When newborn puppies come into the world it is a real event and a wonder for all the family. Once they are there, you must learn how to take care of the newborn puppies, this is both times demanding and gratifying.
During the first two weeks of its life, a puppy needs to be fed by its mother, unless she is not producing enough milk, either because the litter is too numerous or because the mother is too tired to do so.
Whether the newborn puppies are still feeding on their mother or are being given a substitute, the feeding process should always be supervised.
Take care that all the puppies take their share of food, as the weaker ones may not be feeding correctly, if that is the case you will have to hand-rear the newborn puppy yourself.
Should you have to take care of the newborn puppies’ feeding, use dried milk substitutes, which must be prepared freshly each day and be at a temperature of 38° centigrade, they must be fed slowly for they may risk catching pneumonia if they inhale milk, using either bottles or syringes when just born.
At 6 to 8 weeks puppies will start exploring as they grow stronger every day.
At this stage you can start feeding them some good quality puppy food, at first mixed in with the milk substitute, in order for the puppy to adapt to the change of taste, then it can be given on its own.
Its mother’s milk or the dried milk feed will still be the most important feeding element in the puppies’ diet.
You may start weaning the puppies when they are about 6 to 8 weeks old, as they are almost ready to leave their mum, feed them on specially adapted puppy food about four times a day until they are about 10 weeks old, then you can feed them three times a day.
At 5 to 6 months, puppies will only need to be fed twice a day until they reach adult age.
As soon as the newborn puppies arrive a veterinarian must examine them, they need to be de-wormed when they are two weeks old, this process will be repeated at the age of 6 to 8 weeks.
They will also need vaccinations if they are leaving your home for new ones, take care they are in good health before leaving, and this should not be before they are seven weeks old.
Newborn puppies and their mum should be made comfortable in a whelping box, which needs to be changed and cleaned at least once daily, then two or three times per day as the puppies start eating more solid foods.
Prepare the box with layers of newspapers covered with a comfortable blanket, the latter must be stretched over the box, in order to avoid wrinkles in the blanket, for newborn puppies may get lost in them.
When you change the paper and blanket, take care to check the newborn puppies’ stool to detect any signs of illness; it should be brown and formed, if not, call your veterinarian, remember that newborn puppies are vulnerable.
Another stage of taking care of newborn puppies is housebreaking. Create precise toilet areas, sleeping and eating ones, cover the toilet area with shavings over a layer of newspapers and help the puppies understand that this is where they should be going when need be!
Help the newborn puppies to quickly adapt to their new environment by early exposure to the usual household noises, this will help your puppies to build up confidence and grow into socialized well-adapted dogs.