How to Care for Newborn Motherless Puppies

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If we find an abandoned litter, it is normal for us to have doubts about the care we will need. In this Dogsis article we will explain the keys to achieving survival with the help of our vet.

Index of contents

  • 1 The importance of temperature
  • 2 A good cradle
  • 3 A diet adapted to puppies
  • 4 Puppies pee alone?
  • 5 Puppy growth
  • 6 Alarm signals

The importance of temperature

Before we even worry about feeding the puppies, it is essential to keep them at an adequate temperature. If these little ones get cold they won’t eat and therefore his life will be in danger.

When dogs are born they are unable to control their body temperature. This means they are going to acquire the one with the environment they are in. With your mother this point is not a problem, since the litter will always remain attached to it, so it will stay at your body temperature.

When we find the motherless offspring, we have to provide them with a good temperature. To achieve this, it is important to enable them a collected, dry, warm and protected place. In addition, we have to check the temperature of their food so that it is neither cold nor so hot that they burn.


A good cradle

Newborns spend almost all hours of the day sleeping and will only wake up to feed. It will not be until 2-3 weeks of life when they will begin to interact with their environment. They will open their eyes and play with their brothers, if applicable.

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But until those first weeks have passed, they must have a quiet place to rest. Puppies are not toys and need peace of mind and little manipulation to develop in health.

As a crib, we will serve a cardboard box large enough to accommodate the entire stretched litter, but together, that is, we are not interested in a box so large that the puppies can sleep separately. Direct contact helps keep them warm.

In the box we will place a somewhat thick textile such as a blanket or a towel. It should not be excessively fluffy because puppies could drown in it. On top of that it is essential that we put a soaker. In this way we will be able to absorb any secretion and, which is essential, we will keep the little ones dry.

Under a blanket and a soaker we can put some newspapers, which give heat. It is important that we keep the box closed, or with a minimum opening, and that we place it in a warm place and protected from currents. We will only remove the puppies to change the soaker, feed them and stimulate them to relieve themselves.


A diet adapted to puppies

Dogs are mammals and, as such, the food during their first weeks of life will be exclusively milk (specific for dog puppies). In the absence of his mother, it is safest to resort to dairy preparations sold in veterinary clinics. They are specially formulated for dogs and are a safe option.

These are powders to reconstitute with hot water. The quantities, as well as an adapted bottle, are included in each package. In the bottle we will put the amount of powders indicated by the manufacturer and, following the same instructions, we will add the water.

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We must heat or boil the water before putting it in the bottle. Then we just have to shake and serve. Before offering it to puppies, we must test the temperature inside our wrist to make sure they don’t burn. At first they will eat every 2-3 hours.

The bottle in no case is given like human babies. On the contrary, we must catch the puppies underneath, with one hand and leaning against our chest, letting their hind legs rest on our lap so that their position is almost vertical. Better if we put a soaker underneath in case, with the friction, the little one urinates.

Puppies pee alone?

The bitches, in addition to providing food for their young, take care of their grooming. By running their tongue across the genital area, they stimulate puppies to pass stool and urine. In the absence of his mother, we must supply this function.

For this we will use a cotton or gauze that we will soak in serum or warm water. Thus, as a mother tongue, we will pass it through the genital area. The little one will usually evacuate after each feeding. When it finishes we will dry it, to avoid that it cools down.

Puppies can also urinate or defecate when they are in the box, stimulated by the touch of siblings. Hence the importance of using soakers to prevent them from getting wet. As the litter grows, in addition to spacing the feed, they will begin to move and they will be able to relieve themselves.

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Puppy growth

Newborn puppies will have their eyes closed and we will be able to see in their abdomen a fragment of the umbilical cord that their mother will have left after cutting it at birth. This stump falls in a few days.

On the other hand, the eyes will begin to open around eight days. About a week later the puppies will take their first steps. After four / six weeks of age, regardless of whether or not his mother is present, we can start offering them solid food even if we continue with the milk, at least until the end of the month.

Alarm signals

We insist that managing an orphan litter is not a game. The puppies they are very vulnerable and it’s not always easy to get them to eat. In addition, many will be weakened by not being able to breastfeed or because their mother was not in the best conditions at the time of delivery.

This vulnerability means that if we suspect any problem, we should immediately go to the vet. In a matter of hours the dog could die. Signs to which we must pay attention are the following:

  • The puppy stops eating or eats little
  • We feel it cold to the touch
  • Adopt an abnormal, toneless, flaccid posture
  • Does not urinate or defecates or, conversely, has diarrhea
  • The navel is swollen, hot, red, painful to the touch or with pus
  • The puppy is dehydrated