Last Updated on March 4, 2022 by Pets Feed
The “nest” for newborn puppies should be warm, dry, protected from drafts and located in a place where babies will not be disturbed by people. It is advisable to arrange the nursery in a separate room or separate half of the room with a partition, since the grown-up puppies will need a place for active games.
The ideal version of a house for puppies is a cardboard box, which should be of such a size that the bitch can fit in it entirely and turn freely inside it, can lie down and stretch out to its full height in any direction (after all, newborn puppies are fed while lying down).
The upper part of the box must be cut off (this makes it easier to care for and monitor the babies) and covered with a diaper, securing it with clothespins. In the side wall, you need to cut a hole for the entrance, leaving the lower side so that the bitch can step over it, and the kids cannot get out.
Inside the box you need to put a mattress on which two pillowcases are put on – the first made of waterproof fabric, and the second made of ordinary linen, chintz, etc. There should be several pieces of fabric pillowcases to change as they get dirty. Disposable absorbent diapers can be used instead of pillowcases, which greatly simplify the care of newborn puppies, but in this case, care must be taken that the puppies do not tear them and do not try to “feast on” the litter.
The temperature in the house should be around 30-32 degrees. For convenience, a small NOT mercury thermometer can be hung on the inner wall of the “nest”, which will need to be removed in the third week of puppies’ life (to avoid injury). If the puppies are cold (babies worry, squeak, huddle and try to crawl under each other), put a heating pad or a bottle filled with warm water inside the box. The heating pad should not be hot (30-35 degrees). Hypothermia or overheating can kill puppies!
This is interesting: inexperienced dog breeders are often interested in how to determine the sex of a newborn puppy in the first minutes of his birth. It’s very simple – the bitch’s genital organ (loop) is located under the anus and looks like a triangle, and the male’s genital organ is on the belly, just below the navel.
Puppy development in the first month
The growth and development of a puppy in the first month depends not only on hereditary factors, but also on the conditions in which the baby is kept. Healthy puppies sleep all the time for the first week, waking up only during feeding.
Puppies are born deaf, blind and helpless. They cannot walk, their nervous system and thermoregulation are not developed. Regular feeding of a newborn puppy provides the baby with sound sleep and full development of the whole body. And proper care of the baby significantly reduces the risk of various diseases.
By the beginning of the third week, the puppy’s ear canals open. No control over this process is required. However, the owner can check if the baby’s hearing is developing normally – rustle the bag or flick your fingers to the left and right of the puppy’s head and watch his reaction.
On the 12-15th day, babies begin to open their eyes. At first they are cloudy and blue, and after a couple of weeks they become clean, clear, the color of the eyes darkens (in most breeds, the eyes should be dark brown). During this period, it is especially important to monitor the cleanliness of the litter and the condition of the eyes: purulent discharge or crusts are a reason to consult a veterinarian for advice.
Teeth appear by the beginning of 4 weeks of life of the puppies. However, the development of newborn puppies of different breeds can vary greatly in terms of timing, so it is advisable to clarify the details with a professional breeder. With the appearance of teeth, the bitch restricts breastfeeding – this is a signal for the owner that it is time to introduce complementary foods into the diet.
This is interesting: newborn puppies often flinch in their sleep – this is normal. Such voluntary contractions contribute to the development of the muscular and nervous systems of the baby.
Usually, newborn puppies are fed by a bitch, and the owner takes part in this process only as an observer. The bitch feeds the babies with breast milk up to 3-4 weeks, if she is healthy, she has enough milk, and there are no more than 4-5 puppies in the litter.
It happens that the bitch refuses to feed the babies – then the owner must forcibly keep the mother in the nest. The bitch should be laid on its side and held in this position until the puppies stop sucking milk. Insufficient feeding of a newborn puppy, too long breaks between feedings or feeding on poor-quality milk (sick bitch) can lead to painful weakness and even death of the baby!
Approximate feeding schedule
- 1-2 days – every 30-50 minutes
- 1 week – every 2-3 hours
- 2 week – every 4 hours
- 3 weeks – every 4-5 hours
- From the period from 1 month to 2 months, puppies are fed 4 times a day
However, feeding newborn puppies – schedule and portion sizes – is highly breed dependent! Apart from the breeder – a specialist in the breed, no one will be able to provide the owner with reliable information. It is very important not to rely on the opinions of friends – “experts” in this matter!
Sometimes it happens that babies are left without a mother (or the bitch does not have milk). The ideal solution in such a situation is to find (through friends or through the network) the owners of the newly whelped bitch, since it is quite difficult to feed a newborn puppy on your own. Puppies can be put on any healthy dog with a few litters, even if of a different breed (or generally non-pedigree), but about the same size as the mother of your kids.
Tip: If the bitch develops mastitis, feeding the newborn puppy will be very painful for her. To prevent this from happening, place the puppies alternately on each nipple.
If a suitable nurse cannot be found, the puppies remain artificially fed. For babies to develop fully, it is enough to purchase a milk replacer and a bottle at a pet store. If this is not possible for any reason, you need to prepare the mixture yourself. Ingredients: 0.5 l whole cow or goat milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp. honey. Make sure the mixture is warm enough (35 degrees) before feeding newborn puppies. Instead of a bottle, you can use a syringe without a needle. The formula for feeding three-week-old babies should be at room temperature. The formula must not be stored!
You need to feed the puppy by putting him on his tummy. Do not try to sit your baby or turn him over on his back. You can not feed the puppy on a canopy – because of the fear of falling, the baby will nervously eat (or will refuse to suck milk altogether). Make sure that the mixture does not flow in too powerful a stream – the puppy may choke! The most convenient way to feed your puppy is to sit on the floor and lay a disposable diaper on your feet. Leaning over the house is not always convenient, and feeding the puppy while sitting in a chair is dangerous (even with caution, you can drop the baby on the floor).
When the puppy is full, he will stop sucking milk and will want to sleep. To understand whether the baby is getting enough nutrition, you need to monitor the dynamics of growth. Be sure to record the weight of the newborn puppy (for convenience, start a notebook for notes) and weigh the baby every 3 days – the weight should constantly increase.
By the end of 3 weeks, puppies can be offered non-acidic cottage cheese, boiled egg yolk, scalded raw meat (veal, lamb, rabbit, poultry). New products are introduced into the diet very carefully, in very small portions, no more than 1 product per day. After the puppy has tried a new product for him, it is necessary to monitor the baby’s condition for 24 hours – a rash, itching, vomiting or diarrhea means that the chosen complementary food must be abandoned.
At the age of 4-5 weeks, puppies can be transferred to high-quality dry food soaked in milk, low-fat broth or water.
Hygiene and care
A caring mother always licks the puppy thoroughly after feeding. She washes the baby, and also massages the area under the tail and belly with her tongue so that the puppy defecates. Such care for newborn puppies is vital, because intestinal congestion leads to inflammation, infections and even death of babies!
In the case when the bitch does not care for the litter, the owner himself must help the babies to empty the intestines. This is easy to do: wrap a medical gauze soaked in warm water around your finger and massage the puppy’s anus and tummy in a circular motion. When the baby has defecated, gently but thoroughly remove the “traces of crime” from the puppy’s skin and coat with gauze soaked in warm water. Make sure that the baby does not stay wet – newborn puppies catch cold quickly.
Puppies begin to defecate on their own in the third week of life. Already during this period, the kids instinctively crawl into the far corner of the house in order to relieve themselves. Usually, the bitch cleans up after them herself, but if she does not, the owner must constantly monitor the cleanliness of the litter.
Tip: since you need to feed a newborn puppy several times a day, you will also have to clean up after the baby often. Therefore, prepare enough sterile gauze, scissors, small dry rags (to wipe off your puppy if it gets dirty in milk) and garbage bags beforehand.
So that the bitch does not refuse to feed the puppies, babies need to regularly shorten their claws. You can trim them with nail scissors (only the very tip, without touching the vessel) or grind off the sharp tip with a nail file.
In the early days, carefully monitor the condition of the umbilical cord of the babies. Normally, the remainder of the umbilical cord dries quickly and disappears after a few days. If a rash, redness, crusts appear around the umbilical cord, lubricate the navel with brilliant green or 2% hydrogen peroxide.
This is important: since it is quite difficult to leave a newborn puppy without the participation of his biological mother, try to negotiate with a good veterinarian about consultations and home visits. Keep your doctor’s personal phone number close at hand so that you can immediately invite a veterinarian to your home in times of urgent need.
A healthy puppy eats well, sleeps a lot and grows quickly. With the mother’s milk, the baby gets immunity to some infectious diseases, but with negligence and non-observance of the elementary preventive minimum, the puppy can get sick and even die. Here’s how to care for your newborn puppies to keep them safe from the negative environmental influences:
- all pillowcases, diapers (except for disposable ones), any rags that are used to care for a puppy must be pre-washed and ironed;
- shoppers often come to the pet store with their dogs, which may carry infectious diseases. Therefore, disposable diapers must be immediately transferred to a regular bag, and the original packaging must be thrown away;
- before you let the bitch into the house to the puppies, you must definitely wash her paws and stomach;
- you can only touch the puppies with clean, thoroughly washed hands with soap (or use disposable surgical gloves);
- you cannot enter the room where the puppies are in street clothes (it is best to wear a dressing gown and shoe covers);
- young children and guests should not be allowed to touch puppies, because they can bring an infection on clothes and skin that will destroy all litter;
- the room where the puppies are located must be regularly ventilated. While the window is open, the kids should be in another room;
- the dishes from which the puppies are fed must be thoroughly washed and rinsed with boiling water before each feeding;
- do not wash puppies up to 3 months. If the baby gets dirty, wipe the coat with a damp cloth (or brush out the dried dirt with a brush);
- at the age of 3-4 weeks, puppies should be given an antihelminthic drug;
- 10 days after the first deworming, babies must be vaccinated (it is advisable to contact a veterinary clinic, only an experienced dog handler or breeder can vaccinate on their own).
The age of 8 weeks is considered the beginning of the socialization period. The babies have stopped sucking milk, they are already accustomed to solid food, they are vaccinated and are completely ready to move to a new home.