How to take care of a weak newborn pup

"If you notice a newborn pup gasping for breath, take him with its head down and just gently (but firmly) swing the pup up and down between your legs."

Just when you thought your responsibility has ended when mama dog gave birth, can I just tell you that this is just the beginning? Whether you're assisting mama dog or playing as a substitute parent, it's always best to constantly check on your litter. It'll be a blessing to know they're all healthy and growing well. But there are trying times and it's always a good idea to be prepared for an emergency (the possibility is endless!).

Here are ways on taking care of weak newborn pup to help him thrive and survive.

Birth Emergencies

Though majority of dog births proceed without any problems, there are times that there will be some pups that will be having trouble breathing or won't be breathing at all. If you noticed a newborn pup gasping for breath, take him with its head down and just gently (but firmly) swing the pup up and down between your legs. This will drain any fluid in the mouth or the lungs. After that, wrap him in and rub him lightly. You can also try to suction his nose or blow into his nose. If he begins to breathe normally, take him back to mama dog.

Newborn Pup Hypothermia

Puppies aren't capable yet of generating their own body heat and are at great risk in developing hypothermia. They rely on the rest of litter and mama dog to be able to keep warm. This is the very reason why newborn pups must always stay warm.

  • You can put on some heating pads in the whelping box, far enough so that it won't be messed around (and burn any newborn pup) and near enough to keep everyone inside warm and comfy.
  • Use dog diapers for mama dog and put on a pee pad as a whelping box bedding. In this case, your female dog and her litter will have lesser chances of spoiling the bedding and lesser chances of them getting wet (and dirty!)

Nursing Difficulties

For the first few months of life, puppies will greatly depend on mama dog's milk for essential nutrients and vitamins needed for them to become healthy and strong.

  • If a pup can't nurse well because mama dog isn't producing enough milk for all or if something happened to mama dog, a puppy milk replacer is your new best friend. This is available commercial. Remember to make only feedings that can be consumed within 24 hours as this can get spoiled easily.
  • Newborn pups require feeding every two to three hours. You will know whenever they're hungry because they will begin to move around and cry.
  • If acting as a substitute parent, make sure the newborn pup won't be able to suck air while feeding and if he does, you'll have to burp him by gently putting him on your shoulder.
  • Mama dog will usually start licking her litter to initiate pee/poo time but if acting as a substitute parent, you won't really lick the pups, will you? Kidding aside, you'll have to stimulate the pups by gently rubbing their private areas with a soaked cotton or cloth to make them pee and poop.

Sick Pups

Even if everyone's fine in the first few days, any pup an get sick all of a sudden. Crying indicates a pup is hungry and uncomfortable and is normal. But if the pup has been fed well and kept warm and still cries, this indicates a problem. He might be in pain. Take him to the vet immediately and NEVER ever self-medicate especially when you're unsure of what the pup is going through.

Taking care of a weak newborn pup can be stressful but there are always ways to make things better that will help him grow into a happy and healthy dog.

"If the pup has been fed well and kept warm and still cries, this indicates a problem."

The Author:

Micka V.

Micka Virtudazo is a full-time content creator at Pet Parents who lives with thirteen adorable American Bullies and a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Gretel. She especially enjoys writing how-to articles as she feels through this she can connect to other pet parents on a more personal level.

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