog owners should have a 4-week-old puppy that they need to wean.

How to Feed Puppies Wet Food At 4 Weeks

When attempting to wean your puppy at 4 weeks, you need to do it gradually. You should not feed your puppy straight wet food at 4 weeks old. Instead, you need to make a special puppy mixture that includes wet food, a milk replacer, and water. You should mix a small amount of wet food with a milk replacer and soak the whole thing in water until it can be lapped up. Put this mixture onto a flat plate or saucer and let the puppies lick the food. This way, the puppies will start licking up wet food alongside the water and milk replacer.

Cocker Spaniel puppy eating dog food
Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

2. Average – 6 Weeks

The age at which puppies can start safely eating wet food on their own is often around 6 weeks. Depending on the weight of the puppy, the development of the puppy, and the size of the puppy and breed, this time frame might shift slightly. The average puppy can start eating puppy-formulated wet food at around 6 weeks of age. They should be suckling much less from their mother by this age and will enjoy exploring food.

How to Feed Puppies Wet Food At 6 Weeks

If you are weaning your puppy, you should gradually decrease the amount of added liquid starting around 4 weeks and continue until 6 weeks. If you started weaning around 4 weeks of age, the puppies should be done at 6 weeks of age and should be able to eat wet puppy food on their own. However, if you started weaning later than 4 weeks (say 5 weeks), you might still be adding small amounts of milk, milk replacer, or water to their food so that they are more comfortable eating.

If you start feeding wet food at 4 weeks mixed with liquid, the amount of liquid added should be nearly zero at 6 weeks. But every dog is different.

cute puppy drinking water
Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

3. Just to Be Safe – 8 Weeks

If you are worried about feeding wet food too early, the safe amount of time to wait is 8 weeks. By 8 weeks of age, a puppy should be able to eat dry food and wet food with no problems. They also do not need to have any additional liquids added or mixed for them.

Eight weeks is the age at which most puppies are released to their new owners. That is because this is the age that they should be able to eat regular dog food without any assistance or issues. If you are someone who is bringing a brand-new puppy home at the 8-week mark, you should be able to feed them wet food without worrying. Dry food may still need to be soaked in water if your puppy is having difficulty crunching.

How to Feed Puppies Wet Food At 8 Weeks

You should be able to simply put the wet food on a flat plate or into a standard dog bowl when puppies are 8 weeks old. Watch to make sure that your puppy is able to pick up and chew the wet food without any issues or assistance. Most puppies are completely fine to do so at this age.

caucasian shepherd puppy dog eating food from a metal bowl
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

Divider-Dog Paw and Bone- New


Puppies can start eating wet food between 4 weeks and 8 weeks of age. The exact age at which a particular puppy can start eating wet food will depend on how the dog is eating, the experience of the owner or breeder, and the timeframe for weaning. Some dogs wean later than other dogs. If you mix and prepare the food correctly, puppies can begin to eat wet food at 4 weeks of age, and they progress from there.

Featured Image Credit: Jan Dix, Shutterstock

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