Puppies sleep most of the time during the Neonatal Period which covers from birth to two weeks of age.  Although puppies are born blind and deaf, their senses of touch and scent are fair.  It doesn’t take long before they are able to crawl and find the warmth of the mother dog and their brother and sister litermates.   Generally to get the new born puppies to eliminate, the mother dog will lick and wash the pup to get the blood flow working.

Always wash your hands before handling a newborn.  Clean and sanitize the bed area two to three times a day and make sure the puppies are kept warm at about 85 to 90 degrees. Keep them away from chills which can be fatal.  Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperatures and can get hypothermia fairly easily; however, after the first four days you can gently decrease the temperature. 

Puppies double their weight the first week and generally gain 10 to 15% of their birth weight daily which is considered healthy.   Since they feed about every two hours during their first week of life, seeing a newborn with a rounded tummy is a good thing.   During the first 21 days, pups are totally dependent on their mothers.  However they grow rapidly and by two weeks they are standing.  By one month they walk, play and run.  And by four and one-half weeks they will be starting to eat solid puppy food softened with either water or milk.    They will spend their early time staying warm, developing social skills and feeding.  The mother dog provides everything the puppy will need but make sure the mother is producing enough milk.  When the mother leaves the bed, make sure she is gone only 20 minutes and that the pups stay warm. 

It’s a good idea to consult your vet with newborns to make sure the pups are healthy and receive their shots on schedule.   Newborns should not leave the sanitary conditions of the bed and the comfort of their mother.  Protect against the deadly paro virus which is very contagious and attacks the lining of a puppy’s digestive system.  It is spread through the feces of another dog.  Just because you don’t see feces doesn’t mean it isn’t there since tiny particles of feces can be trackedand spread by foot.  Parvo can be a killer to the newborn.

When puppies are very young, some breeders will put a very lightweight, thin paper collar around their necks to get the pups started in the direction of wearing a collar and to be able to tell them apart.  This young stage is a good time to start handling the puppy’s feet and toes plus opening their mouths to get them used to future handling for grooming and vet purposes.  Be sure and Read Tips One and Two.  Your comments are appreciated.