All puppies are born before they are fully developed. Theyare born with their eyes closed until they are around 7-10 days old, theycannot hear until they are around 14 days old, shortly after which they willbegin to walk, and they cannot toilet themselves and need stimulating. Becausethe puppies are not fully developed at birth, they are fully dependent on theirmother, along with the breeders close supervision to make sure each puppy ishealthy and developing well.
You need to make sure each puppy is getting milk and has goodsuction when feeding. The following will show you if each puppy has a properlatch on:
• Their tongue around the teats
• Little pits on the side of their face (cheeks sucked in)
• Check each puppy for cleft lip / palate:
Puppy with cleft palate
Puppies who have cleft lip and/or cleft palate will not beable to feed properly (more on helping these puppies to survive further on).
All puppies need colostrum (first milk) within 12-18 hoursafter being born. This gives the puppies the protection of the mother’santibodies. Best to buy some in ready, in case there are any weak/small puppiesor, if for any reason, the mother has problems feeding the pups.
Having other supplements in, such as a puppy stimulatingpaste that contains colostrum is advisable for the same reasons.
A puppy’s temperature is only 94-97 Fahrenheit (compared toadult dogs normal temperature between 100-101 Fahrenheit) so they need anexternal heat source such as a heat pad. When they are feeding, they will getheat from their mother. The puppies will pile on top of each other to staywarm. Make sure there are no drafts. Puppies can chill and die. Neverfeed a cold puppy.
Weigh the puppies daily and watch out for any puppies losingweight. They should be double their birth weight at around 8-11 days old. Putslow gainers on larger, fuller teats. As an example, if there 5 puppies and 8teats, make sure the smaller pups get to drain 2 teats a few time a day. Thebigger pups will ALWAYS get to the teats and drain them before the smallerpuppies get to feed.
After all pups are born, get rid of all soiled bedding out ofthe whelping box. Clean the whelping box down with an enzyme cleaner (odour eliminator)as this eliminates urine, faeces, blood etc. Change the bedding at least once aday, although several times a day is recommended to keep everyone clean andfresh.
Puppies cannot have a bowel movement/urinate on their ownuntil around 3 weeks of age. The mother stimulates elimination by lickingaround the genital area. If she doesn’t do this for her puppies, or if you arehand rearing the puppies, you will have to stimulate them. You can do this bygently rubbing a cotton ball or paper towel moistened with warm water aroundthe anus and genitals. The puppy should have a bowel movement within one to twominutes. Newborn puppies should be stimulated after every feed.
Electrical stimulation causes the puppies muscles to twitch.This stimulates the muscles to build them so over the next few weeks the puppycan begin to stand on their feet and begin to walk. Twitching is a keyindicator that the puppy is healthy and developing normally. If twitchingstops, the puppy is not developing in some important ways, and is likely to bein critical danger.
Unless you have weak, small puppies, there is no need tointervene when the puppies are pushing each other off the mother’s teats.Stress and struggle during nursing is natural and learns the puppies to gainmotor coordination and find the teat, build muscle and deal with frustration.