How to Care For Newborn Puppies

Updated: February 21, 2024

It's always an overwhelming feeling to become a pet grandparent. Seeing your dog have puppies of her own can be one of a pet parent's greatest milestones. But although the newborn puppies are all fluffy and cuddly, the responsibility of taking care of the newborn pups begins to set in and here are things you can do to help mother dog. Here, we will share some tips for how to take care of newborn puppies.

Keep Newborn Puppies Together.

Given the scenario that your dog hasn't rejected her pups and is responsible enough in taking good care of her young, the puppies should never be separated from their mother. Why? Because mother dog is what sustains them when they are born. She cleans them, feeds them and keeps them warm. All things that are essential to keeping a newborn puppy healthy. In fact, a mother dog's instincts on how to take care of newborn puppies are so strong that she will provide most of the care they need in the first few weeks. However, there are still some newborn puppy care items that you can assist with that we will go into.

"The puppies should never be separated from their mother."

Create a Safe Place.

Create a place that is only meant for your mother dog and her puppies. This whelping den should be big enough for the mother dog to move around freely without stepping on her pups, it should be well-lighted, has small heating pads, blankets and anything else needed to make them feel comfortable.

Also make sure that their whelping place is somewhere where distractions like house visitors, stray animals, other pets at home are away. One of the essentials in newborn puppy care is simply preventing accidents and keeping them away from dangerous items. 

Make Sure They're Well-fed.

At this critical phase, mother dog provides nutrients from her milk to promote a healthy immune system and development (that's why proper feeding is so important!).

newborn shih tzu puppies, shih tzu puppies

Newborn pups must be fed every 2 hours or you’ll know when they’re hungry because they will begin to cry and move around. Make sure every pup feeds off well and is feeding enough.

Although puppies are deaf and blind when born, it's amazing that they can find their way to their mother's teats, on their own! This is because of the pups' tactile perception. Still, you should assist them in locating mother dog's teats and help them take turns by feeding the smallest ones first, ensuring that they are getting the right nutrients.

Provide a Healthy Environment for Newborn Puppies.

In taking care of newborn puppies, maintain a good hygiene and constantly check mother dog's mammary glands for any signs of infection. Inspect and clean them daily.

Keep the pups away from all soiled materials inside the whelping box. Use a washable whelping pad that you can change out regularly. This will keep the pups away from infection. As your dog will continue discharging lochia in the following weeks, in this case, dog diapers are a great option! So that your mother dog won’t be soiling her puppies or the whelping box bedding and everyone's comfortable, dry and happy!

Check Any Forms of Abnormalities.

Can you touch newborn puppies? Yes, you can and it is a great way to check for abnormalities in newborn puppies. Always check for abnormalities in your pups or any signs of weaknesses. Abnormalities like the physical ones (cleft palate, any undeveloped body parts), can't crawl properly, having a hard time eliminating, etc. 

Aside from that, you should also watch out for any signs of sickness like vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, poor weight gain, paleness, excessive crying and fever. Keep in mind your newborn puppy needs to be around their mother, so when holding or touching the puppy be sure to place them safely back with mom after checking on them.

Keep in Touch with Your Veterinarian.

Since newborn pups are so vulnerable, it's best that you keep in touch with your vet. At all times. Taking care of newborn puppies is hard work. Ask your vet the schedule for the pups' de-worming and start of vaccinations. Always stay in close contact to ensure the good health of your mother dog and her newborn pups.

"In taking care of newborn puppies, maintain a good hygiene and constantly check mother dog's mammary glands for any signs of infection."

Newborn puppies do require care and supervision, but mostly they require their mom. The best ways how to take care of newborn puppies is to monitor them for potential problems, healthy eating, temperature, and keep an eye on your mother dog. Newborn puppy care is delicate work, so be sure that you are prepared for lots of supervision. Remember to keep a close eye on the mother dog after giving birth to ensure all of her needs are being met so that she can provide the best newborn puppy care.