Nearly every dog owner has experienced caring for a puppy when they brought their dog home. But what if your own dog has pups of her own?
This article explains the proper feeding and care of newborn puppies and the mother. Below is an average timeline that will work as a good guide for new pups and, of course, the mother dog.
As the newborn pups come into this world, their sucking reflex will allow the babies to feed from their mother.
Normally, newborn pups feed every three hours. If your pups appear firm and full of milk, your pups are doing well.
Weight gain will occur in the coming weeks. Although it’s normal for pups to lose weight the first few days after birth, it should be no more than ten percent of the pups’ original body weights.
Day Two to Week Three
The mother dog (or “bitch”) will be ready to feed. During this time, you must not give your dog regular dog kibble or canned food. Your dog needs nutrient-rich food designed for puppies or pregnant dogs. These foods generally contain high fat, protein, and carbohydrate content to give the mother the energy and nutrients she needs.
Food for puppies from large breeds should not be given to smaller dogs who have just given birth because these dog foods generally have lower nutrient content.
The puppies will still feed directly from their mother during this period.
Week Three to Six
The puppies will begin to pay attention to what the mother dog eats and drinks. Add a small bowl or pan of water in the box. Do not leave the pan or bowl in the box; monitor if the pups will pay any attention to it, and remove it after the pups have had their fill of water.
You can also begin feeding the pups special puppy food on the third week. You can prepare a special mash for your three-week-old pups by combining dry puppy food with a dog milk replacement formula.
Prepare the formula beforehand and combine it with the dry puppy food using a blender. Blend the two ingredients until you get a fine, smooth consistency.
Week Six to Seven
Puppies usually weaned off the milk of the mother dog after 1½ months. At this point in time, you can begin to give the pups regular dry puppy food and clean water only.
Until the 6th or 7th week, the mother is still feeding on puppy food. When the puppies show signs that they are no longer dependent on her milk, you should begin to change the mother back to her usual diet.
As you begin shifting the mother dog’s diet, the production of milk will also gradually slow down and ultimately cease altogether.
The amount of food that the mother dog receives should be slowly reduced until she is consuming the regular amount that she was accustomed to prior to pregnancy.
Now they can feed themselves, your little babies are now fully fledged puppies.
Puppies grow up remarkably quick, and their dietary needs also change fast too. The mother requires additional energy and nutrients while feeding their pups, but probably not as much as you expect.
As the puppies become more independent, shift the mother dog’s diet back to her normal, and she will get back to her usual diet.
Also, as the puppies will become less reliant on her milk, shift their diet towards puppy food and water. They will still need special food as they grow.