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How to properly care for your newborn puppy.

Newborn puppies will typically spend the first few weeks of their lives breastfeeding from their mother, Normally, the healthy mother provides nutrition, warmth and stimulation. However, the owner must make sure the puppies nurse on the first hours of life, which is the period when they ingest the colostrum (the colostrum is the first milk produced by the mother after giving birth, The colostrum will provide important antibodies). 

If your newborn puppy has been separated  from the mother, rejected or the mother cannot produce a sufficient amount of milk, its important to know the proper protocol. A  veterinarian should be consulted as it is common to cause accidental damage through improper bottle or syringe feeding,0000655001540319655.jpg

When newborn puppies require bottle/syringe feeding of puppy milk replacement, it must be formulated specifically for puppies as cows milk can cause diarrhea. The puppy must be feed every 2 to 3 hours for several weeks. Do not wake the puppies up to feed them! They will let you know when they are hungry.

It is possible for formula to come out of their noses and this means the pups are drinking too fast. After 4 to 6 weeks the milk replacement  can be gradually decreased and puppy food can begin to be introduced. A small shallow plate of soft puppy food should be given to the puppies, they will begin to smell the food and grow accustomed to it, it is normal for them to walk in their food and make a mess of their meals during this learning period.  

Lack of cleanliness is a common reason why the puppies can become sick. The owner needs to make sure that the mother is well cared for and that the bedding is clean and dry, Make sure there is no urine or feces accumulation on the puppies, it will burn their tender skin and can lead to infection. If needed, a soft, clean washcloth moistened with warm water can be used to wipe the puppies gently. The mother can be bathed as needed, for removal of milk residue from the mammary glands and removal of any vaginal discharge (normal after birthing puppies). Some mothers are so dedicated to their pups care that their own grooming declines. 

Normally, a mother will clean the puppies' genital area through licking and this will provide the stimulation for their bowel movements and urination. But if the puppies were separated from their mother, you must gently wipe the area a few times a day for stimulation and to ensure that there is no urine or fecal matter residue left. 

 Puppies are born with their eyes closed and they will remain closed until about two weeks of age. It is important to not touch or try to open their eyes, as they are susceptible to damage. In general, puppies shouldn't be picked up, carried around or played with until their eyes are open and they can walk easily. 

During the first week of life a puppy should gain roughly 10-15% body-weight. Weight them daily during the first week. It is common for puppies to lose a small amount of weight on the first day. However, newborns who are unable to put on the required weight during this crucial first phase of life have a high mortality rate. If just a single puppy is not gaining weight, pull the other puppies away for 5-10 minutes several times a day to give that one a chance to feed and thrive. If your newborn puppy is not gaining weight you should immediately consult a veterinary.