How to take care of new born puppies
February 25, 2019
Are you wondering how you are supposed to take care of newborn puppies? You’re not alone! There are plenty of people who are worried about looking after a newborn puppy. If you’re a breeder or your dog has accidentally got pregnant, you will need to know how to prepare for the new addition to your family. There are also instances where the mother may reject the newborn pup, or they are just not capable of looking after the puppy. Just as some people can struggle to produce milk, dogs can experience similar problems too!
Please note at this point that puppies should never be removed from their mothers before the age of 8 weeks old. This guide is how to help their mothers take care of puppies after they have been born. While their mum will do most of the work looking after them, you’ll need to give them a helping hand from time to time and make sure the environment is safe, clean and secure.
The primary concerns which you will want to consider in relation to looking after a new pup are making sure they are well-nourished, they are warm enough, and they are enabled to develop new social skills.
Here are a few simple steps which should help you to get started!
Step 1: Prepare your Home
Generally, you’ll be expecting a new arrival, so you will have plenty of time to prepare for the new puppies. Make sure that you have a sterile and safe environment for the puppies. Stock up on puppy pads, or other replaceable material which can easily be changed, as the newborn puppies won’t be able to go outside to the toilet. Also, ensure that you have plenty of antibacterial soap on hands – ordinary soap won’t do. Antibacterial hand wash also works to ensure that you’re not passing on any germs when you are handling the pup before they have had their immunisations. You’ll need to remember that their immune systems aren’t fully developed just after they have been born. This leaves them incredibly susceptible to diseases.
Step 2: Monitoring their Health
It is important that you vigilantly, but gently check the overall health of the puppy. You’ll need to know at what age they should be starting to open their eyes and start to move around. If you’re expecting a fully formed pup to pop out of the womb, you’ll be in for a shock, as puppies are born deaf, blind, toothless, and unable to keep themselves warm.
They won’t even be able to urinate or defecate independently without the help of their mother. It can be hard to tell if the pup has urinated or defecated as the mother will get rid of the waste, but if you suspect that the mother isn’t doing their job, you may have to step in and help them in the process. You can do this with a warm wet flannel and rubbing their urinary and anal region.
In the first week, it will be quite rare to see the dog being active as they will spend around 90% of the time sleeping and the other 10% of the time nursing. In the first week, they will need to eat every two hours.
In the first two weeks of their lives, you should expect their weight to double, they won’t do much apart from nurse from their mother or a bottle and sleep. In the first two weeks, the puppy will be entirely reliant on their mother or their primary caregiver, but after two weeks, looking after a newborn pup will be a little easier as they will start to whimper and let you know if they are hungry or are in need of anything.
Generally, puppies open their eyes after two weeks, however, this can differ depending on each breed. And just because their eyes have opened, don’t expect their eyes to be fully functional!
At the age of 2-4 weeks, their ears and eyes should start to open, and they should be able to take their first wobbly few steps!
For the first four weeks of a puppy’s life, they should only be fed with milk from the mother – don’t give them any treats! If the mum is unable to produce milk or refusing to feed the puppy you will need to consult your vet and find out which canine milk you need to be feeding your dog with. Never give them dairy or baby milk formula, as this is a sure-fire way of ensuring that the pup will end up with an upset stomach.
At 4-12 weeks this is where it is incredibly important to socialise your dog, make sure it is open to plenty of experiences, introduce the dog to new people, and other dogs if they are well and fully immunised.
Health Concerns to Look Out for
From two to four weeks the pups’ teeth will start growing. At around four to six weeks of age, you will be able to see the teeth and gum by looking in the puppies’ mouth. At this stage, your puppy will be teething, and it's vital to give the puppy a chewing toy, which is essential for proper development of their teeth. Make sure that the teeth are not chipped or broken. The tongue should be pink in colour as should the gums and the palate. But if it is white, it is usually a sign of deficiency of oxygen; therefore, your puppy needs to be taken the vet as soon as possible. Also, check the puppy's eyes, to make sure there isn't a discharge dripping from the eyes, and the puppy seems to alert visually. Also, the puppy's ears to be sure that the puppy does not have any blockage or discharge in the ears. Furthermore, make sure there are no infections or wounds in the ear. Inspect the whole body and make sure that there is no discharge from the nose.
When it’s time for the puppies’ first immunisations don’t delay. It is vital that they get their shots so they can start to venture into the great outdoors and start to experience the real world outside of the home! It is advised that pups get their first vaccinations at the age of 6 weeks old. They should also be wormed and given flea treatment from an early age.