When your dog gets pregnant for the first time, and she finally bears her pups there can be a confusing thought. Thoughts like how to take care of the puppy? Should I hold the puppy? What should I be aware of? In this guide, we will teach you how.
Caring for newborn puppies is a full-time job. If the mother is healthy, she can do most of the work herself, but you may need to give supplemental feeding, bathing, and cleanup if the litter is large or the mother becomes overwhelmed.
Once the puppies are big enough to run around on their own, you should implement training or “housebreaking”.At around 3 or 4 weeks old, the mother will begin the weaning process. This is when you will need to start giving the puppies a soft solid made specifically for puppies.
Mother dogs will automatically provide milk for her puppies. This will be their only diet for the first four weeks of life. If your dog doesn’t provide food for the puppies, you will need to provide it for them. It's best to consult with your veterinarian for the best nourishment to give them and a suitable feeding schedule.
They will need a commercial canine milk supplement that is meant for puppies within their age group. You should never give them cow’s milk because that can cause them to stomach upset and diarrhea. You can feed them from a bottle every two to three hours for the first two weeks.
As the puppies grow, the time between feedings increases as their stomachs grow to accommodate larger amounts per feeding.
When the puppies reach four weeks of age, you can begin supplementing their diet with solid food. When first introducing the solid food, you should use a high-quality dry puppy food and mix it with warm water and milk supplement. Blend these until it has the consistency of soft oatmeal. You can show the puppies the food several times a day.
As the puppies eat this food, you can begin decreasing the amount of milk supplement used until they are eating the solid, dry food on its own. This should happen 7-8 weeks
You should weigh the puppies every day during their first three weeks of life to make sure they are gaining weight each day. If they aren’t then that means that the mother isn’t providing enough food for her puppies and you will need to supplement their diet.
A puppy should gain around 10 to 15 percent of birth weight daily. A little more or a little less on individual days is fine.
Newborn puppies aren't able to expel waste on their own –they need to be stimulated. The mother does this by licking their bottoms, but if she doesn't appear to be attending them often enough, you may need to help. Use a warm, damp washcloth and gently stroke the puppy's bottom until it releases waste.
Puppies begin going on their own around four weeks of age. Once this happens, you will need to change their bedding every day, to keep their area clean and healthy for them.
The puppies need to stay in their nesting area during the first four weeks of life. At the four week mark, they will start to walk around on their own and you can begin starting an exercise routine.
However, they are still too young and small to go outside, so you can block off a safe area where the puppies can run around and play. Remember that the puppies are not housebroken yet, so avoid carpeted areas or any places that will be difficult to clean.
At first, you should limit their playtime to 30 to 45 minutes as they will tire easily. You can slowly increase their playtime as they get bigger and stronger.
You should start getting the puppies used to your scent and the scent of humans almost from birth as long as the mother dog is comfortable. Handle them and touch them a couple of times a day. This should be done by adults and never by young children without adult supervision.
All the puppies in the litter, as well as their mother, will give them all the canine socialization they require. This is important so they are comfortable around other dogs.
Their mother will teach them that they need to follow the rules such as don’t bite and don’t steal food from others. They will also learn to be confident and the rules of play from each other.
It is important that the puppies are never separated from their mother or their littermates until they are at least eight weeks old.
They need this time together to learn to be good dogs. While they can survive and learn proper behavior without their mother, they should never be without each other if it can be helped.
Unless they appear unhealthy, veterinarians don’t need to see the puppies until they are around six weeks of age for their first round of immunizations. The puppies are given immunization shots every couple of weeks until 16 weeks of age.
This is done because veterinarians don’t know exactly when the puppies will lose their immunity to a disease they get from their mother. Until they lose that immunity, the shots they get will do no good and once they do, they are susceptible to disease until the next dose.
Their final dose of the shots is given at 16 weeks and at this point they are finally completely safe from disease.
In the process of getting their shots, a puppy can be very vunerable to public germs, they should not be around other dogs and should not be out in public too much.
Their final dose of the shots is given at 16 weeks and at this point they are finally completely safe from disease. Puppies should also be given a full health exam from the vet. The vet will deworm them and assist with a preventative health plan.
You should call your vet immediately if any of the puppies show one or more of these symptoms:
Lack of appetite
Lack of weight gain
Coughing or wheezing
Crying all the time
They aren’t urinated or defecating on their own by four weeks
It's important that, before you adopt out the puppies, you draw up a contract with the person adopting them to have them spayed or neutered once they reach the appropriate age of six months.
Female dogs are spayed and male dogs are neutered. Both surgeries require general anesthesia and the veterinarian doing the surgery will want to make sure the puppies are healthy beforehand. He will do a blood test to make sure all their organs are functioning normally and are healthy.
This would be a good time to get the mother dog spayed, as well, if you don't plan to breed her again. Your vet can advise you about the best option for your dog. Keep in mind that spaying your dog can prevent cancer, cysts or other infections.
The recovery time in most cases is rather quick, and most dogs are up and walking around the same day or most often the day after the surgery. During the recovery time, however, you will need to make sure she stays quiet and rests while she heals