Dams and Their Puppies:
- Dams will stimulate the genitals and anus of the newborn puppies to stimulate their need to eliminate waste
- She will feed them every two to three hours
- She will clean them and warm them
- She will be very protective of them. Keeping small children and other animals away from the puppies is very important
- Dams should be fed high quality puppy food while they are pregnant and nursing
- Puppies will begin to open their eyes between 2-3 weeks of age.
- Do not attempt to open them for them!
- Puppies are deaf until 2-3 weeks of age
- At about 3.5-4 weeks, puppies will begin to attempt to walk
- By week 4 the dam stops cleaning up their waste and disposable puppy pads should be introduced
- At 4 weeks, weaning will begin and puppies should begin receiving wet puppy food
- By five weeks most puppies are walking pretty well, and can escape the swimming pool. They also begin playing and enjoying toys
- At five weeks dry puppy chow should be added to the wet food, slowing giving less and less wet food until 6 weeks.
- By six weeks puppies should be weaned and be solely eating dry food
- Weeks 6, 7, & 8 puppies are learning to play, bite inhibition, and are being socialized. It is important to allow the dam to be close to her puppies IF she desires during this time, but also allow her an escape route. At this point the puppies have teeth
- Dams play rough with their puppies and sometimes the puppies cry. This is normal. The dam is teaching them how to play appropriately with other dogs
When Something Goes Wrong…
Newborn Puppies will be primarily cared for by their mother; however, there are a few instances where the dam and puppies require your support:
Litters with 10 or more puppies may need to be rotated between teats. A dam only has 8 teats and when there are more puppies than nipples it is easy for a puppy to starve.
Puppies that are failing to thrive may need human intervention. Signs that a puppy is not thriving:
- not fighting for a nipple
- crying from hunger
- not suckling when on a nipple
- not pooping
- sleeping too much
Tube Feedings and IV Fluids:
- If a puppy is not eating, you may need to tube feed in order to keep the puppy alive
- Do not wait if a puppy is crying or not suckling. We MUST get fluids in the puppy immediately!
- Sometimes IV fluids are also necessary
- We will train you how to administer IV fluids and to tube feed at home if necessary, or we can treat the puppy until it is well enough to return to the litter
Tube Feeding Video: Tube Feeding a Puppy
Urinating and Pooping:
- Newborn puppies cannot eliminate their waste without help. The dam usually licks them to stimulate poop and pee, and then eats the waste
- If a puppy is away from mom because they are tube feeding, the human caregiver must stimulate the genitals and the anus to allow the puppy to eliminate. Baby wipes work well for this task.
- While the dam will work to keep the puppies warm, it is sometimes not enough
- A cold puppy will not nurse
- To keep puppies warm, hot water bottles filled with very warm water are a great way to heat a puppy up
- Space heaters placed far enough away from the whelping box are helpful
- DO NOT ever use heating pads! They can burn puppies.