New Parent’s Guides: How to Take Care of Puppies
Congratulations on becoming a parent to puppies! Dogs are man's best friend and puppies are the mini version of them. Puppies are active and playful, they are like human’s toddlers sometimes. Having hands on puppies is a very blissful thing, when you put effort into them, they will become a very loyal companion in the future. But in case you are lost and clueless on the first time being a parent to the puppies, here are some guides to help you out on handling your either new born or adopted puppies.
The puppies rely on their mother fully on the first few days until weeks of their birth. In the first week, you will just have to make sure the whelping box is warm enough and clean for the puppies and their mother and prepare enough food for the mother. The new born puppies are all blind, deaf, and cannot regulate their body temperature, they will stay close to their mother to have all they need. Try not to handle the puppies too much and let them bond with the mother more, only help them when they have trouble reaching the mother’s milk and make sure to wash your hands before and after you touch the puppies.
Unfortunately, sometimes the mother will abandon a puppy when she feels that the puppy is weak and not worth taking care of, or when the mother herself feels uncomfortable and decides to not take care of her puppies. In this case, you would want to step in to take care of the puppies, keep them warm and feed them. Here are some ways on how to take care of new born puppies by yourself.
01 Keep the puppies warm
When you have puppies on hand, you would want to check on the temperature of the puppies. The temperature of a puppy is the best in the range of 35°C - 37.2°C in the first week. It is quite obvious when the puppies have a lower temperature or higher temperature, when the body temperature is lower, they will be quieter and non-responsive. An overheated puppy will have red ears and tongue. Think blankets are good enough to keep them warm, heating pad and heating lamp can also be used if necessary. Make sure to check on the puppy's temperature once in a while.
02 Feed the puppies
Feed the puppies with powdered dog milk as the mother’s milk replacement with a syringe or a small milk bottle that fits the puppies’ size. New born puppies need to be fed every 2-3 hours, you will know when they are hungry, the hungry puppies are noisy and whiny to capture attention. Powder dog milk can be purchased from pet shops or even vet clinics. Do not feed puppies cow milk or human infant formula, puppies do not have the enzyme to process the lactose, it may lead to diarrhea and cause dehydration. Burp the puppies every meal, hold the puppy back facing you and gently pet their back until they burp. Wipe the puppy’s face after feeding it, it mimics the mother liking their face and it also prevents skin infection on the face. When the puppies are in the 3rd week, space the feeding apart at 4 hours once as they have a bigger stomach that can hold more food now.
03 Check on the puppies’ health
Puppies do not urinate or defecate on their own, they need to be stimulated. Rub a soaked cotton wool on the bottom of the puppies and wipe away the feces and urine that comes out. A healthy puppy’s urine should be transparent yellow and their feces should be firm and in small log form.
04 Deworm the puppies
In the 3rd week, you can give the puppies a worming product. Puppies can carry parasites in their stomach which can make them very sick. Consult a vet for the right product and suitable product for your puppies to deworm.
04 Start weaning
Puppies will start weaning in the 3rd week. This week, you can start giving the puppies some solid food mix with replacement milk to make it softer for the puppies. Gradually thicken the consistency of the food until the puppies can take in solid food easily. Provide more Water for the puppies as they start to drink less and less milk, water is where they get their hydration from.
05 Potty training
To potty train puppies, take your puppies outside frequently every 2-3 hours, let the puppies be familiar with the outside. Pick a bathroom spot for the puppies, bring them to the place with the leash on. After they finish eliminating, reward them with snacks and praise them. Schedule your puppies’ mealtime to control their time to eliminate. Remember to pick up the stool of your puppies every time after they eliminated, be responsible for your own puppies.
Puppies can start to learn how to behave and socialise starting from the end of week 3 and starting of week 4. Train your puppies to understand basic commands like sit and stay to curb their behaviour problem. Leash training is also important to discipline your puppies. Introduce your puppy to various types of people, sight, and sounds, let them be familiar with the environment and not get shocked easily by some people and sounds.
Puppies can start to be vaccinated from the 6th week. Applying flea treatment is important as it is very contagious, when one of the puppies gets flea, other puppies in the house will get it easily. Always consult a vet when you have any questions on the vaccine that your puppies are supposed to get and when they are getting the vaccine. Arrange a schedule with the vet to get your puppies vaccinated.
Week 8 and above
In the 8th week, your puppies will be active enough to run around the house. Make sure to keep electrical equipment and fragile furniture away from the reach of your puppy for the safety of both of them. You can start to bathe your puppy in the 8th week, but do not bathe them too frequently as it will destroy the coat of oil on their skin and lead to dry skin which can cause skin problems. Make sure to rinse the puppies’ coat thoroughly to clean the remaining shampoo. Use dog shampoo instead of human’s shampoo, human shampoo will harm the skin of the dog. Food that is harmful for them, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, nuts, should be put at a higher place where they cannot reach. Lastly, pet your puppies often to show them love, they need you just as you need them, be responsible to your puppy and give them the love they need.