If you have bought a puppy, you have usually missed a lot of the hard work and can get to having fun with them pretty quickly.
However, if you have a dog that has just had a litter, you will need to help your fur mom get those puppies through that crucial first few weeks.
There are many steps you will need to do when looking after newborn puppies. The most important thing is preparation, knowing what you need to do and why. Here are some of the most important things you will need to know and do:
You'll need to calculate your dog's capillary refill time to examine his circulation. The following steps are used to determine this:
Lift your dog's lip carefully. Then, gently press on the top gum above the teeth with the ball of your finger until it turns white.
The color should return to the gums in 1-2 seconds after releasing the pressure. The time it takes for your dog's capillaries to refill reveals whether his circulation is enough to send blood to his extremities.
If the color returns to your dog's gums after more than 2 seconds, they require immediate veterinary attention. Cover him with a light blanket as you drive him to the clinic to keep his body warm. If he isn't bleeding from an injury, you can also slightly lift his hindquarters to enhance circulation to his essential organs.
We are all aware that dehydration is a severe ailment that can damage humans and dogs. You should regularly check for dehydration, aka the amount of moisture in your pet's body, which should be around 70% of his body weight. To see if your pet is dehydrated, take the following steps:
Firm, solid, and robust are the characteristics of a healthy puppy. Puppies should be fed every 2 to 3 hours. They've eaten enough if they nurse till their stomachs are round and they sleep soundly. They are not eating enough if they are crying and moving a lot.
The mother's appetite will drastically increase to 2-4 times her pre-pregnancy intake within 2-3 days. To keep her weight and healthy while feeding the puppies, she will require a near-constant supply of high-quality food and water.
The puppies will replicate their mother's eating and drinking at around three weeks of age. At least for a portion of the day, a secure shallow water dish should be supplied. Puppies can begin receiving puppy mush at the period of 3 weeks.
Puppies should be weaned from their mother's milk, eat solid food, and drink water by the time they are 6 or 7 weeks old. This is important as the mother's milk production will naturally reduce around this time.
The rhythmic passage of blood through your dog's arteries is called the pulse. Blood flows through the veins when the heartbeats. Following these steps will allow you to check your dog's pulse:
Find out the normal range for the specific breed, but generally, you are looking for a range of 90 and 160 for small dogs and large dogs between 65 and 90. Do the test when they are resting. There is no point in doing it just after having a zoomies session in the garden.
You may calculate your dog's respiratory rate by counting the number of breaths they take in a minute. Follow these steps to establish your dog's respiratory rate:
Research how many breaths are healthy for specific breeds, but usually, you are looking for between 20 and 40 breaths a minute. Try to do this test when the puppy is calm as if it is stressed or hyperactive; you will probably get results outside the desired range.
You'll need a digital thermometer to acquire an accurate reading. It's OK to use a thermometer designed for humans; make sure your dog's thermometer is kept apart from the rest of your house's thermometers.
Follow these methods to check your dog's temperature:
You are looking for a range between 38 and 39.16 degrees celsius. Take temperatures simultaneously each day to avoid any natural fluctuations to get the best data possible if the temperature falls slightly outside the recommended range, monitor throughout the day. If the temperature is noticeably outside the recommended scope, contact your Vet immediately.
For the first 8-10 days, puppies cannot regulate their body temperature and require a high level of temperature stability where they live to gain weight and grow.
Puppies should be loosely spread out in a box at a comfortable temperature, encouraged to sleep on their sides and not cuddle on top of each other. Apart from the typical noises, they shouldn't be making much constant distressed noise. Puppies who are too hot, too cold, or too hungry will be vocal regularly until these conditions are addressed.
The puppies should consistently gain weight. Regularly check puppy weights, especially those that seem more minor than the rest. Puppies cannot afford to lose weight, and the sooner you identify puppies struggling to gain weight, the better.
A healthy puppy grows weight steadily and feels "firm" to lift. Although weight gain is linked to breed and birth weight, and food, a puppy should drink at least 10% of its body weight every day. Within 10-14 days, puppies should have doubled their birth weight.
Weigh the puppy every day for the first two weeks, then at least weekly after that. Weighing the puppies is usually done with a food scale. Puppies' failure to gain weight is sometimes the first indicator of disease.
Puppies mustn't lose weight over the first few weeks, but you also need to be careful not to overfeed them as this can also be problematic. You must also be mindful of what breed the puppies are. For example, it is OK to see a couple of ribs on a Saluki or a Whippet, but if you see ribs on a Labrador, they are likely to be underweight.
You are going to be stressed, tired, and worried. Just embrace it and be mindful that it will not last long. If there is a saying you should keep in mind, it is probably: fail to prepare… prepare to fail.