Newborn Puppies. What You Need To Know
Just as I have done the hub, Newborn Kittens: What You Need to Know, I thought it would be a good idea to do one about newborn puppies as well. If you knew this information, then good for you, that's great! If you didn't, hopefully it will come in handy in the future.
Your dog just had her puppies. They are, of course, adorable, and you can't wait to hold them. However, this is not a good idea right away. The first several weeks, the mother should be taking care of everything for them. This means there isn't really much for you to do. But you should take them to the vet within the first few days to make sure the mother and the puppies are doing okay.
When puppies are born, they are blind, deaf, and unable to go to the bathroom on their own. They keep warm by piling up with their brothers and sisters. They will count on their mother for everything.
~Puppies go through many changes in the first 12 weeks. This is the time they are growing and learning.~
Birth to 2 Weeks
During the first 2 weeks puppies sleep 90% of the time. The puppies can not walk but will try to "crawl" and quickly get better at it. This helps them develop muscle coordination.
At about 2 weeks, ears will open up so they can hear. Typically between 10-16 days their eyes will open. They can see and hear their surroundings. They can see their mother and go to her easier. They can hear their mother and will start to mimic her sounds, going from simple grunts or almost the same little meows as kittens to small yelps or barks. At around 2 weeks, puppies are starting to try to stand up, and by 3 weeks they may be able to start walking (very wobbly though.)
At about 4 weeks the puppies will be starting to wean from their mother's milk and will now start on puppy food. Weaning should be complete by week 8. During this time they will be starting to really socialize with each other and grow bonds.
At this time puppies are still learning some skills from their mom. However, it is now the time that they can be given to new homes. These four weeks are a "fear period" for them. They will get scared by a lot of things easily, and you need to make sure that they don't have too much around to frighten them. If they get scared by something at this age, they might continue to be afraid of it for life. Also during this time, you should be socializing with your puppy and even letting other people. Just make sure you are going slow and letting him be comfortable with you or them first.
Just like cats, dogs should be spayed or neutered by around 6 months old. Dogs who are neutered are less likely to develop behavioral problems.
Dogs need to see the vet often. When they're puppies they go more and when they're old they go more but in between once or twice a year will do it.
What age to take your dog to the vet: (you will need to set up a primary vet your dog will see and they will give you an exact answer to this question for your specific dog. But here is an average for most.)
οThey should be taken a few times during the first 8 weeks for a checkup and to be dewormed.
οThey should have vaccinations a few weeks apart several times between 6 and 16 weeks.
οThey need a rabies shot at about 4 months.
οAt 6 months they should be spayed or neutered.
οOnce or twice a year until otherwise told by your vet.
οObviously in an emergency or if your dog is sick they should see the vet as well.