Newborn puppies should not be kept outside, if at all possible. If a newborn puppy becomes chilled, it could be fatal. If you must take care of newborn puppies outside, hopefully you are doing so in warm or hot weather. There are other things you need to do as well in order to ensure the health of newborn puppies.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Blankets and/or towels
- Heating lights or heating pad
- Puppy pads
- Number of your vet nearby
- Cosy crate or box with top
- Wash rags
- Milk replacement if needed
Prepare a sheltered area. Puppies need to be protected from the elements if they are outside. They need a covered crate that will not allow drafts. Place puppy pads at the bottom to absorb moisture and line it with soft towels or blankets.
Heat the puppies' environment. It is impossible for puppies to regulate their body temperatures until they are around three weeks old. For this reason, they need to be kept very warm, away from drafts. If the puppies can snuggle with mom, the area they are in should be kept at around 23.9 degrees C. If there is no mother dog, the puppies need to have an air temperature of 26.6 to 29.4 degrees C. To do this outside, you will need to provide a heating pad, heating lamp, space heater or hot water bottles, if the temperature outside is not within these limits.
Clean the puppies. Mother dogs lick their puppies to keep them clean. They also lick around the anal area to stimulate elimination. If there is no mother dog present, you will have to use a warm and wet wash rag to stroke the anal area after the puppies feed in order to help them eliminate. Do this every hour until they eliminate.
Feed the puppies. They should nurse exclusively until they are around four weeks old, at which point they can be fed warmed puppy milk replacement and puppy food that has been soaked in warm water to form a mush. Feed them three times per day. The amount will vary depending on the breed of dog.
Watch the puppies carefully. For the first three weeks, they should sleep 20 out of 24 hours per day. They should have round, but not bloated stomachs. Once they are four weeks old, you can remove the supplemental heat source. By eight weeks old, they should be weaned.
Tips and warnings
- Warning signs of a sick puppy are weakness, refusal to nurse, diarrhoea, crying constantly, vomiting, listlessness, or even rejection by its mother.