Undoubtedly cute, newborn puppies are an exciting addition to any family. Whether you keep all of the litter or just a few, it’s important to know how to take care of them. Keeping the puppies healthy might seem a little scary if you’ve never done it before. With a few easy steps, you can be ready to take care of your newest family members. Here are eight tips for taking care of newborn puppies.
Don’t Separate Them From Their Mother
Inevitably, if you’re not going to keep all the puppies, you’ll have to separate them from their mother. But newborn pups need to be near their mommy. The puppies will get their nutrients from her milk. With the mother responsible for feeding, the pups will be put on the right track for healthy development and stable immune systems.
Keep the Puppy Area Clean
Wherever the mother and her puppies are, you have to keep it clean. If there is a whelping box (the place where she gave birth), make sure that it is big enough for all of them to fit in comfortably. The right sized box is one where the mother can lay on her side with all her extended and even if she moves, there isn’t a risk of squishing one of her puppies. You’ll also want to keep the box clean and dry. This means changing the newspapers, towels or whatever coverings you have laid out for them. You’ll want to be careful when you do this and not disturb them too much.
People love puppies and your friends and family are going to want to see them. But a high number of visitors also means a high number of germs. Your excited friends could be bringing infection to your new pups. They will likely be carrying various bacteria, viruses and other means of infection on their hands and shoes. So make sure they wash their hands and keep their shoes away from the puppies.
Maintain a Moderate Temperature
Newborn puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperatures. Because of this, they can very easily become too cool, which leads to them getting sick. They should still be able to get heat from their mother but you can adjust the thermostat, too. There’s also the risk that they can become too hot. To check a puppy’s temperature, use your hand to see if it feels too warm or too cold.
Make Sure the Mother is Taken Care of
During the first few days and weeks, the mother will be extremely reluctant to leave her babies. In fact, she won’t even want to leave to eat. So you can help your new puppies by making sure she has food and water close enough so that she doesn’t have to move very far. Watching their mother eat and drink will also let the puppies learn how to eat and eventually begin the weaning process.
Be Wary of Bugs
Unwanted pests are always a bother, but especially when they can be harmful to your puppy’s health. Your puppies will be the targets for fleas and ticks. You can help them by applying either topical treatments or using the right shampoo. Check the label before using any of these products and make sure it matches the requirement for your puppy’s age, size and weight.
Weigh the Puppies
For the first 3 weeks, it’s necessary to weigh the puppies. Doing so will help you keep record of which pups are and are not getting the right amount of nutrition. Depending on your results, you’ll be able to make changes as needed. You’ll want to use a flat postal scale and clean it off after weighing each pup. If you have to, make sure the smaller ones are suckling from their mother’s rear teat, which produces more milk.
Have Your Vet on Speed Dial
When all else fails or you just run into a situation that you can’t handle, call your vet. You want to make sure you have professional guidance in order to avoid future complications. Be sure to get information on when your puppies should be given their shots and vaccinations.