You have an orphaned newborn puppy or for one reason or another, the mother is unable to care for her puppies. So now what do you do? Who knows how to take care of a newborn puppy?
Ideally, a foster mother with a litter close in age would be the best thing for your puppy but that’s not always a possibility.
If you have a newborn puppy that hasn’t been weened then the time has definitely come for you to learn how to take care of newborn puppy.
Taking care of newborn puppy is going to take a lot of love and dedication. After you get done reading this post you will be armed with all of the knowledge you need to take care of your newborn puppy.
- Indoor Thermometer
- Rectal Thermometer}digital or bulb
- Heat Lamp
- Heating Pad
- Warm Water Bottle
- Puppy Formula/Commercial K-9 Milk Replacer
- Feeding Syringe
- Eye Dropper
- Pet Nursing Bottles
Newborn puppies need to have a nice safe nest in a quiet area. Take your clean box or tote put it in a quiet space where the temperature is between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.` An indoor thermometer placed in the den will ensure you have the right temp for puppy.
This is very important for the survival of puppy since puppies can’t regulate their body temp at birth. If you have the mother and littermates the temperature need not be so high because they will help keep each other warm.
If you cant find a location warm enough you can create one with a heating lamp. Make sure you place the lamp high enough that it doesn’t burn puppy. Also, make sure there is a spot the light doesn’t hit in the den that puppy can go to if puppy gets too hot.
After the first five days gradually turn the heat down so that its 80 degrees by the tenth day and by the end of the fourth week the temperature should be around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will want to check the body temperature of puppy regularly. The regular temp for a newborn puppy ranges from 95 to 99 F. If the puppy’s temp falls below 92 F or rises above 106 F a trip to your vet is warranted since it could indicate a health problem.
If you end up having a hypothermic puppy with low body temperature, remember not to heat puppy up to fast, if warmed to rapidly it will likely cause serious complications and possibly death.
Too safely warm puppy it should be done slowly over a thirty to sixty minute period of time.
Weight: You will want a weight scale that reads down to the ounce so you can keep track of newborn puppy’s weight. Doing so will let you know if puppy is getting fed enough.
It is important to know the puppy’s weight so that you can figure out how much to feed them. The back of the milk replacer will have a chart telling you how much to give puppy of specific weights.
Puppies should gain at least 10% or more of their birth weight daily. At ten days old puppy should be at twice his birth weight.
Newborn puppies should be weighed twice a day every day and if possible around the same time every day.
What: If the mother is unable to produce milk then to take care of newborn puppy you will have to feed them. You will have to feed them a puppy formula or milk replacer for puppies.
Do not try to feed them cows or goats milk, either one will likely cause bad diarrhea so make sure to get a puppy formulated milk.
With: It’s best to purchase a puppy nursing kit to feed newborn puppy with, you can get them for less than $5.. You will want to make sure the nipple has two pinholes at the tip of it.
To ensure the wholes aren’t too big, tip the bottle upside down and if it barely drips that’s perfect, if it comes out in a stream, puppy won’t be able to keep up with the stream and could likely choke and you may not know since when born they don’t have the ability to gag.
How: The puppy formula will need to be warmed up, it’s best for puppy if it’s 95 to 100 degrees F. Test it as you would for your baby and drip a little on your forearm. The puppy formula should be only slightly warmer than your skin.
The puppy milk replacer will have to be warmed up for the first couple weeks but when you get to the fourth week it’s ok to feed it to them at room temperature.
When feeding puppy remember not to have puppy on its back, I have found the easiest way to hold while feeding is to lay his belly down on my leg, With my legs together with his whole body on my leg stomach down with his head at my knee.
If at first puppy doesn’t seem to be able to suck on the nipple you may have to start with a syringe or an eyedropper
When: In order to take care of newborn puppy you will need to feed him/her every two hours for the first seven days after a week you should be able to feed them every 3 hours.
puppies like human babies often times ingest air when bottle nursing which as we all know causes bloating and an unhappy uncomfortable puppy. After he is done eating lift puppy up against your shoulder, gently rub his sides and softly tap his back with your palm until he burps.
By the third week, you can start to mix either dry or canned dog food with the milk replacer. Warm the food a little and add the replacer, it should not be any thicker than a creamy soup at first.
By the middle of the fourth week, the puppy should be able to eat enough to meet his/her nutritional needs.
Your puppy’s diet is very crucial to their long term health so remember to feed your puppy the puppy formulated foods for a healthy puppy.
Please be sure to get in touch with your favorite veterinarian to discuss how to care for newborn puppy and the best diet to keep a healthy newborn puppy.
Cleaning and Defecating:
For the first two weeks, the mother has to help stimulate puppy so that he can defecate so to take care of newborn puppy you will have to do the same after every meal.
Take a soft cloth and dampen it with warm water and gently rub the backside of puppy, you will want to this over a potty pad or good old fashioned newspaper for easier cleanup.
Once puppy does their business you will want to take a clean dampened warm rag and gently clean puppy’s body and his behind.
This must be done every time after they nurse until they are close to 3 weeks old. At three weeks they will be able to potty on their own but will not have control to hold it yet, so when they have to go, they will have to go now. It’s not until around 8 to 10 weeks that they are able to hold it or control when they pee or poop.
Most people will tell you it is pointless to start house training before 8 weeks, I don’t agree, its never too soon for them to learn a routine. For the best house training advice our How to House Train Puppy post will explain the best strategy.
First things first when it comes to your puppy’s health please visit your favorite veterinarian if in doubt. Make a list of the questions you have so the two of you can discuss any concerns you have.
There are however a few things you can check for yourself
- Mouth and Lips: Should not have sores or growths
- Breath: Should smell fresh
- Gums: Should be pink, not white
- Teeth: Should not have plaque or tarter
- Eyes: Should not have any puss or discharge and if open should be bright and clear
- Nose: Should not have discharge, snot, or sores, should be clean
- Ears: Should not have any redness, discharge, or odors. If ear infections aren’t taken care of besides being painfull loss of hearing is a real possibility
- Coat: Should be clean, soft, and shiny
- Bladder: If their urine is bloody or too dark or if the stool is liquid-like diarrhea you should get to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Weight: Puppy should be gaining around 10% of its birth weight daily.
The biggest health concern in the first two weeks is keeping the puppy’s body temperature warm enough since puppies can’t control their own temperature in the beginning.
When puppies are born they are born with antibodies from their mother and receive the protection they need from disease and illness from the mother’s milk.
This will last until the 6th to 8th week of life which is when they should be receiving their first set of shots. Even with the mother’s protection, it’s still possible for them to get sick so you should never have an unvaccinated puppy around strange animals or pets that aren’t vaccinated.
If your puppy was unable to get any milk from its mother the first day then you should speak with your vet to find out how to keep puppy safe from disease and so a vaccination schedule can be made.
The other concern is deworming puppy, this should be done more often for an orphaned puppy. The suggestion is to do for the first time at two weeks old and every two weeks until they are three months of age.
I don’t suggest giving any medication to a newborn puppy without discussing it first with your veterinarian to make sure you are doing whats best for newborn puppy.
In this post, we have learned how to take care of newborn puppy physically but there is much more information you should have to really know how to care for newborn puppy.
Other than physical health there is the mental health each being just as important as the other.
Learn how to properly socialize your newborn puppy reading our post Do you know when to start socializing puppy?
Learning how to care for newborn puppy and caring for newborn puppy will take up most of your time for the first four weeks especially. The reward is worth it for sure.
If you have any experience or thoughts on caring for newborn puppies that I may have left out or if you have any questions we welcome all comments, feel free to share them with us in the comment section below.