Newborn Dog Care

Two Puppies, Brown and BlackTaking care of a dog as a pet is indeed an applauded experience but having a newborn puppy is a different story. It is wonderful to welcome another addition in your household, a new cuddly puppy! Birth of a newborn dog always makes one happy and excited. Newborn dogs are so small and fragile that they are immediately loved and cared by a lot of people. But caring for a newborn puppy can be time-consuming and difficult task to do considering that they have specific and special needs that must be observed regularly.  Nonetheless, how difficult it maybe be, the experience of taking care of newborn dogs is worthwhile as one watches them progress from apathetic, tiny babies turn into a vibrant, healthy puppies.

There are numerous and specific needs that must be regularly checked and observed when it comes to newborn dog care. Here are some of the basic things you need to know in caring for a newborn puppy. Basically, during the first four weeks of their lives, puppies need to be observed and be provided with warmth, nutrition, and hygiene and train them in their waste elimination. But most importantly, aside from the care of the owner, veterinary care should be provided to assure that optimum health is being achieved by your newborn dog.


Even after birth, the mother dog plays a vital role in maintaining her puppies on the first three to four weeks. During these times, you can observe that the mother dog cleans her puppies by licking them. By doing so, it also stimulate their elimination. Normally, like any other animals, newborn puppies usually don’t spontaneously eliminate on their own. So, whenever their mother is not around or ill, one should be careful and watchful in observing the newborn dogs elimination pattern and assuring that it is functioning normally. This can be done through using a warm, moist washcloth and gently stroke it on the newborn dog’s genital/anal area before and after feedings.


Like human beings, during birth to about three weeks, newborn puppies cannot regulate their own body temperature, thus making them susceptible to temperature problems as seen in chills, which can be fatal to them. It is essential to bear in mind, that newborn dogs should be kept indoors, off from cold floors, and in a draft-free room. All puppies get their best heat to their mother dogs, but in the case that their mother is not around, you may opt and use some alternatives such as indirect heat coming from warm water bottles or heat lamps. You can make use of a big animal carrier as a bed, lined with towels to make it soft. Also, put a towel on top so that drafts will be avoided.

Feeding and Weaning

Food is basically an essential element in newborn dogs needs that should never be overlooked. A healthy, well-fed puppy possesses a round stomach and is contented. Constant crying is a sign of distress and must be seen by a veterinarian immediately. At three to four weeks of age, a replacer for the milk of puppy may be introduced. Giving a puppy food, which has been soaked in warm water, may follow that. But as the newborn dog reaches the fifth week mark, a warmed canned dog food mixed with formula can be offered four times a day. This process of weaning must be successfully completed within six to eight weeks from birth of the newborn dog. 

Visit the Vet

Though how much care was given by the owner had given to the newborn dog, veterinary visits should always be observed to assure that the puppy is in good condition basing from an expert’s point of view and assessment. At the same time, abnormalities and illness can be immediately detected once veterinary visits are done on a regular basis. Treating a sick puppy early is vital. Threatening signs that must be observed when the puppy is in trouble are the following: failure to nurse, weakness, incessant crying, temperature drop, diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, sneezing and coughing, and rejection by the mother dog.

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