How to care for newborn puppies
By Ashley Bennett
If you don’t spay your female dog, you may eventually find yourself with an expectant pooch on your hands. Although puppies are cute and cuddly, there is a lot of care that goes into their development in the first couple of weeks. These are some things to know if you ever have to care for newborn puppies.
Create a den
The mother and the puppies need to have a den area that is all to themselves. A den with a small heating pad, blankets, and pillows will provide warmth and comfort. There may be some drainage and waste in the area for the next couple of weeks, so the bedding needs to be changed on a daily basis. Cleanliness is key to maintaining a healthy environment for both puppies and the mother.
Keep them with their mother
The presence of the mother is what sustains puppies when they are first born. They are not to be separated from the mother under any circumstances during this critical period. Given that the mother has just given birth, she should be given time to rest with her puppies undisturbed. It is the mother that provides nutrients from her milk to promote a healthy immune system and development. Feeding will normally take place every two to three hours for puppies and they are unable to eat solid food until they are at least four weeks old. Puppies between four and eight weeks can eat a mixture of dry food and milk and then they can shift to solid food completely after that period. If the mother is not present then it is recommended that you contact a veterinarian for an acceptable substitute for her milk as human milk is not appropriate for puppies.
Watch for warning signs of sickness
Time is of the essence for puppies because they are unable to do anything on their own. If you notice any type of abnormalities in their appearance or behavior, then it is recommended that you contact a veterinarian right away to correct the issue before it is too late. Some things to look out for include vomiting, excessive crying, diarrhea, rejection by the mother, or if the puppy is not nursing with everyone else.
Contact your veterinarian
The supervision of a veterinarian is recommended to provide a healthy start for puppies because there are a lot of dangers that lay-people are not aware of. Puppies are unable to hear, see, or even defecate on their own when they are first born and they can also fall ill due to a number of diseases and health problems. Ask your veterinarian for advice about how to care for the puppies when they are born.
As a general note, breeding at home is not recommended as young puppies are vulnerable to a number of illnesses and they can potentially die if they are not cared for properly. Young puppies must be allowed to stay with their mother for at least twelve weeks to help them grow and develop before they are adopted out. Since puppies are delicate creatures in need of a lot of attention, stay in close contact with your veterinarian to ensure their good health.