ANIMAL CARE GUIDE

Puppy Development

In the first two weeks of life, puppies are helpless and vulnerable. They are still developing basic reflexes, their hearing and vision is still not fully developed, and they are unable to properly control their body temperatures. They should therefore be confined to a nursery area. Puppies should not be allowed to mingle with your own pets.

During the first 1-3 weeks of life puppies do not urinate or defecate on their own and require stimulation for elimination. Gently rub a warm cloth or cotton pad on the puppy’s genital area and anus. This should be done before or after feeding.

Keeping the puppies clean from food and feces is vital for his or her health. If you notice your puppy has food, urine, or feces on him or her gently wipe the puppy down with a warm damp cloth or baby wipe. Be sure to dry the puppy well afterwards so they do not become chilled.

Puppy Expectations & Care by Age

WEEKS FEEDING DEVELOPMENT
 

0-1

Bottle feed ½ tablespoon of formula every 2-3 hours, overnight feeding can be every 3-4 hours. If there is a Mom dog, make sure that all puppies are nursing. Puppies can nurse from Mom for up to 45 minutes at a time. A lot of crying or activity could indicate a problem with Mom’s milk supply. At one week of age, the puppies should be handled minimally. Puppies will sleep about 90% of the time and eat the other 10%.

Puppies should be kept in a warm environment as chilling is the number one danger to newborn puppies.

 

1-2

 

Bottle feed every 2-3 hours until puppies’ bellies are full but not bloated. Overnight feeding can be every 3-4 hours.

Healthy puppies should be round and warm. When you pick up a puppy they should wiggle energetically and healthy puppies seldomly cry.

The puppy’s ear canal should open between 5 and 8 days. Eyes will open between 8 and 14 days.

2-3  

Bottle feed formula every 3-4 hours, until their bellies are full but not bloated.

Puppies begin to crawl around and should be almost standing. They will begin to play with each other, biting ears, tails and paws before their teeth come in. They should be teething at this period.
 

3-4

 

 

 

Bottle feed formula every 4 hours until the puppies are full but not bloated. Puppies may start to lap from a bowl.

Puppies begin to see well and their eyes begin to look and function like adult dog eyes.

Puppies will start cleaning themselves. If they have a mother, she will continue to do most of the serious cleaning.

At three weeks, puppies are in their canine socialization period. If they have siblings allow them to play at will.

 

4-5

Bottle feed as needed to keep puppies from crying with hunger.

 

Puppies usually can drink and eat from a saucer by 4 weeks. Weaning should be done gradually. (See Weaning description in Puppy Care section.)

Begin housebreaking at four weeks of age. This can be done by using training pad or taking the puppy to an outside secure fenced in area of your home. After each feeding, place the puppy on the pad/outside for him or her to go the bathroom. Be patient! He or she may not remember to do this every time.
 

5-6

Feed gruel 4 times a day. Thicken the gruel gradually by reducing the amount of water mixed with it. Introduce dry food and water. If you are fostering a litter with their mother, continue weaning.

For reluctant eaters, try mixing puppy formula into the gruel.

At about 5 weeks, puppies can start to roam around the room, under supervision. The strongest, most curious puppy will figure out how to get out of the nest and the others will quickly follow.

Be sure to allow the puppies to have different types of toys around so they may explore and become familiar with a variety of surfaces and textures.

 

6-7

 

 

By this age, puppies should be eating dry food well. Feed the puppies at least three meals a day. Puppies may not eat much at a single sitting, they usually like to eat a frequent intervals throughout the day.

By this time, you will have “mini-dogs”. They are able to wash themselves and play games with each other and you.

Some puppies may be food possessive, you may need to use a second dish and leave plenty of food out. Do not use adverse or punishing correction techniques. Be sure to take the puppies to their pads or outside after feeding, during play sessions, and after naps. These are the usual time that puppies need to eliminate.

7-8 Offer dry food 3-4 times a day. Leave a bowl of water down for them to drink at will.

Do not feed the puppies table scraps.

 

Continue playing and socializing with the puppies. You can even begin training such as sit, down, roll over and come when called

8+  

Offer dry food 3 times a day. Leave down a bowl of water for them to drink at will.

 

By this time, the puppies should be ready for spay/neuter surgery and adoption.

 

Loyal Dog Breeds: Golden Retriever | West Highland White Terrier | Rough Collie | Great Dane | German Shepherd | Pug Dog | St. Bernard | Pekingese | Havanese | Old English Sheepdog | Great Pyrenees | Labrador Retriever | Miniature Schnauzer | Chihuahua | Beagles Dog | American Cocker Spaniel | Irish Wolfhound | Kuvasz Dog | Akita Dog | Bichon Frise

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