Puppies are typically orphaned when their mother cannot appropriately care for them. This could be due to her inability to produce milk or behavioral or psychological issues that prohibit her from appropriately caring for her puppies. The mother may not be there in rare cases due to death, injuries, or difficulties after a difficult birth. Some puppies may be many weeks old before their mother can again care for them.
A regular schedule of adequate feedings, toilet time, playing, and sleeping, all in a safe and healthy environment, is required for the successful care of motherless puppies. The fundamentals of raising a single orphaned puppy are not dissimilar to those of rearing an entire orphaned litter. Raising any number of orphaned puppies is a time-consuming yet gratifying effort that needs a great deal of commitment.
How to raise Orphaned Puppies
If the worst happens and you have taken on the responsibility to look after the puppies, then this is how you should care for them:
Get them checked by a Vet.
Take them to the veterinarian. Within 48 hours of birth, a veterinarian should examine the puppies. The veterinarian will check them for cleft palates, congenital deformities, and other health issues. The vet may also advise you on the best way to raise the orphaned puppies.
Inquire with your veterinarian about a specific puppy milk substitute or if they can show you how to feed the puppies properly.
Typically, colostrum is given to the puppies by their mother within the first 24-48 hours after birth. This vital form of milk boosts their immunity and provides them with essential nutrients.
Inform the veterinarian if they were unable to obtain colostrum from their mother. The vet may provide them with blood plasma or serum from a healthy dog to achieve a comparable effect.
Make sure they are at a healthy weight.
Weigh them at regular intervals. The weight of a puppy can inform you how often to feed it, how much to feed it, and how well it is developing. A puppy's birth weight is usually doubled in the first eight to ten days. Use an electronic kitchen scale or a postal scale to weigh puppies. For the first two weeks, weigh them once a day. After that, weigh them once a week.
The puppy may lose a little weight in the first 24 hours, but if any weight loss occurs after that time, you should consult a veterinarian.
Keep a weighted sheet for each puppy so you can see if they have gained or lost weight.
Look after them
They must be supervised. Puppies demand regular attention and supervision. Health issues can arise fast and frequently necessitate prompt attention. Make a routine for yourself, so you don't forget to feed and massage them appropriately. It would help if you also reminded yourself to check their temperature regularly.
It would be best if you were not hesitant to handle the puppies. Picking them up and giving them a little massage not only relaxes them but also allows you to evaluate if they are too chilly. It can also help them socialize.
Hand-raising, a puppy is a full-time job. You may want to enlist the assistance of other family members, friends, or volunteers so that you may rest.
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Risk of illness
Separate them from the other animals. During this time, puppies are exceptionally vulnerable to viruses from other animals, particularly other dogs. Canine herpesvirus is curable in adult dogs, but it can be fatal in puppies. Even if you believe your adult dogs are disease-free, wait until the puppies are five weeks old before introducing them to other animals.
What do you feed them?
Commercially manufactured puppy milk formulas that are nutritionally balanced to satisfy the needs of orphan puppies are widely available. Homemade milk formula recipes are also available but should only be used as a last resort until a commercial formula can be obtained, as they are not nutritionally balanced. Contrary to popular assumption, cow's or goat's milk is not a nutritionally equal substitute for puppy milk replacer.
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How do you feed them?
Most puppies suckle on little pet nursing bottles, often known as pet nursers. Puppies will nurse until they are full and then reject the bottle if bottle-fed.
To avoid a flow rate that is too fast for the puppy, ensure that the aperture in the nipple confines the discharge of fluid to one drop at a time. When the flow rate is too fast, it can cause aspiration, pneumonia, and death; when it is too sluggish, they must struggle to get enough nutrition.
Hold the puppy in a horizontal, head-neutral position when feeding, much as it would if it were nursing from its mother. If the puppy is too weak to suckle, your veterinarian can show you alternate feeding methods and, if necessary, assist with tube feeding.
Safe space to live
You also need to consider where you are going to keep the puppies; you will need a safe space that is warm and quiet and has enough room. You must also keep this area clean and make sure you thoroughly remove urine and poop.
You should also clean the puppies regularly with a damp cloth and ensure all feeding equipment is adequately sterilized.
Taking on orphaned puppies is complicated, time-consuming, and relatively costly. However, you are doing a fantastic thing, and you will be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction that you have helped out some puppies that needed you.