Newborn puppies' care

Watching both delivery and the first breast-feeding days is very important in order to avoid problems and help the female dog with her offspring. Although, nature is wise and the mother herself provides her puppies with all the care they need most of the times.

As we explained in a previous article, the expulsion time can vary between twenty minutes and three hours between puppies (this time can be bigger when it is the first delivery for the mother). When the puppy is born, the umbilical cord, that transports the oxygen into the foetus when it was inside, is broken and the puppy must start breathing for itself. That is why the mother cleans consciously the tissues and fluids away from the newborn in order to clear the aerial conducts and stimulate breathing. If the puppy does not breath, we must act quickly and clear the nose and mouth as efficient as possible. You can use a syringe to absorb liquids. Then, you will introduce air into its mouth for twice or three times, pressing softly its thorax and massaging its chest. These steps are usually effective, except when the animal is not breathing for a long time or it has serious disorders. Obviously, when we assist deliveries in our clinic, we have vacuums, medicine to stimulate breathing and oxygen sources.

Once we are sure the puppies are alive, we will dry them with a towel and take them into a hot place (25-30°C.). As they are not able to balance their temperature, you will use calefaction, thermic floors, infrared lamps or hot water bags. The nest must be kept cleaned, since the puppies will defecate and urinate there for the first days, and if this place is not cleaned, it might cause deadly umbilical or skin infections.

It is fundamental to be sure that all the offspring can get the special milk segregated by the mother the 48 hours after the delivery. It will avoid many infections until the third month of life, when the antibodies of that milk disappear from the puppies’ blood.

On the other hand, you must observe that all the puppies are well fed during the breast-feeding. If we see that the puppies are too numerous, the mother does not have enough milk or the puppies often cry, we can help with artificial milk that is easy to find in specialized shops. In any case, and in spite of being right all the care, it is usual to lose part of the offspring, especially those that are a consequence of very long deliveries or with a great number of puppies. The small size races are especially sensitive to hypothermia and hypoglycaemia, so the environment conditions and the milk doses for every puppy must be especially cared.

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