Raising puppies is an exciting experience, but it can also be intimidating. When this is a brand-new experience, you may not know what to expect and it all may seem overwhelming.
When I got my first puppy, I had no idea what to do. I was suddenly swamped with the responsibility. The puppy seemed so small and helpless, and all that I wanted to do was make sure that it was safe and happy.
This is a common sentiment among people who raise a puppy, but sometimes you just don’t know where to begin! Remember, this is a learning experience. Take a breath, and let’s get started!
One question that new puppy owners and breeders have is this: When can puppies go all night without nursing?
Puppies need to nurse about every two hours, about 45 minutes at a time. They should eat until their stomachs are round and can sleep soundly. Newborn puppies actually spend 90% of time sleeping, and 10% nursing!
When your puppies are around three or four weeks old, you can start to wean them off of their mother’s milk. This process needs to wait for a few weeks because they do not have teeth yet and can’t digest their puppy food.
Once they are about seven or eight weeks old, they are probably adjusted to the new food. At this age, you can start teaching the puppies to eat and drink on their own.
Try to start slow, by giving the puppies solid food that has been heated up and moistened with a little bit of water. If one puppy begins to eat the solid food, the other puppies may copy and follow in suit.
It can take several weeks to do this, so don’t get too worried if it is taking longer than you expected! If a puppy is reluctant to eat the new food, you can try mixing some of their milk into the food. This will put them at ease, as the smell and taste are familiar to them.
Over time, this may help them to feel more comfortable and eventually be able to eat the plain food on their own. If they do not catch on immediately, don’t worry. Sometimes it takes a few meals before they catch on.
Just like with adopting a puppy, new owners or breeders may wonder if they need to stay up all light with their newborn puppies. After all, they do need a lot of supervision and care!
Actually, the answer is no, you don’t need to stay up all night with the newborn puppies! You just need to watch the mother and their puppies as much as possible for 2 weeks. If you do not stay awake all night, you should at least sleep in the same room as them so that you can be aware of all sounds that they make.
You do not need to wake the puppies up to feed during the night either. It is completely normal for them to sleep a lot, and I mean A LOT. 90% of the day will be spent asleep, so do not worry if they do not get up during the night to feed.
Puppies will sleep very deeply, in a process that is known as “activated sleep”. In this kind of sleep, the puppies will twitch and jerk. This process is completely normal as well, as it shows that the puppy is growing. This activity will strengthen their leg muscles, which will come in handy when they start to learn how to stand and walk!
Also, try to check on them every few hours during the day, especially if the dog is a new mother. The mother normally spends most of her time with the puppies, so make sure to watch the puppies nursing at least once each day. This will help you to make sure that everything is going smoothly.
There are accidents that happen with the puppies as well. Sometimes, the mother has a complicated relationship with her puppies. Don’t worry, there are ways that you can prevent these from happening as well.
One way is to keep a close watch on the newborn puppies for the first few weeks. This way you can make sure that they are nursing properly and acting normally.
You also should watch the mother closely to notice if there are any abnormal activities or sounds. If you stay close to the mother for a few weeks, you will be able to save the puppies if something happens.
Another way to prevent this issue is by installing railings to stop the mother from lying on a puppy. This can help to stop accidents from happening and hurting the puppies.
If the mother doesn’t want to be close to her puppies, the best thing that you can do is to make sure that the puppies are kept warm. The puppies need an external source of heat, such as adjusting the temperature of the room.
You actually do not need to heat the entire room! Instead, you can heat a small section by using a heat lamp or space heater. The temperature can be slowly decreased by the end of the fourth week.
One way to help the mother to be engaged with her puppies is by encouraging her to stay with them. Some people do this by moving the whelping box. If you are nearby, the mother may feel more comfortable.
This is also true of moving the whelping box to a quieter area. Keeping the mother and her puppies in a loud and chaotic area may give her unnecessary stress. By moving the whelping box to a quiet part of your home, the mother has the space to feel more at ease.
This is equally true if you have other pets in the house. Hearing the noise of another animal may make the mother feel anxious. To keep you other pets away from the whelping box, you can create a barrier so that they can’t enter, or you can keep them in separate rooms to remove any risks of entrance.
Another way to keep the mother comfortable is by keeping the whelping box clean. No one wants to be in an extremely messy place! By keeping the whelping box clean, you will be able to create a more comfortable environment for the mother, which can strengthen her connection to her puppies.
This is also true of helping the mother to feed her puppies. Sometimes the mother does not want to nurse her puppies. You can help her by making sure that the whelping area is in a quiet and peaceful area.
You can also help the mother with nursing if she allows you to. This gives you a first-hand experience to discover how the mother relates to her puppies.
If the mother growls or appears to be aggressive around her puppies, you should remove them from the area. In this case, you will have to feed the puppies by hand. People either use a bottle or a syringe to do this.
To feed the puppies you can make a puppy-milk substitute. First, position the puppy to that it is laying with their stomach facing downward. Tilt the bottle down towards them slightly, just enough so that the puppy can grab onto it.
The puppies will continue to eat until they are full, so you do not have to remove the bottle unless they start to cough, or milk comes out of their nose. The puppy will know when it is full, so you can let them continue to eat until they are done.
If the mother is not with her puppies at all, it is important for you to take her to the vet. The vet will be able to assess both the mother and her puppies to see if they have any prevalent illnesses. The vet can also tell you about the best formula for you to use feed the puppies.
It is also a good idea to keep track of the puppies’ eating habits and growth. In order to maintain this rapid pace of growth, they will need to eat enough nutrients so that they can gain enough weight. Their size should double or triple in their first few weeks!
At the beginning, raising puppies seems like a daunting task, and you will wonder if you actually can do it. Let me tell you right now that you can do it. No matter how terrifying it may seem at first, you can do this!
Remember, it is okay to make some mistakes. When they do happen, embrace them! You just have to do your best and continue to support and care for them, no matter how difficult it can be.
Raising puppies is a rewarding experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. These puppies will become a part of your family, and they will love you for it.