How Do I Take Care of Newborn Puppies?

Newborn puppies depend on the milk of their mother for nutrition and should also receive special formula designed to nourish newborn puppies. Puppies should be kept warm and regularly monitored to ensure they latch onto correctly and receive enough nourishment.

Keep an eye out for signs of illness and report anything unusual immediately to a veterinarian. Caring for newborn puppies can be challenging but highly rewarding when everything runs smoothly.

1. Keeping them warm

Newborn puppies cannot control their own body heat, making it important for them to stay as close to mom and siblings as possible. If this is not possible, an enclosed garage, porch or other space with heat source such as an electric blanket should provide a safe space where their brood can sleep safely and warmly. According to VCA Hospitals, you can also use special whelping boxes or boxes equipped with beds or blankets as a heat source, placed over an area in the box so the puppies can move away if it becomes too hot.

As puppies are vulnerable to hypothermia, keeping them as warm as possible is also vitally important to ensure their wellbeing and survival. If a newborn puppy appears cold or exhibits signs of hypothermia, contact your veterinarian immediately; otherwise if their mother is not nursing then be ready to bottle-feed as she cannot provide enough nourishment to them directly.

If you plan to bottle-feed newborn puppies, consult with a veterinarian first for tips and preparations. Puppies need to be fed every 2 hours and suckle at least 12 times in 24 hours; you may use milk substitute for these babies but follow its directions closely as some brands may need to be warmed in advance.

Stimulate nursing by gently stroking their bellies or rubbing their rears, and encourage urination/defecation by licking their genitals. Furthermore, puppies should be socialized early on (from weeks four through 12) to ensure that they become well-adjusted adults.

2. Keeping them clean

Newborn puppies are extremely vulnerable to disease. It is crucial that all members of your household wash their hands before handling newborn puppies to reduce exposure to germs that could make them sick. Puppies should also be vaccinated as soon as they’re old enough; speak to your vet about what vaccinations they require and when. While puppies will benefit from antibodies from their mother’s milk initially protecting against illnesses, those antibodies eventually wear off over time and they need additional protection against illness from vaccines or vaccination.

Keep newborn pups warm and clean, and carefully monitor their weight to make sure that they’re gaining enough each day. If their weight doesn’t appear to be changing accordingly, consult with a veterinarian about possible causes and treatment solutions.

In the first week, puppies should remain with their mother except for short potty breaks. Some mother dogs may be reluctant to allow their puppies outside as she may believe they won’t be safe; in such instances you should bribe her with treats in order to encourage her.

If you are helping a first-time mother, make sure all the puppies are nursing regularly and she is producing enough milk. Try encouraging the babies to latch onto her inguinal (hind) teats as these tend to produce more than her other teats.

After one week, you can begin moving the puppies more regularly around their whelping den. Just make sure not to disturb the mother dog or her litter mates too often; also use a box that is large enough for mother dog and puppies as well as well-equipped with blankets, heating pads, etc. as this should provide adequate shelter from distractions like house guests, stray animals and other pets at home.

3. Keeping them hydrated

Newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperatures for the first few weeks after birth; instead they rely on cuddling close or resting against their mother to stay warm. But once she leaves to feed or go outdoors, they require an external source of heat in order to survive.

Suckling their mother’s milk is usually the best way to ensure that newborn puppies remain hydrated; however, if her nipples become inflamed or she does not produce enough, you could use infant formula. Formulas specifically designed for young puppies can be purchased from your veterinarian’s office; warm them before each feeding and give a small portion every two or three hours.

Puppies may become dehydrated if separated from their mothers too soon or kept in an overheated room, as well as experiencing diarrhea due to overly concentrated milk or any bacteria present in it. If this occurs it’s vital that contact be made with your veterinarian immediately and seek advice.

Newborn puppies should be held horizontally while being fed, to prevent accidental inhalation (inhaling feed) of milk. Massaging their genital area gently is also helpful; after several weeks they should be able to urinate and defecate on their own; otherwise it might be an indicator of serious problems, such as mammary gland infections such as mastitis preventing milk production causing the mother dog not nurse her puppies as needed, necessitating bottle feeding them instead.

4. Keeping them entertained

At one week old, newborn puppies spend much of their time sleeping, with wakeful periods spent nursing from their mother. For their development to go smoothly, it’s crucial that this process continues uninterrupted by you or any distraction. Weight should still be monitored to make sure puppies are making gains.

Newborn puppies do not possess the ability to regulate their own body temperatures and must rely on both their mother and each other for warmth. When no mother is available, puppies should be kept in a warm room – heat lamps work effectively here – until she returns; too cold puppies cannot eat and will die from lack of nutrition.

Once puppies begin to show signs of eye and ear development, you can begin handling them more gently – handling too often can stress out pups to the point that they reject their mother and have adverse affects on their physical and mental wellbeing.

As your puppies get older, you should introduce them to new people, objects and sounds in order to socialize them properly and ensure their development. At this stage they should also start receiving vaccinations against diseases like Distemper, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus.

For bottle feeding puppies, it is advisable to utilize a whelping box, which is widely available at pet stores. You could also make one yourself from two large, stiff boxes like television or appliance boxes and cut out one end before placing one on top of the other with a broom handle attached as a rail so the puppies can stand on it comfortably.

5. Keeping them safe

Puppies cannot generate their own heat source, and so depend on their mother and littermates for warmth. When she can no longer provide this warmth, external sources may be utilized, but care must be taken when using these as they may become too hot quickly. VCA Hospitals suggests placing any heating sources within a whelping box to reduce burn risks for your puppies.

Monitor the health of the litter for signs of illness, such as diarrhea and vomiting, as well as changes in their mother’s behavior that could indicate that she has mastitis – an infection of mammary glands which inhibits milk production – if possible. Weigh your puppies regularly so you can monitor their weight gain.

If a puppy starts having difficulty breathing, neonatal CPR should be administered immediately. Gentle massage the chest of your pup while blowing gently into its mouth will help bring oxygen into its lungs – repeat this until he/she resumes breathing or your vet takes over.

Newborn puppies should be kept in a warm, dark area free of drafts – ideally, this would be in a whelping box; alternatively you could use pet beds or blankets. If mother cannot care for her puppies on her own, ask your veterinarian about medications like oxytocin or ergonovine which can trigger premature placental separation.

After several weeks, it is time to wean the puppies off of the bottle and introduce solid food such as canned dog food and raw meat and vegetables. You should be able to tell when this stage has begun as they will stop biting and chewing the bottle while drinking more slowly.