How to Care For New Born Puppies
Puppies are born blind and deaf and rely on their nose and sense of touch
When puppies are brought into the world, owners rejoice and celebrate new life. However, owners often forget that this is a very special bonding time between the mother and the pups. It is best therefore, to not interfere with this special time as much as possible. Often mother dog, will let owners be aware of this, by emitting a warning growl. This is only instinctive behavior that will fade away as days go by.
However, mother and pups still require some close supervision to identify some issues that may require veterinary intervention. Following are some circumstances that need vigilant supervision and in some cases, prompt veterinary attention.
Puppies should nurse within the first six hours following birth. This is fundamental as they will be able to ingest the colostrum also known as ''mother's gold'' which will provide them with fundamental immune system boosters. Such colostrum is only produced in mother dogs for the first few hours and couple of days, afterward, the colostrum will be replaced by regular millk.
The mother dog and litter should be ideally checked by a vet for a post-birth physical. A hormone injection may be given to contract the uterus and help expel any residual birth products.The sex of the puppies are determined and they examined for any visible congenital defects.
- Check Stools
Mother dogs may develop soft stools in the days after birth due to diet changes and cleaning up the puppies and consuming placenta. This should gradually subside.
In order to allow the puppies to thrive owners must ensure they are kept in a warm environment. Chilling may even cause puppies to die. Ideally, the temperature should be kept at a minimum of 72 degrees. Keep in mind that the lower the puppies are placed, the more likely they will be exposed to colder temperatures and drafts.
-Check for wellbeing
A well nourished and healthy pup will sleep for most of the day. Indeed, this is how a puppy should be. If there are puppies that keep on crying and walking about separating from the litter mates this may be a waring sign that something may be wrong
-Check vaginal discharge
Mother dog will expel blood clots and/or will have a vaginal discharge for a few days. However, a vet should be consulted if this persists for more than 7 days.
-Check for nursing
Puppies should nurse and be content. Crying, appearing uncomfortable is often suggestive of no milk being delivered or mastitis (infected milk). If this latter is the case, mother dog should be seen ASAP and put on antibiotics while the puppies should be hand raised and put on replacement milk products such as Esbilac. Pediatric human formulations should never be used as they will not suffix. A temporary emergency milk substitute may consist of an egg yolk to 8 ounces of 2%milk.
-Tail docks and dewclaw removal are performed by the veterinarian generally at 2-5 days of age.
A puppy's eyes should open around 10-14 days of age. If the eyes do not open by then, appear swollen and full of discharge, a vet should be consulted.Once the eyes are open a puppy may be offered on a plate some Gerber High protein or rice baby cereal mixed with 2% milk half diluted with water.
Around 3-4 weeks of age all puppies should be dewormed. Most puppies indeed have roundworms when they are born.
At 6 weeks most puppies are weaned. Smaller breed puppies should still nurse until 8 weeks old. Premium puppy food can now be fed.
Reducing the amount of food fed to mother dog once the puppies have been weaned is a good way to help reduce the production of milk.
Dogs should start their immunizations at 6 weeks of age. The most important vaccine at this time is the Parvo virus a potentially fatal disease of puppies.
Puppies have a small window of opportunity to be socialized. It is best if the puppies are used to seeing children and adults as much as possible.
Once the puppies are 8 weeks old, they are generally ready to be adopted. As hard as it may be, separating from the puppies is part of dog breeding. Ensuring that the puppies go out to loving and caring homes, is the best you can do to grant your puppies a great future.
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